John Kerr passed away Saturday, Feb. 2 at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Calif. He was 81.

The stage and screen actor, known for his roles in films South Pacific and The Pit and the Pendulum, died of heart failure, his son Michael told The Associated Press.

He was perhaps best known for playing a sensitive prep school student who is bullied for being a suspected homosexual in Elia Kazan’s 1953 Broadway production of “Tea and Sympathy.” He went on to reprise the role in a 1956 film version.

The Harvard-educated Kerr also played a district attorney on TV in “Peyton Place” in the mid-1960s. After leaving show business, he became a lawyer specializing in personal injury law.

Kerr is survived by his wife, Barbara Chu, stepchildren Sharon and Chris Chu, daughters Rebecca Kerr, Jocelyn Kerr-Thantrakul and son Michael Kerr from his first marriage, and seven grandchildren.