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Woman of Substance Deborah Kerr dies aged 86

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The Scottish-born Hollywood actress Deborah Kerr has died at her home in Suffolk at the age of 86.

Kerr passed away with her family by her side, her agent Anne Hutton said, after suffering from Parkinson’s for a number of years.

Born in Helensburgh, she is best remembered playing Emma Harte in A Woman of Substance and for her passionate clinch with Burt Lancaster on the beach in 1953’s From Here to Eternity.

She once said of her role as the straying wife: ‘I studied voice for three months to get rid of my English accent. I changed my hair to blonde.

‘I knew I could be sexy if I had to.’

Kerr was also lauded for roles in The King and I and Black Nacissus. She was nominated for six Oscars over the course of her career but the golden statuette eluded her every time.

Glen Close eventually presented her with an honourary Oscar in 1994, describing her career as one that stood for ‘perfection, discipline and elegance’.

Kerr’s agent said: ‘She was one of the very best performers who maintained her composure at all times.

‘She was one of the most professional people I ever worked wit h and was an example to others in her profession.’

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