Veteran Broadway and film actor John Kerr died February 2 at the age of 81 in Los Angeles. The cause of death was listed as congestive heart faiulure.
Known for his bigotry challenging roles, Kerr won a Tony Award for his Braodway performance as Tom in “Tea and Sympathy”. He reprised the role in the MGM film in 1956.
Kerr was offered the role ofin the film “Spirit of St. Louis” but refused in a highly publicized event citing Lindbergh’s Nazi sympasizing remarks as his reason.
He was born John Grinhan Kerr on November 15, 1931 in New York City the son of a British playwright and an American actress. He was working in Repertory Theater when he made the move to Broadway after catching the eye of a proudcer.
Kerr made his television debut in 1953 with the Lux Video Theaatre. From there he went on to appear in over 70 films and television shows - many of them legal and police dramas - including “Success”, “Tea and Sympathy”, “Climax”, “South Pacific”, “Riverboat”, “Rawhide”, “Pit and the Pendulum”, “Gunsmoke”, “The Defenders”, “The Virginian”, “Wagon Train”, 18 episodes of “Arrest and Trial”, “Profiles in Courage”, “12 O'Clock High”, “Peyton Place”, “Flipper”, “The High Chaparral”, “Adam-12”, seven episodes of “The F.B.I.', “Columbo”, “The Rookies”, “Alias, Smith, and Jones”, “Mod Squad”, “Barnaby Jones”, “The Invisible Man”, five episodes of “Police Story”, nine episodes of “The Streets of San Francisco”, “MacMillan and Wife”, and his final role in the TV movie “The Park is Mine”.
A graduate of the University of California, Kerr became a lawyer specializing in personal injury and medical malpractice after leaving acting.
Kerr is survived by his second wife Barbara; step children Sharon and Chris; children Michael, Rebecca, and Jocelyn; and seven grandchildren.