Jean Kerr

Writer
Jean Kerr

Female

Born: July 10, 1922
Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA

Died: January 5, 2003
White Plains, New York, USA

Jean Kerr, a popular Broadway playwright and humorist who was the widow of drama critic Walter Kerr, died Jan. 5, 2003, in a White Plains, NY, hospital, according to The New York Times. Ms. Kerr was 80 and lived in Larchmont, NY, in the Westchester County that is the setting for her 1957 book of domestic suburban adventures, "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," which was later made into a film and a TV series. The cause of her death was pneumonia.

On Broadway, she scored a major hit with Mary, Mary, in 1961. The comedy concerned a divorced couple who decide they are right for each other after all. The play ran more than 1,500 performances and was made into a film.

The Times reported that Ms. Kerr was born in Scranton, PA, and attended Marywood Seminary and Marywood College there. She married Kerr after earning a bachelor's degree at Marywood and then earned at master's degree at Catholic University, where Walter Kerr was a professor. They would go on to collaborate as writers on shows, and he would become the respected drama critic for The New York Times (the former Ritz Theatre on Broadway is named after him).

Together, the Kerrs penned Song of Bernadette, a stage version of a novel about Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, for Broadway in 1946. The also collaborated on an unsuccessful revue, Touch and Go, in 1949, writing lyrics and sketches. The married couple also wrote material for the revue, John Murray Anderson's Almanac in 1953.

Ms. Kerr's solo playwriting efforts included Jenny Kissed Me, Poor Richard, Finishing Touches and Lunch Hour, which starred Gilda Radner and Sam Waterston.

The Times reported that the Kerrs had such an unhappy experience with their flop musical, Goldilocks, starring Elaine Stritch, that they "made a mutual vow never to mention its name again." But time has been kind to that 1958 musical comedy with music by Leroy Anderson, book by the Kerrs and lyrics by the Kerrs and Joan Ford. The cast album, re-released on CD in recent years, is beloved by show fans and includes the memorable ballad, "I Never Know When."

Ms. Kerr is survived by sons Christopher, Colin, John, Gregory and Gilbert, and daughter Kitty.

 

Roles

Playbill Cover - Lunch Hour Lunch Hour
Nov. 12, 1980 - Jun. 28, 1981
Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Finishing Touches Finishing Touches
Feb. 8, 1973 - Jun. 30, 1973
Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Poor Richard Poor Richard
Dec. 2, 1964 - Mar. 13, 1965
Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Mary, Mary Mary, Mary
Mar. 8, 1961 - Dec. 12, 1964
Writer
(Original)
 
Goldilocks
Oct. 11, 1958 - Feb. 28, 1959
Book
(Original)
 
    Lyrics
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - King of Hearts King of Hearts
Apr. 1, 1954 - Nov. 27, 1954
Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - John Murray Anderson's Almanac John Murray Anderson's Almanac
Dec. 10, 1953 - Jun. 26, 1954
Sketches
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Touch and Go Touch and Go
Oct. 13, 1949 - Mar. 18, 1950
Sketches
(Original)
 
    Lyrics
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Jenny Kissed Me Jenny Kissed Me
Dec. 23, 1948 - Jan. 8, 1949
Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Song of Bernadette The Song of Bernadette
Mar. 26, 1946 - Mar. 27, 1946
Writer
(Original)
 
 
 
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