Part of the “clippings series”: Articles of which I only have found random pages and are incomplete.
[First page of the article is missing]
Deborah declared. “An actress must be enormously observant. When I enter a room, for instance, I notice what people in the room are wearing. I observe how they sit, stand, talk. I’m not a nosey busybody-all these things are grist to an actress’ mill. People are my perennial study. Everything I observe is put away deep within my memory, and whenever I need it I reach in and drag it out of my subconscious. “All actors have a bit of ham in them … And they love playing old people. Because you have so much to work with-the quavering voice, the stiff gait, the special way of sitting down, of peering out of tired old eyes.”
As Deborah talks, her own enormous eyes mirror her understanding, her gaiety, her quicksilver animation. She never appears to sit still. She admitted that she’s deathly afraid of being typed, of having to portray dull or namby-pamby characters.
“I must get my teeth into a character,” she explained. “I’m not a beauty. My figure doesn’t elicit wolf whistles. Frankly, I’d rather be emotional on the screen than merely ornamental, anyway. But I like light comedy, too. And in my next film, which is Please Believe Me, I play a wacky English girl, a real character.”
In her few short years of acting Deborah Kerr has come a long way. The daughter of a Scottish architect, she was born on the banks of Loch Lomond in a tiny village, Helensburgh. Her aunt ran a dramatic school in Bristol, and stage-struck Deborah could hardly wait to take the low road there to study ballet and dramatics. Small bits in open-air stock companies and radio followed. And then she met Hungarian-born producer Gabriel Pascal. “Recite something to me,” he asked her. She gave him the Lord’s Prayer. Gabriel blew his horn and Deborah was on her way up. In seven short years she skyrocketed from a drab London YWCA room and about $7.00 a week to her present $3,000 every Friday. (The Man With the Whiskers relieves her of half that sum, though.)
In spite of the fact that she had achieved a good bit of fame in England it’s understandable that when she came to Hollywood in 1947 she felt some trepidation at being swallowed up in the whirlpool of movie publicity. “I told my first interviewer,” she recalled, laughing, “that I wouldn’t pose for pictures showing my suspenders. Very gently he informed me that in Hollywood suspenders suspend trousers. What I meant, he said, were garters!” Luckily for Deborah, she’s had no cheesecake photographs to make. But she has discovered cheesecake and lemon pie as favorite desserts. And hot dogs, too, have their charms. “But I do deplore,” she says, “the American custom of eating sweet, treacly marmalade instead of the really bitter orange variety.” Deborah, her handsome, former RAF hero husband, Anthony Charles Bartley, and their adorable baby, Melanie Jane, all live happily in a large, roomy Riviera-style house in Pacific Palisades hard by the ocean front.
The baby was only five months old when Deborah and Tony took her to England where Edward, My Son was filmed. “It was a real expedition,” Deborah said. “We took the baby’s nurse, cases of milk, special formula baby food, a ‘pram’ and stacks and stacks of trunks. It was almost like the migration of a small circus,” she laughed. “How do you like Hollywood?” I asked. “I love it, but I’m the despair of the publicity department,” Deborah replied sadly. “Week after week goes by and nothing sensational ever happens to me. I’m an enthusiastic gardener, but what can you make, newswise, out of that? “I love all the ladylike housewifely accomplishments like arranging flowers, playing the piano, collecting Bristol glass and antique furniture. Yet, that’s just the role I hate to play on the screen. As I said before, good women are so deadly dull, dramatically speaking. Maybe I ought to keep my Mrs. Miniver home life a secret from the studio, so they won’t start casting me to type. I love taking long walks along the beach with Tony, playing tennis, going swimming and dancing. But most of all I love taking care of little Melanie on the nurse’s day off. “One thing, though, I won’t do. And that’s drive a car here, though I drove in England. People don’t drive so madly over there. “I don’t ever want to stop acting-not even for six months! I’m such a ham that. I can’t bear the thought of ever giving it up. If you’re an actress, I think you must keep on acting, until you drop. I’ll take time out to have more babies but I want to be acting when I’m a grandmother!”
That, Deborah, doesn’t surprise us at all!