A publicity photo of Holm, c.1940
April 29, 1917|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 15, 2012
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago|
A. Schuyler Dunning
(m.1961-1996; his death)
(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).
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 Holland, 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.
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. 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.
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).
A life member of The Actors Studio, 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, and inducted into the American Theatre 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.
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.
- Holm's first marriage was to Ralph Nelson in 1936. Their son, Internet pioneer and sociologist Ted Nelson (born 1937), was raised by his maternal grandparents. The marriage ended in 1939. In his 2010 memoir, Possiplex, her son, credited with coining the term “hypertext,” described this and other choices as “entirely the right decisions.” He reportedly did not name his mother in the book.
- Holm married Francis Emerson Harding Davies, an English auditor, on January 7, 1940. Davies was a Roman Catholic, and she was received into the Roman Catholic Church for the purposes of their 1940 wedding; the marriage was dissolved on May 8, 1945.
- From 1946 to 1952, Holm was married to airline public relations executive A. Schuyler Dunning, with whom she had a second son, businessman Daniel Dunning.
- From 1961 to 1996, she was married to actor Wesley Addy (1913–1996), until his death at age 83 in 1996.
- On April 29, 2004, her 87th birthday, Holm married opera singer Frank Basile, age 41. The couple met in October 1999 at a fundraiser at which Basile was hired to sing. Soon after their marriage, Holm and Basile sued to overturn the irrevocable trust that was created in 2002 by Daniel Dunning, Holm's younger son. The trust was ostensibly set up to shelter Holm's financial assets from taxes though Basile contended the real purpose of the trust was to keep him away from her money. The lawsuit began a five-year battle with her sons, which cost millions of dollars, and according to an article in The New York Times, left Holm and her husband with a fragile hold on their apartment, which Holm purchased for $10,000 cash in 1953 from her film earnings, and which is now believed to be worth at least $10,000,000.
Health and death
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, dying at her Manhattan home on July 15, where she chose to spend her final days. She is survived by husband Frank Basile and her sons and grandchildren.
|1946||Three Little Girls in Blue||Miriam Harrington|
|1947||Carnival in Costa Rica||Celeste|
|1947||Gentleman's Agreement||Anne Dettrey|
|1948||Road House||Susie Smith|
|1948||The Snake Pit||Grace|
|1949||Chicken Every Sunday||Emily Hefferan|
|1949||A Letter to Three Wives||Addie Ross (voice, uncredited)|
|1949||Come to the Stable||Sister Scholastica|
|1949||Everybody Does It||Doris Blair Borland|
|1950||Champagne for Caesar||Flame O'Neill|
|1950||All About Eve||Karen|
|1955||The Tender Trap||Sylvia Crewes|
|1956||High Society||Liz Imbrie|
|1962||Bachelor Flat||Helen Bushmill|
|1963||Hailstones and Halibut Bones||Narrator (voice)||Short film|
|1967||Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding!||Louise Halloran|
|1973||Tom Sawyer||Aunt Polly|
|1977||The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover||Florence Hollister|
|1987||Three Men and a Baby||Mrs. Holden|
|1989||Nora's Christmas Gift||Nora Richards||Video|
|2012||Driving Me Crazy||Mrs. Ginsberg|
|2013||College Debts||Grandma GG||Completed|
|1950||All Star Revue||Guest Actress||Episode "1.6"|
|1951||Lux Video Theatre||Eliza
|Episode: "The Pacing Goose"
Episode: "Second Sight"
|1952||Schlitz Playhouse||Episode: "Four's a Family"|
|1952||Lux Video Theatre||Katherine Case||Episode: "The Bargain"|
|1953||Lux Video Theatre||Miss Prynne||Episode: "Lost Sunday"|
|1953||Hollywood Opening Night||Episode: "Mrs. Genius"|
|1953||Your Jeweler's Showcase||Episode: "Heart's Desire"|
|1954||Honestly, Celeste!||Celeste Anders||TV series|
|1955||The United States Steel Hour||Madge Collins||Episode: "The Bogey Man"|
|1956||Climax!||Mary Miller||Episode: "The Empty Room Blues"|
|1956||Sneak Preview||TV series|
|1956||Carolyn||Carolyn Daniels||TV movie|
|1956||The Steve Allen Show||Mad Meggie||Episode: "2.8"|
|1956||Producers' Showcase||Mad Meggie||Episode: "Jack and the Beanstalk"|
|1957||Schlitz Playhouse||Lettie Morgan||Episode: "The Wedding Present"|
|1957||Goodyear Playhouse||Maggie Travis||Episode: "The Princess Back Home"|
|1957||Zane Grey Theater||Sarah Kimball||Episode: "Fugitive"|
|1957||The Yeoman of the Guard||Phoebe Meryll||TV movie|
|1960||Art Carney Special||Episode: "The Man in the Dog Suit"|
|1960||The Christophers||Episode: "Women of the Bible"|
|1961||Play of the Week||Virginia||Episode: "A Clearing in the Woods"|
|1962||Follow the Sun||Miss Bullfinch||Episode: "The Irresistible Miss Bullfinch"|
|1962||Checkmate||Laraine Whitman||Episode: "So Beats My Plastic Heart"|
|1962||Alcoa Premiere||Laura Bennett||Episode: "Cry Out in Silence"|
|1963||Dr. Kildare||Nurse Jane Munson||Episode: "The Pack Rat and Prima Donna"|
|1963||Burke's Law||Helen Forsythe||Episode: "Who Killed the Kind Doctor?"|
|1964||The Eleventh Hour||Billie Hamilton||Episode "How Do I Say I Love You?"|
|1965||Mr. Novak||Rose Herrod||Episode: "An Elephant Is Like a Tree"|
|1965||Cinderella||Fairy Godmother||TV movie|
|1965||Run for Your Life||Margot Horst||Episode: "The Cold, Cold War of Paul Bryan"|
|1965||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Mrs. Fuller||4 episodes|
|1965||The Fugitive||Flo Hagerman||Episode: "The Old Man Picked a Lemon"|
|1966||The Long Hot Summer||Libby Rankin||Episode: "Face of Fear"|
|1966||Meet Me in St. Louis||Mrs. Smith||TV movie|
|1967||The Fugitive||Pearl Patton||Episode: "Concrete Evidence"|
|1967||The F.B.I.||Flo Clementi||Episode: "The Executioners: Part 1"
Episode: "The Executioners: Part 2"
|1967||Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the FBI||Flo Clementi||TV movie|
|1967||Insight||Mrs. Berns||Episode: "Fat Hands and a Diamond Ring"|
|1970||The Name of the Game||Irene Comdon||Episode: "The Brass Ring"|
|1970||Swing Out, Sweet Land||Nancy Lincoln||TV movie|
|1972||The Delphi Bureau||Sybil Van Loween||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1973||Medical Center||Dr. Linda Wilson||Episode: "No Margin for Error"|
|1974||Medical Center||Geraldine Stern||Episode: "Web of Intrigue"|
|1974||The Streets of San Francisco||Mrs. Shaninger||Episode: "Crossfire"|
|1974||The Underground Man||Beatrice Broadhurst||TV movie|
|1974||Death Cruise||Elizabeth Mason||TV movie|
|1974||The Manhunter||Episode: "The Truck Murders"|
|1976||The American Woman: Portraits of Courage||Elizabeth Cady Stanton||TV movie|
|1976||Captains and the Kings||Sister Angela||TV miniseries|
|1976||Columbo||Mrs. Brandt||Episode: "Old Fashioned Murder"|
|1977||The Love Boat II||Eva McFarland||TV movie|
|1977||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Episode: "The Bluegrass Special"|
|1977||Wonder Woman||Dolly Tucker||Episode: "I Do, I Do"|
|1978||Lucan||Episode: "You Can't Have My Baby"|
|1978||Fantasy Island||Mabel Jarvis||Episode: "The Beachcomber/The Last Whodunnit"|
|1979||Fantasy Island||Sister Veronica||Episode: "The Look Alikes/Winemaker"|
|1979||Backstairs at the White House||Mrs. Florence Harding||TV miniseries|
|1979||Trapper John, M.D.||Claudia||Episode: "The Shattered Image"|
|1979||The Love Boat||Estelle Castlewood||1 episode|
|1981||Midnight Lace||Sylvia Randall||TV movie|
|1981||As the World Turns||Lauren Roberts||TV series|
|1981||Archie Bunker's Place||Estelle Harris||4 episodes|
|1982||American Playhouse||Celebrity||Episode: "The Shady Hill Kidnapping"|
|1982||Trapper John, M.D.||Lillie Townsend||Episode: "Don't Rain on My Charade"|
|1983||Archie Bunker's Place||Estelle Harris||Episode: "Three Women"|
|1983||This Girl for Hire||Zandra Stoneham||TV movie|
|1984||Jessie||Molly Hayden||TV movie|
|1984||Jessie||Molly Hayden||6 episodes|
|1984||The Love Boat||Florence Flanders||1 episode|
|1985||Matt Houston||Katherine Hershey||Episode: "Company Secrets"|
|1985||Falcon Crest||Anna Rossini||6 episodes|
|1987||Murder by the Book||Claire||TV movie|
|1987||Magnum, P.I.||Abigail Baldwin||Episode: "The Love That Lies"|
|1988||Spenser: For Hire||Rose||Episode: "Haunting"|
|1989||CBS Summer Playhouse||Samantha Orbison||Episode: "Road Show"|
|1989||Polly||Miss Snow||TV movie|
|1989-1990||Christine Cromwell||Samantha Cromwell||4 episodes|
|1990||Polly: Comin' Home!||Miss Snow||TV movie|
|1991-1992||Loving||Isabella Alden||TV series|
|1992||Cheers||Grandmother Gaines||Episode: "No Rest for the Woody"|
|1995||Great Performances||Episode: "Talking With"|
|1996||Home of the Brave||Hattie Greene||TV movie|
|1996||Once You Meet a Stranger||Clara||TV movie|
|1996-1999||Promised Land||Hattie Greene||67 episodes|
|1996||Touched by an Angel||Hattie Greene||Episode: "Promised Land"|
|1997||Touched by an Angel||Hattie Greene||Episode: "The Road Home: Part 1"
Episode: "Amazing Grace: Part 2"
|1998||Touched by an Angel||Hattie Greene||Episode: "Vengeance Is Mine: Part 1"|
|2000||The Beat||Frances Robinson||13 episodes|
|2002||Third Watch||Florence||Episode: "Transformed"|
|2004||Whoopi||Diana||Episode: "The Squatters"|
|1940||The Time of Your Life||Mary L|
|1940||The Return of the Vagabond||His Daughter|
|1941||Eight O'Clock Tuesday||Marcia Godden|
|1941||My Fair Ladies||Lady Keith-Odlyn|
|1942||Papa Is All||Emma|
|1942||All the Comforts of Home||Fifi Oritanski|
|1942||The Damask Cheek||Calla Longstreth|
|1943||Oklahoma!||Ado Annie Carnes|
|1950||Affairs of State||Irene Elliott|
|1951||The King and I||Anna Leonowens||Replacement|
|1952||Anna Christie||Anna Christopherson|
|1954||His and Hers||Maggie Palmer|
|1958||Third Best Sport||Helen Sayre|
|1960||Invitation to a March||Camilla Jablonski|
|1974||Habeas Corpus||Lady Rumpers|
|1979||The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall||Julia Faysle|
|1991||I Hate Hamlet||Lilian Troy|
- Obituary: Celeste Holm, Daily Telegraph, 15 July 2012
- 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.
- "Ridder av St. Olav", Aftenposten, morning edition 21. May 1979, p. 10.
- "SunDeis 2006". SunDeis Film Festival web site. Archived from the original on 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
- Celeste Holm profile at www.superiorpics.com
- Leland, John (2011-07-02). "Love and Inheritance: A Family Feud". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- Holm profile at www.superiorpics.com
- Staff writers (1952-05-12). "Births, deaths, marriages, divorces". Time. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- Jones, Kenneth (2004-04-30). "December Bride: Shocking Guests, Celeste Holm Marries Beau at 85th Birthday Party". Playbill.
- Leland, John (2011-07-02). "Love and Inheritance - Celeste Holm's Family Feud". The New York Times.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Celeste Holm|
- Celeste Holm at the Internet Broadway Database
- Celeste Holm at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Celeste Holm at the Internet Movie Database
- Celeste Holm at the TCM Movie Database
- Portrait of Celeste Holm and Wesley Addy by Margaret Holland Sargent
- Obituary at We Love Soaps