Feat 70s
Family Life,  Interviews

"If you bring the scones, we'll have tea"

Translation of Spanish article: “Si traen las pastas, tomaremos el té

Deborah and Peter
Deborah and Peter

She is the elegant redhead. The ladylike cinema lady. Lady Deborah Kerr was in Madrid for 24 hours. After long insistence, «Protagonistas», got an exclusive interview in their hotel room. Kind and friendy, she remembered the old times with her husband and even offered tea for a future interview. And all that with pure English style.

She arrived with her husband, exhausted from Biarritz. It was a long journey by car. Even though she wasn’t the one driving, all she wanted was to have a shower and sleep. However, when she found out that her old friend Peter Cushing was also staying at Castellana Hilton, she went to say hello. Then she returned to her room.
But “Protagonistas” wanted a little more, as usual. An interview with exclusive photographs. And we got is, as usual. It wasn’t easy, but it was possible.
We called her room and a masculine «british» voice told us: «Mrs. Kerr is having a shower and can’t be bothered». We insisted. How to let go the unforgettable redhead from «From Here to Eternity»? – «We just want a couple of pictures, we won’t bother her with questions». «Call in half an hour».
We called and finally the star got on the phone.

Deborah opens the hotel room door
Deborah opens the hotel room door

«I’m terribly tired. The trip was too long. besides, we’re leaving for Marbella and I still don’t know if we’re travelling tonight or tomorrow morning. I’ve just came out of the shower, my hair is wet and I removed my make up. Please, understand that I don’t feel for getting dressed again to have any pictures taken. If you want, I can do the interview on the phone but no photographs».

We kept pushing.

«But you see, if we don’t get the pictures, Parrota will kill us.» «Who is Parrotta?» «Oh, you can’t even imagine, just a couple of shots, please».

We talked for fifteen minutes. Finally, she left it all up to her husband. Peter, her husband, had a business call on the room next door. Of the outcome of that called, depended if they were leaving for Marbella that same night or the following day. We told her that if she was leaving the next morning, we’d wait for her when she came out to have the photos. And if that was not possible, that same night when they left. She was already tired of us, but finally gave up. “Ok, Ok, call again in another half an hour. Ouff!”

Deborah in her room
Deborah in her room

So we waited. We had three coffees and we bit our nails. Exactly half an hour later: “Hello, room 660?” This time, her husband picked it up «Mi wife will see you but, please, be brief.»

«All right, here I am, you may now take your pictures
»She opened the door herself. Years had passed but she still retained her freshness.
We asked for a short interview.

«But, wasn’t it just a few photos that you needed?»

And she kindly started talking about her activities for the last few years.

«Last year I was in Australia doing a play, «The day after the Fair». It was up for eight months. It was a huge success and we finished it for Christmas season. After that, we returned to our home in Switzerland and stayed till Spring. Since then, we came back and forth to Marbella all the time, whenever Peter’s business allowed it. That is why, now that we’re both free at the same time, we want to make the best use of our Summer. The climate of Marbella is perfect for that. We’ll stay for a while. Mostly because all the people that use to come to spend the summer is gone already. Now it will be quiet and we can enjoy the beach.»

Peter explains in perfect Spanish that his business are related with cinema.

«I lived for a while in Mexico and also here in Spain, that’s why I can speak Spanish. Deborah can’t speak it but she understand almost all of it. By the way, what publication is this interview for?».

We tell him it’s for “Protagonistas”, the magazine that accompanies “Interviú”.

«That one with the naked women?», he asks amused. And before we can reply, Deborah Kerr adds: «Well, you’d better get ready cause the one getting her clothes off will be him. I bet you were not expecting this exclusive!”

And then what was supposed to be a short meeting became a friendly chat.

La infinita paciencia de Deborah
La infinita paciencia de Deborah

She gets nostalgic when she speaks of Peter Cushing.

«I was so happy to see him again. It had been twenty six years since we last met. The last time was while we were shooting Graham Greene’s adaptation, «The End of the Affair». He played my husband and cheated on him with Van Johnson. I was so moved seeing him again. It was only then that I realise how much time had passed. I can’t say I felt old, because it was as if nothing had changed, but I couldn’t help but feel how years had gone by.»What had not gone by was her charm. Older, but well preserved. With the same dignity of the past. Her hair is still red, the classic bun has been replaced by some sort of ponytail, quite appropriate for this meeting. Her jewels -earrings, necklace and rings – are in gold, with original and discreet designs. It all has a “Touch of class”. Her hands are still slim, delicate, perfect. Her shoes, Italian and classic. But the most relevant thing in her do is her perfume.

«Do you like it?. It’s American. It’s called Norell. And I could say it’s my favourite. To me, perfume is of high important. I believe it defines, somehow, the personality and characteristics of the one who is wearing it. When I discovered this perfume, I felt it was the one that most effectively represented the way I am. I think that perfume goes beyond sophistication, it is important to get to know a person. It’s not a silly idea, think of the people you know and the perfume they use. They all have something to do with the one wearing them. You can’t lie about that».

Her husband nods and for the first time, they sit together. He takes her hand and they talk about what they’ll be doing in Marbella. They ask us what kind of weather they’ll have, if they’ll be able to walk along the shore and have a sunbath.

«I must be very careful with the sun. My skin is very delicate, as is all redheads. The passing of time doesn’t alter at all my pigmentation. But that was never a problem for me since I never had the patience to stay for a long period of time under the sun, I feel like I’m getting cooked».

They talk about what they enjoy doing in their spare time:

«Reading, writing, listening to music or carrying out projects. You must never stop having projects, no matter how old you are. While you’re planning something, it doesn’t matter if it comes through or not, while you’re doing it you feel alive. And that is what really matters».

They seem like a perfect fitting couple. Suddenly, Deborah asks with irony:

«Hey, wasn’t this supposed to be a couple of pictures and not asking so many questions?».

This puts an end to the interview. As if we were old friends, she sees us to the door with

«We’ll have a cup of tea sometime».

We look at her as if it had been the Queen of England asking us for «five o’clock tea». We accept, but on one condition, we’ll be bringing the scones.

I personally translated this article from the original Spanish one so all mistakes are mine. I’m pretty sure Deborah spoke much better than what I transcribed.


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