Deborah and the press agents (3/x)
“They have a ‘I’d like you to meet’ routine that is rather exciting. Usually, they approach you on the set, and say, ‘We’ve got an important visitor on.’ So you sally forth to meet the VIP, for a handshake and a few words. Suddenly, the press agent is whispering, ‘A little closer.’ Before you know it, the VIP has his arm around your shoulder, and the flashbulbs are popping again. The variation on this is when you are supposed to meet one person and you suddenly find yourself enclosed by a family… the Doakes quadruplets from Dallas.” (Deborah Kerr)
photo: Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, visiting the set of The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
Deborah and the press agents (2/x)
“The British equivalent of the Hollywood publicist might be a trifle more reserved but is none the less dangerous. When I made Black Narcissus, I well remember being inveigled into posing on the brink of the high cliff for the suicide scene.
‘Just a little closer, Debbie,’ the press agent kept repeating. ‘We’d like to get the atmosphere in.’
At that time my toes were on the brink of eternity.” (Deborah Kerr)
Deborah vs typecasting
"I really did begin to get fed up when I was cast in the colourless, more or less supporting role of Catherine Parr – Jean Simmons’s stepmother – in Young Bess."
"I can be driven just so far. Then I stick both heels in and refuse to budge. And this was too much!" (Deborah Kerr)
“Look who’s playing a sexy dish now - Deborah Kerr. Yes, the same cool queen of MGM who has floated lady-like through many a film. Right now she’s playing an easy-to-get sweetheart of the soldiers in the film version of James Jones’ lusty novel, From Here To Eternity. The English actress is going all-out for the role. She happily posed for the first bathing suit photos of her Hollywood career.” (1950s press)
Deborah and the press agents (1/x)
“Some of my best friends in the motion picture industry are press agents, and never let it be said that I don’t appreciate them. I’m fondly attached to almost every one that I’ve worked with.
However, I’d gladly contribute toward a manual for actresses and actors on ‘How to Cope With Press Agents’. This booklet would enable you to read correctly the gleam in a publicity man’s eye.
That gleam is often deceiving. He’ll approach and say sweetly, ‘Deborah, would you mind stepping over toward this water buffalo for a picture?’ You agree, thinking all the while that you’ll be a good three feet away from the animal. Before you can say no, someone has hoisted you up on top, and the flashbulbs pop.
In so far as I can see, press agents feel all actors and actresses are indestructible. No water buffalo could possibly trample us; we couldn’t possibly fall off the ledge they’ve perched us on — or if we did, it’d make a great story.” (Deborah Kerr)
N.B.: the photo doesn’t depict a water buffalo, but the closest bovine available
Deborah and Ursula Andress at the Royal Film Performance of ‘Born Free’ (1966)
Deborah, about Yul Brynner:
"I don’t think he can be compared to anybody. He has an extraordinary sort of unexpected attraction. He’s not particularly tall, he has rather strong Mongol features, and he’s bald. And they say this man is attractive? Well, he is. Somehow he’s very, very handsome, a most unusual personality, a mixture of opposites; and on top of that he sort of has oodles of sex appeal."
Yul Brynner (July 11, 1920 - October 10, 1985)
“Fred Zinnemann, on From Here To Eternity and The Sundowners really brings out of me, in a completely different way, an awful lot that perhaps I’d never have the courage to lay bare, to open up. He just knows how to get you to do it, to bring out some inner quality.” (Deborah Kerr)