John Kerr, Tony Award Winner For “Tea and Sympathy”, Dies At The Age Of 81

Tony Award winner, John Kerr Died on Saturday February 2nd in Pasadena, California; the apparent cause of his death was heart failure while at Huntington Hospital.

John Kerr was a stage and screen actor, best known for his part in “South Pacific”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, and “Tea and Sympathy”.

According to US Weekly, he is survived by his wife, Barbara Chu, son Michael Kerr, daughters Rebecca Kerr, Jocelyn Kerr-Thantrakul, stepchildren Sharon and Chris Chu, and seven grandchildren.

Though he is known for his multiple roles in films and on stage, he is also known for turning down the role of Charles Lindbergh in “The Spirit of St.Louis”. The film was set to feature Lindbergh’s historic trans-Atlantic flight. The reason for Kerr refusing the role was due to the fact that Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer.

As reported by The New York Times, John Kerr was born on Nov.15, 1931. His parents were in the entertainment industry. His mother, June Walker, was an actress and his father, Geoffrey Kerr, was a playwright.

His education included his graduation in 1952 from Harvard College, and his graduation from Law School at University of California in 1969. He began attending Law School in 1966 while working on his T.V. role in “Peyton Place”.

Shortly after he left the entertainment business, and pursued a full time career in his private practice managing personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
His son, Michael Kerr had the following to say about his father’s journey:

“My dad originally intended to become a novelist,” Michael Kerr said. “He saw acting as a way to support himself in the meantime. Then he won the Tony. Then he went to Hollywood.”

John Kerr had only a few roles in his career, but they were all spectacular. He will be missed.