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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.

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John Kerr appeared in films such as 'South Pacific' and 'Tea and Sympathy.'

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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.

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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.

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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.