Celeste Holm

Celeste Holm

Celeste in 1955
Born (1917-04-29)April 29, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died July 15, 2012(2012-07-15) (aged 95)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Alma mater University of Chicago
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1937–2012
Spouse(s) Ralph Nelson
(m. 1936–1939; divorced)
Francis Davies
(m. 1940–1945; divorced)
A. Schuyler Dunning
(m. 1946–1953; divorced)
Wesley Addy
(m. 1961–1996; his death)
Frank Basile
(m. 2004–2012; her death)
Children 2
Parent(s) Theodor Holm
Jean Parke
Website Celeste Holm Official Website

Celeste Holm (April 29, 1917 – July 15, 2012) was an American stage, film and television actress.[1]

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).[1]

Early life

Born and raised in Manhattan, 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 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.[2] 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).


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

A life member of The Actors Studio,[3] 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,[4] 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 1995, Holm's was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.[5]

In 2006, Holm was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University.[6]

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

Attending the Academy Awards in 1988

Health and death

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.[8]

In June 2012, Holm was admitted to New York's Roosevelt Hospital with dehydration. She suffered a heart attack on July 13, 2012 in the facility. She died at her Central Park West apartment on July 15, 2012.[1]

She was survived by husband Frank Basile and her sons and grandchildren.[14][15][16]



Year Title Role Notes
1946 Three Little Girls in Blue Miriam Harrington
1947 Carnival in Costa Rica Celeste
Gentleman's Agreement Anne Dettrey 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)
1948 Road House Susie Smith
Snake Pit, TheThe Snake Pit Grace
1949 Chicken Every Sunday Emily Hefferan
A Letter to Three Wives Addie Ross (voice, uncredited)
Come to the Stable Sister Scholastica Nominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Everybody Does It Doris Blair Borland
1950 Champagne for Caesar Flame O'Neill
All About Eve Karen Nominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1955 Tender Trap, TheThe 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
1976 Bittersweet Love Marian
1977 Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, TheThe Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover Florence Hollister
1987 Three Men and a Baby Mrs. Holden
1989 Nora's Christmas Gift Nora Richards video
1997 Still Breathing Ida
2005 Alchemy Iris
2012 Driving Me Crazy Mrs. Ginsberg
2013 College Debts Grandma GG Completed


Year Title Role Notes
1950 All Star Revue Guest Actress Episode "1.6"
1951 Lux Video Theatre Eliza
Margaret Best
Episode: "The Pacing Goose"
Episode: "Second Sight"
1952 Schlitz Playhouse Episode: "Four's a Family"
Lux Video Theatre Katherine Case Episode: "The Bargain"
1953 Lux Video Theatre Miss Prynne Episode: "Lost Sunday"
Hollywood Opening Night Episode: "Mrs. Genius"
Your Jeweler's Showcase Episode: "Heart's Desire"
1954 Honestly, Celeste! Celeste Anders TV series
1955 United States Steel Hour, TheThe United States Steel Hour Madge Collins Episode: "The Bogey Man"
1956 Climax! Mary Miller Episode: "The Empty Room Blues"
Sneak Preview TV series
Carolyn Carolyn Daniels TV movie
Steve Allen Show, TheThe Steve Allen Show Mad Meggie Episode: "2.8"
Producers' Showcase Mad Meggie Episode: "Jack and the Beanstalk"
1957 Schlitz Playhouse Lettie Morgan Episode: "The Wedding Present"
Goodyear Playhouse Maggie Travis Episode: "The Princess Back Home"
Zane Grey Theater Sarah Kimball Episode: "Fugitive"
Yeoman of the Guard, TheThe Yeoman of the Guard Phoebe Meryll TV movie
1960 Art Carney Special Episode: "The Man in the Dog Suit"
Christophers, TheThe 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"
Checkmate Laraine Whitman Episode: "So Beats My Plastic Heart"
Alcoa Premiere Laura Bennett Episode: "Cry Out in Silence"
1963 Dr. Kildare Nurse Jane Munson Episode: "The Pack Rat and Prima Donna"
Burke's Law Helen Forsythe Episode: "Who Killed the Kind Doctor?"
1964 Eleventh Hour, TheThe Eleventh Hour Billie Hamilton Episode "How Do I Say I Love You?"
1965 Mr. Novak Rose Herrod Episode: "An Elephant Is Like a Tree"
Cinderella Fairy Godmother TV movie
Run for Your Life Margot Horst Episode: "The Cold, Cold War of Paul Bryan"
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Mrs. Fuller 4 episodes
Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive Flo Hagerman Episode: "The Old Man Picked a Lemon"
1966 Long Hot Summer, TheThe Long Hot Summer Libby Rankin Episode: "Face of Fear"
Meet Me in St. Louis Mrs. Smith TV movie
1967 Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive Pearl Patton Episode: "Concrete Evidence"
F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I. Flo Clementi Episode: "The Executioners: Part 1"
Episode: "The Executioners: Part 2"
Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the FBI Flo Clementi TV movie
Insight Mrs. Berns Episode: "Fat Hands and a Diamond Ring"
1970 Name of the Game, TheThe Name of the Game Irene Comdon Episode: "The Brass Ring"
Swing Out, Sweet Land Nancy Lincoln TV movie
1970–1971 Nancy Abigail 17 episodes
1972 Delphi Bureau, TheThe 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"
Streets of San Francisco, TheThe Streets of San Francisco Mrs. Shaninger Episode: "Crossfire"
Underground Man, TheThe Underground Man Beatrice Broadhurst TV movie
Death Cruise Elizabeth Mason TV movie
Manhunter, TheThe Manhunter Episode: "The Truck Murders"
1976 American Woman: Portraits of Courage, TheThe American Woman: Portraits of Courage Elizabeth Cady Stanton TV movie
Captains and the Kings Sister Angela TV miniseries
Columbo Mrs. Brandt Episode: Old Fashioned Murder
1977 Love Boat II, TheThe Love Boat II Eva McFarland TV movie
The Wonderful World of Disney Episode: "The Bluegrass Special"
Wonder Woman Dolly Tucker Episode: "I Do, I Do"
1978 Lucan Episode: "You Can't Have My Baby"
Fantasy Island Mabel Jarvis Episode: "The Beachcomber/The Last Whodunnit"
1979 Fantasy Island Sister Veronica Episode: "The Look Alikes/Winemaker"
Backstairs at the White House Mrs. Florence Harding TV miniseries
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special
Trapper John, M.D. Claudia Episode: "The Shattered Image"
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Estelle Castlewood Episode: "A Good and Faithful Servant/The Secret Life of Burl Smith/Tug of War/Designated Lover"
1981 Midnight Lace Sylvia Randall TV movie
As the World Turns Lauren Roberts TV series
Archie Bunker's Place Estelle Harris Episode: "Growing Up is Hard to Do"
Episode: "Custody"
1982 American Playhouse Celebrity Episode: "The Shady Hill Kidnapping"
Trapper John, M.D. Lillie Townsend Episode: "Don't Rain on My Charade"
1983 Archie Bunker's Place Estelle Harris Episode: "Three Women"
This Girl for Hire Zandra Stoneham TV movie
1984 Jessie Molly Hayden TV movie
Jessie Molly Hayden
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Florence Flanders Episode: "Buck Stops Here, The/For Better or Worse/Bet on It"
1985 Matt Houston Katherine Hershey Episode: "Company Secrets"
Falcon Crest Anna Rossini 6 episodes
1987 Murder by the Book Claire TV movie
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"
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
Once You Meet a Stranger Clara TV movie
Touched by an Angel Hattie Greene Episode: "Promised Land"
1996–1999 Promised Land Hattie Greene 67 episodes
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 Beat, TheThe Beat Frances Robinson 13 episodes
2002 Third Watch Florence Episode: "Transformed"
2004 Whoopi Diana Episode: "The Squatters"


Year Title Role Notes
1938 Gloriana Lady Mary
1940 Time of Your Life, TheThe Time of Your Life Mary L
1940 Another Sun Maria
1940 Return of the Vagabond, TheThe 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 Damask Cheek, TheThe Damask Cheek Calla Longstreth
1943 Oklahoma! Ado Annie Carnes
1944 Bloomer Girl Evalina
1950 Affairs of State Irene Elliott
1951 King and I, TheThe King and I Anna Leonowens Replacement
1952 Anna Christie Anna Christopherson
1954 His and Hers Maggie Palmer
1958 Interlock Mrs. Price
1958 Third Best Sport Helen Sayre
1960 Invitation to a March Camilla Jablonski
1967 Mame Mame Dennis Replacement
1970 Candida Candida
1974 Habeas Corpus Lady Rumpers
1979 Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall, TheThe Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall Julia Faysle
1991 I Hate Hamlet Lilian Troy
1994 Allegro Grandma Taylor


Year Title Role Notes
1946 Guest on Bob Crosby Show[17]
1950 Everybody Does It Episode of Screen Guild Theater[18]
1952 Up in Central Park Episode of Music In the Air[19]
1952 Foreign Affairs Episode of Screen Guild Theater[20]
1953 Cluny Brown Episode of Star Playhouse[21]
1976 Afterward Episode of CBS Radio Mystery Theater[22]


  1. 1 2 3 Anita Gates (July 15, 2012). "Celeste Holm, Witty Character Actress, Is Dead at 95". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-23. Celeste Holm, the New York-born actress who made an indelible Broadway impression as an amorous country girl in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!," earned an Academy Award as the knowing voice of tolerance in "Gentleman's Agreement" and went on to a six-decade screen and stage career, frequently cast as the wistful or brittle sophisticate, died early Sunday at her apartment in Manhattan. She was 95. Her death was announced by Amy Phillips, a great-niece. Ms. Holm had a heart attack at Roosevelt Hospital in New York last week while being treated there for dehydration, but she was taken home on Friday.
  2. Obituary: Celeste Holm, Daily Telegraph, 15 July 2012
  3. 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.
  4. "Ridder av St. Olav", Aftenposten, morning edition 21. May 1979, p. 10.
  5. "SAHF Inductees". hostfest.com. Norsk Høstfest. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  6. "SunDeis 2006". SunDeis Film Festival web site. Archived from the original on 2006-09-10. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  7. Celeste Holm profile at www.superiorpics.com
  8. 1 2 3 John Leland (July 2, 2011). "Love and Inheritance: A Family Feud". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
  9. Holm profile at www.superiorpics.com
  10. Staff writers (1952-05-12). "Births, deaths, marriages, divorces". Time. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  11. via Associated Press. "Celeste Holm, Oscar-winning actress, dies at 95", Express-Times, July 15, 2012. Accessed October 22, 2015. "Celeste Holm married her fourth husband, actor Robert Wesley Addy, in 1966. The couple lived in Washington Township., Morris County, N.J."
  12. Summary of Preserved Farms - EG Jewett / Holm Farm, Morris County Agriculture Development Board, October 12, 2012. Accessed October 22, 2015. "Owned since 1922 by the family of actress Celeste Holm, this large farm atop Schooley's Mountain is in wheat and tree fruit production."
  13. Jones, Kenneth (2004-04-30). "December Bride: Shocking Guests, Celeste Holm Marries Beau at 85th Birthday Party". Playbill.
  14. "Oscar-Winning Actress Celeste Holm Dies At 95". Huffington Post. July 15, 2012.
  15. http://todayentertainment.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/15/12752807-oscar-winning-actress-celeste-holm-dies-at-95?lite
  16. "Fire At Robert De Niro's NYC Apartment; No Injuries". Huffington Post. June 9, 2012.
  17. "Celeste Holm on Bob Crosby Show". Harrisburg Telegraph. January 26, 1946. p. 15. Retrieved May 7, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  18. "On The Air". The Gazette and Daily. March 2, 1950. p. 20. Retrieved May 8, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  19. "Dial Chatter". The La Crosse Tribune. May 11, 1952. p. 18. Retrieved May 8, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  20. "(radio listing)". The Decatur Daily Review. May 4, 1952. p. 50. Retrieved May 8, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  21. Kirby, Walter (November 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 7, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  22. "CBS Radio Mystery Theater". Santa Ana Register. February 26, 1976. p. 19. Retrieved May 7, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
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