Kerr, (Bridget) Jean (Collins) 1923(?)-2003
KERR, (Bridget) Jean (Collins) 1923(?)-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born July 10, 1923 (some sources cite 1922 or 1924), in Scranton, PA; died of complications from pneumonia January 5, 2003, in White Plains, NY. Playwright and author. Kerr is remembered chiefly for the charm and humor of her essay collections, beginning with the bestseller Please Don't Eat the Daisies. Her wry perspective on upscale suburbia, marriage, parenthood, and life at large attracted a loyal following of fans who appreciated her talent for infusing humor into the mundane. Kerr always claimed that her own life as mother of six provided the fodder for her imagination, but some critics suspected that a considerable talent was at work. Kerr published three other collections between 1957 and 1978: The Snake Has All the Lines, Penny Candy, and How I Got to Be Perfect. Toward the end of this period, some critics came to believe that Kerr's writing had become dated, or that her focus on the mini-crises of life to the exclusion of the major issues of the sixties and seventies rendered her perspective unrealistic. To her readers, however, Kerr's droll, mild-mannered attitude may have provided a refreshing antidote, for her books remained popular. Kerr began her career as a playwright, often collaborating with her husband, stage director and critic Walter Kerr. Her most successful theatrical effort was the comedy Mary, Mary, about a couple who divorces only to realize that their love affair might not be over after all. The response of Broadway critics was lukewarm, but, as in the case of Kerr's essay collections, audiences were enthusiastic. Mary, Mary had a long Broadway run; it was later adapted as a feature film starring Debbie Reynolds. Please Don't Eat the Daisies was also adapted as a screenplay and later as a television series.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, January 7, 2003, section 2, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2003, obituary by Myrna Oliver, p. B10.
New York Times, January 7, 2003, obituary by Robert Berkvist, p. A18.
Times (London, England), January 22, 2003.
Washington Post, January 8, 2003, p. B6.