Celeste Holm

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Celeste Holm
Celeste Holm-1955.jpg
Born(1917-04-29)April 29, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 15, 2012(2012-07-15) (aged 95)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
Years active1937–2012
Spouse(s)Ralph Nelson
(m.1936-1939; divorced)
Francis Davies
(m.1940-1945; divorced)
A. Schuyler Dunning
(m.1946-1952; divorced)
Wesley Addy
(m.1961-1996; his death)
Frank Basile
(m.2004-2012; her death)
Celeste Holm Official Website
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Celeste Holm
Celeste Holm-1955.jpg
Born(1917-04-29)April 29, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 15, 2012(2012-07-15) (aged 95)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
Years active1937–2012
Spouse(s)Ralph Nelson
(m.1936-1939; divorced)
Francis Davies
(m.1940-1945; divorced)
A. Schuyler Dunning
(m.1946-1952; divorced)
Wesley Addy
(m.1961-1996; his death)
Frank Basile
(m.2004-2012; her death)
Celeste Holm Official Website

Celeste Holm (April 29, 1917 – July 15, 2012) was an American stage, film and television actress.

Holm won an Academy Award for her performance in Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and was Oscar nominated for her roles in Come to the Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). She originated the role of Ado Annie in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! (1943).

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in New York City, Holm was an only child. Her mother, Jean Parke, was an American portrait artist and author; her father, Theodor Holm, was a Norwegian businessman whose company provided marine adjustment services for Lloyd's of London. Because of her parents' occupations, she traveled often during her youth and attended various schools in the Netherlands, France and the United States. She graduated from University High School for Girls in Chicago, where she performed in many school stage productions. She then studied drama at the University of Chicago before becoming a stage actress in the late 1930s.


Publicity photo, c.1940

Holm's first professional theatrical role was in a production of Hamlet starring Leslie Howard. She first appeared on Broadway in a small part in Gloriana (1938), a comedy which lasted for only five performances, but her first major part on Broadway was in William Saroyan's revival of The Time of Your Life (1940) as Mary L. with fellow newcomer Gene Kelly. The role that got her the most recognition from critics and audiences was as Ado Annie in the premiere production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! in 1943.

After she starred in the Broadway production of Bloomer Girl, 20th Century Fox signed Holm to a movie contract in 1946. She made her film debut that same year in Three Little Girls in Blue, making a startling entrance in a “Technicolor red” dress singing “Always a Lady,” a belting Ado Annie-type song, although the character was different—a lady. In 1947 she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in Gentleman's Agreement.[1] After another supporting role in All About Eve, however, Holm realized she preferred live theater to movie work, and only accepted a few select film roles over the next decade. The most successful of these were the comedy The Tender Trap (1955) and the musical High Society (1956), both of which co-starred Frank Sinatra. She starred as a professor-turned-reporter in New York City in the CBS television series Honestly, Celeste! (fall 1954) and was thereafter a panelist on Who Pays? (1959). She also appeared several times on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.[citation needed]

In 1958, she starred as a reporter in an unsold television pilot called The Celeste Holm Show, based on the book No Facilities for Women. Holm also starred in the musical The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall. In 1965, she played the Fairy Godmother alongside Lesley Ann Warren in the CBS production of Cinderella. In 1970-71, she was featured on the NBC sitcom Nancy, with Renne Jarrett, John Fink and Robert F. Simon. In the story line, Holm played Abby Townsend, the press secretary of the First Lady of the United States and the chaperone of Jarrett's character, Nancy Smith, the President's daughter. During the 1970s and 1980s, Holm did more screen acting, with roles in films such as Tom Sawyer and Three Men and a Baby, and in television series (often as a guest star) such as Columbo, The Eleventh Hour, Archie Bunker's Place and Falcon Crest. In 1979, she played the role of First Lady Florence Harding in the television mini-series, Backstairs at the White House. She was a regular on the ABC soap opera Loving, appearing first in 1986 in the role of Lydia Woodhouse and again as Isabelle Dwyer Alden #2 from 1991 to 1992. She last appeared on television in the CBS television series Promised Land (1996–99).


Accepting her Academy Award for Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

A life member of The Actors Studio,[2] Holm received numerous honors during her lifetime, including the 1968 Sarah Siddons Award for distinguished achievement in Chicago theatre; she was appointed to the National Arts Council by then-President Ronald Reagan, appointed Knight, First Class of the Order of St. Olav by King Olav of Norway in 1979,[3] and inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1992. She remained active for social causes as a spokesperson for UNICEF, and for occasional professional engagements. From 1995 she was Chairman of the Board of Arts Horizons, a not-for-profit arts-in-education organization.

In 2006, Holm was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University.[4]

Holm was a guest at the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Aberdeen, Maryland. Some of the movies in which she appeared were screened at the festival, and the un-aired television pilot for Meet Me in St. Louis was shown. She received an honorary award during the dinner banquet at the close of the event.

Personal life[edit]

Attending the Academy Awards in 1988

Health and death[edit]

According to her husband, Holm had been treated for memory loss since 2002, suffered skin cancer, bleeding ulcers and a collapsed lung, and had hip replacements and pacemakers.[6][10]

In June 2012, Holm was admitted to New York's Roosevelt Hospital with dehydration. She suffered a heart attack on July 13 in the facility and died at her Manhattan home, where she chose to spend her final days, on July 15. She is survived by husband Frank Basile and her sons and grandchildren.[11][12][13]



1946Three Little Girls in BlueMiriam Harrington
1947Carnival in Costa RicaCeleste
Gentleman's AgreementAnne DettreyWon - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (2nd place)
1948Road HouseSusie Smith
Snake Pit, TheThe Snake PitGrace
1949Chicken Every SundayEmily Hefferan
A Letter to Three WivesAddie Ross (voice, uncredited)
Come to the StableSister ScholasticaNominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Everybody Does ItDoris Blair Borland
1950Champagne for CaesarFlame O'Neill
All About EveKarenNominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1955Tender Trap, TheThe Tender TrapSylvia Crewes
1956High SocietyLiz Imbrie
1962Bachelor FlatHelen Bushmill
1963Hailstones and Halibut BonesNarrator (voice)short film
1967Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding!Louise Halloran
1973Tom SawyerAunt Polly
1976Bittersweet LoveMarian
1977Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, TheThe Private Files of J. Edgar HooverFlorence Hollister
1987Three Men and a BabyMrs. Holden
1989Nora's Christmas GiftNora Richardsvideo
1997Still BreathingIda
2012Driving Me CrazyMrs. Ginsberg
2013College DebtsGrandma GGCompleted


1950All Star RevueGuest ActressEpisode "1.6"
1951Lux Video TheatreEliza
Margaret Best
Episode: "The Pacing Goose"
Episode: "Second Sight"
1952Schlitz PlayhouseEpisode: "Four's a Family"
Lux Video TheatreKatherine CaseEpisode: "The Bargain"
1953Lux Video TheatreMiss PrynneEpisode: "Lost Sunday"
Hollywood Opening NightEpisode: "Mrs. Genius"
Your Jeweler's ShowcaseEpisode: "Heart's Desire"
1954Honestly, Celeste!Celeste AndersTV series
1955United States Steel Hour, TheThe United States Steel HourMadge CollinsEpisode: "The Bogey Man"
1956Climax!Mary MillerEpisode: "The Empty Room Blues"
Sneak PreviewTV series
CarolynCarolyn DanielsTV movie
Steve Allen Show, TheThe Steve Allen ShowMad MeggieEpisode: "2.8"
Producers' ShowcaseMad MeggieEpisode: "Jack and the Beanstalk"
1957Schlitz PlayhouseLettie MorganEpisode: "The Wedding Present"
Goodyear PlayhouseMaggie TravisEpisode: "The Princess Back Home"
Zane Grey TheaterSarah KimballEpisode: "Fugitive"
Yeoman of the Guard, TheThe Yeoman of the GuardPhoebe MeryllTV movie
1960Art Carney SpecialEpisode: "The Man in the Dog Suit"
Christophers, TheThe ChristophersEpisode: "Women of the Bible"
1961Play of the WeekVirginiaEpisode: "A Clearing in the Woods"
1962Follow the SunMiss BullfinchEpisode: "The Irresistible Miss Bullfinch"
CheckmateLaraine WhitmanEpisode: "So Beats My Plastic Heart"
Alcoa PremiereLaura BennettEpisode: "Cry Out in Silence"
1963Dr. KildareNurse Jane MunsonEpisode: "The Pack Rat and Prima Donna"
Burke's LawHelen ForsytheEpisode: "Who Killed the Kind Doctor?"
1964Eleventh Hour, TheThe Eleventh HourBillie HamiltonEpisode "How Do I Say I Love You?"
1965Mr. NovakRose HerrodEpisode: "An Elephant Is Like a Tree"
CinderellaFairy GodmotherTV movie
Run for Your LifeMargot HorstEpisode: "The Cold, Cold War of Paul Bryan"
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ColorMrs. Fuller4 episodes
Fugitive, TheThe FugitiveFlo HagermanEpisode: "The Old Man Picked a Lemon"
1966Long Hot Summer, TheThe Long Hot SummerLibby RankinEpisode: "Face of Fear"
Meet Me in St. LouisMrs. SmithTV movie
1967Fugitive, TheThe FugitivePearl PattonEpisode: "Concrete Evidence"
F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I.Flo ClementiEpisode: "The Executioners: Part 1"
Episode: "The Executioners: Part 2"
Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the FBIFlo ClementiTV movie
InsightMrs. BernsEpisode: "Fat Hands and a Diamond Ring"
1970Name of the Game, TheThe Name of the GameIrene ComdonEpisode: "The Brass Ring"
Swing Out, Sweet LandNancy LincolnTV movie
1970-1971NancyAbigail17 episodes
1972Delphi Bureau, TheThe Delphi BureauSybil Van LoweenEpisode: "Pilot"
1973Medical CenterDr. Linda WilsonEpisode: "No Margin for Error"
1974Medical CenterGeraldine SternEpisode: "Web of Intrigue"
Streets of San Francisco, TheThe Streets of San FranciscoMrs. ShaningerEpisode: "Crossfire"
Underground Man, TheThe Underground ManBeatrice BroadhurstTV movie
Death CruiseElizabeth MasonTV movie
Manhunter, TheThe ManhunterEpisode: "The Truck Murders"
1976American Woman: Portraits of Courage, TheThe American Woman: Portraits of CourageElizabeth Cady StantonTV movie
Captains and the KingsSister AngelaTV miniseries
ColumboMrs. BrandtEpisode: Old Fashioned Murder
1977Love Boat II, TheThe Love Boat IIEva McFarlandTV movie
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ColorEpisode: "The Bluegrass Special"
Wonder WomanDolly TuckerEpisode: "I Do, I Do"
1978LucanEpisode: "You Can't Have My Baby"
Fantasy IslandMabel JarvisEpisode: "The Beachcomber/The Last Whodunnit"
1979Fantasy IslandSister VeronicaEpisode: "The Look Alikes/Winemaker"
Backstairs at the White HouseMrs. Florence HardingTV miniseries
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special
Trapper John, M.D.ClaudiaEpisode: "The Shattered Image"
Love Boat, TheThe Love BoatEstelle CastlewoodEpisode: "A Good and Faithful Servant/The Secret Life of Burl Smith/Tug of War/Designated Lover"
1981Midnight LaceSylvia RandallTV movie
As the World TurnsLauren RobertsTV series
Archie Bunker's PlaceEstelle HarrisEpisode: "Growing Up is Hard to Do"
Episode: "Custody"
1982American PlayhouseCelebrityEpisode: "The Shady Hill Kidnapping"
Trapper John, M.D.Lillie TownsendEpisode: "Don't Rain on My Charade"
1983Archie Bunker's PlaceEstelle HarrisEpisode: "Three Women"
This Girl for HireZandra StonehamTV movie
1984JessieMolly HaydenTV movie
JessieMolly Hayden
Love Boat, TheThe Love BoatFlorence FlandersEpisode: "Buck Stops Here, The/For Better or Worse/Bet on It"
1985Matt HoustonKatherine HersheyEpisode: "Company Secrets"
Falcon CrestAnna Rossini6 episodes
1987Murder by the BookClaireTV movie
Magnum, P.I.Abigail BaldwinEpisode: "The Love That Lies"
1988Spenser: For HireRoseEpisode: "Haunting"
1989CBS Summer PlayhouseSamantha OrbisonEpisode: "Road Show"
PollyMiss SnowTV movie
1989-1990Christine CromwellSamantha Cromwell4 episodes
1990Polly: Comin' Home!Miss SnowTV movie
1991-1992LovingIsabella AldenTV series
1992CheersGrandmother GainesEpisode: "No Rest for the Woody"
1995Great PerformancesEpisode: "Talking With"
1996Home of the BraveHattie GreeneTV movie
Once You Meet a StrangerClaraTV movie
Touched by an AngelHattie GreeneEpisode: "Promised Land"
1996-1999Promised LandHattie Greene67 episodes
1997Touched by an AngelHattie GreeneEpisode: "The Road Home: Part 1"
Episode: "Amazing Grace: Part 2"
1998Touched by an AngelHattie GreeneEpisode: "Vengeance Is Mine: Part 1"
2000Beat, TheThe BeatFrances Robinson13 episodes
2002Third WatchFlorenceEpisode: "Transformed"
2004WhoopiDianaEpisode: "The Squatters"


1938GlorianaLady Mary
1940Time of Your Life, TheThe Time of Your LifeMary L
1940Another SunMaria
1940Return of the Vagabond, TheThe Return of the VagabondHis Daughter
1941Eight O'Clock TuesdayMarcia Godden
1941My Fair LadiesLady Keith-Odlyn
1942Papa Is AllEmma
1942All the Comforts of HomeFifi Oritanski
1942Damask Cheek, TheThe Damask CheekCalla Longstreth
1943Oklahoma!Ado Annie Carnes
1944Bloomer GirlEvalina
1950Affairs of StateIrene Elliott
1951King and I, TheThe King and IAnna LeonowensReplacement
1952Anna ChristieAnna Christopherson
1954His and HersMaggie Palmer
1958InterlockMrs. Price
1958Third Best SportHelen Sayre
1960Invitation to a MarchCamilla Jablonski
1967MameMame DennisReplacement
1974Habeas CorpusLady Rumpers
1979Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall, TheThe Utter Glory of Morrissey HallJulia Faysle
1991I Hate HamletLilian Troy
1994AllegroGrandma Taylor


  1. ^ Obituary: Celeste Holm, Daily Telegraph, 15 July 2012
  2. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  3. ^ "Ridder av St. Olav", Aftenposten, morning edition 21. May 1979, p. 10.
  4. ^ "SunDeis 2006". SunDeis Film Festival web site. Archived from the original on 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  5. ^ Celeste Holm profile at www.superiorpics.com
  6. ^ a b c Leland, John (2011-07-02). "Love and Inheritance: A Family Feud". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  7. ^ Holm profile at www.superiorpics.com
  8. ^ Staff writers (1952-05-12). "Births, deaths, marriages, divorces". Time. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth (2004-04-30). "December Bride: Shocking Guests, Celeste Holm Marries Beau at 85th Birthday Party". Playbill. 
  10. ^ Leland, John (2011-07-02). "Love and Inheritance - Celeste Holm's Family Feud". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Oscar-Winning Actress Celeste Holm Dies At 95". Huffington Post. July 15, 2012. 
  12. ^ http://todayentertainment.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/15/12752807-oscar-winning-actress-celeste-holm-dies-at-95?lite
  13. ^ "Fire At Robert De Niro's NYC Apartment; No Injuries". Huffington Post. June 9, 2012. 

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