The King and I was a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein based on Margaret Landon‘s novel, Anna and the King of Siam derived from the memoirs of a governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s.
In the musical, a British schoolteacher named Anna is hired to assist the King’s drive to modernize his country. Although there is conflict between the King and Anna, there is as well a love neither can admit.
The musical premiered in March 1951, at Broadway’s St. James Theatre and ran for nearly three years and has had many revivals.
The musical was filmed in 1956 with Brynner re-creating his role opposite Deborah Kerr. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won five, including Best Actor for Brynner, with Kerr nominated for Best Actress.
He was one of my favorite actors with unparalleled diction on screen, dominating every scene he was in, Steve McQueen tried to upstage him, to no avail, in The Magnificent Seven. His anti-smoking message used by The American Cancer Society after his death was the creepiest moment on television.