John Kerr was a Tony-winning actor for 'Tea and Sympathy'

John Kerr starred in the film version of 'South Pacific' and earned a Tony Award for his stage role in 'Tea and Sympathy.' John Kerr reprised his 'Tea' role for the 1956 film.

Turner Classic Movies/YouTube
John Kerr appeared in films such as 'South Pacific' and 'Tea and Sympathy.'

John Kerr, the stage and film actor whose credits include the movie "South Pacific," the thriller "The Pit and the Pendulum" and a Tony Award-winning turn in "Tea and Sympathy," has died. He was 81.

Kerr died Saturday of heart failure at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, his son Michael said.

He was perhaps best known for playing a sensitive prep school student who is bullied for being a suspected homosexual in Elia Kazan's 1953 Broadway production of "Tea and Sympathy." He went on to reprise the role in a 1956 film version.

The Harvard-educated Kerr also played a district attorney on TV in "Peyton Place" in the mid-1960s. After leaving show business, he became a lawyer specializing in personal injury law.

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