I didn’t know her name when I saw her perform for the first time or even understand what was going on – but I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Her name was Deborah Kerr and the movie was From Here to Eternity. I was six or seven years old and refused to go to bed until I’d seen it to the end. I remember how shocked I was to find out later that Frank Sinatra, “that guy who acted in the Deborah Kerr movie”, was such a huge star.
Remember when Sleepless in Seattle came out and re-introduced the world to An Affair to Remember? I wasn’t one of those who needed re-introducing because I’d watched it over and over and over again, ever since I’d first seen it. (Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr? Come on!]
This was an age before the internet and I’d only heard about The King and I when I read the book it was based upon. I loved it – but not as much as I loved the movie. The stern critic in me noticed the departures from the book a bit disapprovingly but the viewer didn’t care a bit. I went on to see the original black and white adaptation, Anna and the King of Siam, and the Jodie Foster version – but they both lacked the magic of the Rodgers and Hammerstein one.
You’d have thought she and Yul Brynner would have made a ton of movies after that kind of success, but in actual fact they only made one other movie together: The Journey. It’s one of my all time favorite Yul Brynner performances and I’m still bitter that it ended the way it did. And a little fangirly too.
This post is in danger of becoming one long list of her movies, so suffice it to say that I am a huge fan of hers. There is nothing about her that I didn’t love. Not one performance that made me feel that I’d been robbed.
She died on Tuesday at the age of 86. She will be missed by more people than she ever met. Rest in peace.