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Stage and screen actor John Kerr ('Tea and Sympathy,' 'South Pacific') dies at 81

Variety reports that actor John Kerr, who starred in Tea and Sympathy, one of the first major Hollywood films to deal with homosexuality, died Feb.  2 at age 81.

teaandsympathy Kerr won a 1954 Tony for starring on Broadway in Robert Anderson's play, Tea and Sympathy, which became a film two years later co-starring Deborah Kerr (no relation).

In the play and film, Kerr's character is called "Sister Boy" because he is more "sensitive" than the other guys at school. Deborah Kerr plays the headmaster's wife, who has an affair with the teenager.

"Years from now when you talk about this - and you will - be kind," her character tells him.

In 1958, John Kerr starred opposite Mitzi Gaynor and Rosanno Brazzi in the film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific. As. Lt. Joe Cable, Kerr sang (dubbed) Younger Than Springtime and Carefully Taught.

When his acting career wound down, Kerr went to law school and became an attorney.

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