Deborah Kerr: I would get rid of Marbella's parties.

ABC Blanco y Negro – Some summer in the early 80’s. Marbella.
By Elvira Yebra

Deborah and Kitty-KatI was expecting a Hollywood diva with a silk turban, a straw hat and huge sunglasses but I was welcomed instead by a sweet-smiling woman in a plain blouse and comfortable pants and who greeted me in perfect Spanish.

She doesn’t miss her golden days, when her trips to Spain were engulfed in the expectation the media generated around them. When she first arrived with Luís Miguel Dominguín who introduced her to bullfighting and showed her this country was perfect for her retirement. But she is not retired yet. She insist that if she likes a role enough, she might still go for it. “Who knows,” – she says – “I might finally win an Oscar when I’m 80!”

But being away from Hollywood for years, she admits she has not kept in touch with what goes on over there nowadays. “Everything has changed a lot and I barely know its “almost” stars. There are no stars anymore, there are great actors and actresses but things have changed. There aren’t many huge films made lately, it’s all oriented towards television broadcasts. The big studios are almost gone and all that matters now is making money. being honest, I like better the Hollywood I knew.”

It’s been many years since Deborah first came to this country. In that occasion she fell in love with “the bullfighting stuff” as she calls it. She also fell in love with the sun and the people. Today, she no longer goes to the arena, she’d rather watch it on TV because it gets too hot in the Plaza and she can’t stand the big cigars. She doesn’t take sunbaths either because she explains that her delicate Scottish skin does not allow her to do such crazy things.

Truth is that Deborah being the intelligent woman that she is, has found the way to build up her retirement. She spends the long cold winter months in her cozy Marbellan home, surrounded by golf courses, away from the buzz of civilization. Then, from June on, she goes to her home in Switzerland, between two lakes in some deep forest. “Summer heat in the south of Spain is unbearable for me, that’s why I go to Switzerland. Besides, you may not believe this, but life here in Spain is actually more expensive than there. But I always return, cause I feel wonderful here.”

– “If you were the major of the city, what would you change first?”
– “Without any doubts, the roads. And I would hire more and better police. I don’t understand why no one seems to care for speed limits. speeding tickets are few and too cheap. There are less accidents in America than here.”
– “And what about the social areas?”
– “I’d ban the big parties. Marbella is no longer the small village that it was and friend reunions have become massive parties”.
– “Do you think Marbella is facing a crisis?”
– “No, each place has its own season. Many of our friends have left… some did because of the devaluation of the American Dollar, we must keep that in mind. But we will continue coming here because we love this house, and when you reach a certain age you value the commodities, the climate, the tranquility and the poeple that is nice to you.”

Deborah leans on her husband, the writer Peter Viertel, with whom she’s been married over thirty years. She says that they have always made a good team. He was a script writer in Hollywood back in the day and now – as always – Deborah reads his books and is his first critic. She often takes his arm to walk through the lonely and peaceful lands of Rio Real. That’s where we leave them, with the smell of Jazmin and the singing of the crickets.

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