Jean Kerr


Biography of Jean Kerr

Jean Kerr (July 10, 1922 – January 5, 2003) was an Irish-American author and playwright born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and best known for her humorous bestseller, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, and the plays King of Hearts and Mary, Mary. She was married to drama critic Walter Kerr and was the mother of six children.

Personal life

Born Bridget Jean Collins in Scranton, Pennsylvania to Tom and Kitty Collins, Kerr grew up on Electric Street in Scranton, and attended Marywood Seminary, the topic of her humorous short story "When I was Queen of the May." She received a Bachelor's Degree from Marywood College in Scranton and later attended The Catholic University of America, where she received her master's degree and met then-professor Walter Kerr. She later married Kerr, who went on to become a well-known New York drama critic, and they had six children—Christopher, twins Colin and John, Gilbert, Gregory, and Kitty. The Kerrs bought a home in New Rochelle, New York, where Jean wrote 'King of Hearts', before settling in Larchmont. She died in White Plains, New York, of pneumonia, in 2003.

Career

With her husband, Kerr wrote Goldilocks (1958), a short-lived Broadway musical comedy about the early days of silent film. She wrote several highly successful plays, including the Tony Award-winning King of Hearts, as well as the comedy Mary, Mary, which ran for over 1,500 performances and, for a time, held the record for the longest-running non-musical play on Broadway.

She also wrote many humorous magazine essays, typically about her family. Several collections of these were later published in book form and became best-sellers. Her best-known book was Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1957), a humorous look at suburban life from the point of view of former city dwellers. The book was a national bestseller, later adapted for the screen as a vehicle for Doris Day and David Niven and subsequently the basis of a television situation comedy starring Pat Crowley.

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