The 60s
Family Life

When Love Can't Wait

When love can’t wait, home, children, career – all must go, if need be.
By Clara Confield

When love can't wait
When love can

It is really and sincerely true that to know Deborah Kerr is to love her. She is without a doubt one of the “first ladies” of the theatre, in every sense of the word. She is invariably kind and considerate to everyone; respectful to co-workers, and no director has ever had to wait for a mood or a whim to blow over. In addition, her devotion to her two daughters is something touching to witness: the way the girls’ eyes light up when, “Mammy’s here!” is cried out by one or the other of them. Whenever possible, she takes them with her on location, although since her separation and divorce from Tony Bartley the girls have been in school abroad.
That was one reason why everyone was so stunned when Deborah let it be known that she was divorcing Tony in order to marry writer Peter Viertel. There are many reasons why her friends aren’t too happy about her second marriage-if, as she announced, she does marry Peter in July when her California divorce becomes final. Viertel is an unstable person in many ways. He hasn’t always shown, her friends think, the single-minded devotion to her that he should. But Deborah is a woman in love, and despite the warnings, she will go ahead with her marriage unless something unexpected comes up. Because when a woman laves deeply and truly, lave can’t wait, even if it means hurting some people in order to be with the man you love.
Meanwhile, ex-husband Tony Bartley was causing many friends of the couple to put tongue in cheek at same of the remarks he made recently after Deborah had raced straight from London airport to her daughters’ school during a brief stay in the English capital en route to Australia.
Typically, Deborah had said, “I want to spend every minute I can with them.” Said Tony, wanting to sound like a good loser and sounding like a very bad one. “Whatever I think of the man I don’t condemn her.” … “You know, it’s great to be home. A11 my friends have rallied round. I’m like an old horse. When I get kicked and hurt I make right for the stables and stay there.”
Referring to their daughters, Melanie and Francesca, Bartley said, “Deborah can see them any time,” and then added “if she wants to.” He then quoted Melanie as saying, “Daddy, I don’t want to be an actress when I grow up. Every time I pick up the paper I read about actresses getting divorced.”
Supposedly disdaining Deborah’s money, contrary to the rumour in England, Bartley said righteously, “I told her not to have the divorce in California under community property law. It means that everything is split down the middle. And more of it was hers. Much more. Altogether with our two film companies, insurance, and so on, it added up to nearly a million dollars. I don’t want the money, don’t need it. I’m very well paid. I’m using it to set up trust funds for the children.”
Now why did Deborah ever leave such a paragon of virtue?

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