John Kerr was born in New York Manhattan, on November 15, 1931, the son of the later June Walker, the Broadway actress, and of the English playwright and the actor, the late Geoffrey Kerr. His grandfather, the late Frederick Kerr was a well-known British actor..
John Kerr’s first appearance was as son of Ruth Chatterton in Tomorrow And Tomorrow at Cape Playhouse in 1940. John Kerr was educated at Phillips Exeter, and During summers, he became a junior fixture at there, and appeared the late Gertrude Lawrence in O Mistress Mine and September Tide. John Kerr entered Harvard University in 1948 and he was a member of the Brattle Theatre Company. He played in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night and in Christopher Fry’s A Sleep of Prisoners. John Kerr succeeded in Billy Budd of Herman Melville which set a record for the Brattle with an eleven-week run. In 1952, Chatterton urged Guthrie McClintic to journey from the Cape to Boston to see his act. McClintic did and offered him a job. McClintic gave him his start on Broadway in Bernardine.
In 1952, John Kerr made his first Broadway appearance in Mary Chase’s comedy, he played Arthur Beaumont in Bernardine, leading a high-school gang and he won the Daniel Blum Award as the Most Promising Stage Actor of the Year and New York’s Drama Critic in the Annual Variety Poll.
In 1953, John Kerr appeared with Deborah Kerr, he played a sensitive lead of Tom Lee in Robert Anderson’s Tea and Sympathy which was one of the most talked- about plays in Broadway history, had a record run of almost two years(91 weeks, 720 performances).Kerr distinguished himself through his excellent acting and was honored for his role by An Antoinette Perry Award (Tony), the Donaldson Award and the New York Critics award as the Best Supporting Actor of the year. On the last day off his engagement in Tea And Sympathy, he became a father of twin girls on May 31 1954. A memorable event in his life.
On September 1954, John Kerr appeared with his mother, June Walker for the first time on stage. They played mother and son in Robert Anderson’s new play All Summer Long. After All Summer Long, he commuted between Hollywood and New York. Kerr became an overnight star on Broadway in Tea And Sympathy and it was that success which brought him the Hollywood.
John Kerr's screen debut was as Steve W. Holte in The Cobweb which was directed by Vincent Minnelli, who assembles an all-star cast as inhabitants of a psychiatric clinic in which the stall were sometimes hard to distinguish from the patients. He appeared with Susan Strasberg.
John Kerr’s second appearance in a movie revealed his versatility in MGM’s love story, Gaby in which he co-starred with Leslie Caron. He played an American paratrooper whose name was Greg. He again played to opposite Deborah Kerr in Tea And Sympathy , this time in MGM’s screen version, which in 1957 won him the Golden Glove Award as Most Promising Newcomer of the year. In the same year , he appeared in MGM’s The Vintage which co-starred Michel Morgan. In 1958, he appeared on Broadway in Elmer Rice’s play, Cue for Passion. It was a modern paraphrase of the Hamlet story and he played the central role of the troubled young man, whose name was Tony Burgess. Robert Lansing played his friend and Diana Wynyard played his mother.
In 1958, John Kerr appeared in the role Lieutenant Joe Cable in Roger and Hammerstein’s musical South Pacific, a very popular successful movie. He appeared in The Crowded Sky, Girl of the Night, The Seven Women from The Hell, and Pit and the Pendulum from 1958 to 1961.
From the 1950’s to the 1970’s, John Kerr has appeared in over 100 major TV programs and films, which include Peyton Place, The Young Lawyers, and The Street of San Francisco.
John Kerr has also turned the stage direction for the La Jolla Playhouse, the Fred Miller Theatre, the Horseshoe Stage, the Theatre Group of U.C.L.A. and produced sic plays in Beverly Hills for ANRA. Kerr also delivered a series of lectures at the University of Oregon Summer Conferences on Contemporary Arts, appeared Hamlet. at Stanford University as an artist-in-residence, and organized a series of staged readings of original plays for the U.C.L.A.Theatre Group of Los Angeles), for which he also directed Love And Like,by Harbert Gold. In 1967, Kerr appeared on Broadway in The Tenth Man by Paddy Chayefsky’s seriocomic fable. His part was Arthur Lanbau.
In 1966, his mother passed away and he decided to go to Law School and he entered at U.C.L.A.
In 1969, John Grinham Kerr became an attorney. But he still finds time for an occasional role on TV or in a movie.
In 2013, John Grinham Kerr passed away and his service were held on Thursday February 21. His ashes was scattered at the Ocean later.