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Celeste Holm
Holm in 1955
Born(1917-04-29)April 29, 1917
DiedJuly 15, 2012(2012-07-15) (aged 95)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1937–2012
(m. 1936; div. 1939)
Francis Davies
(m. 1940; div. 1945)
A. Schuyler Dunning
(m. 1946; div. 1953)
(m. 1961; died 1996)
Frank Basile
(m. 2004)
Children2, including Ted Nelson
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Hollywood Walk of Fame

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 Elia Kazan's Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and was nominated for her roles in Come to the Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). She also is known for her performances in The Snake Pit (1948), A Letter to Three Wives (1949), and High Society (1956). She is also known for originating the role of Ado Annie in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! (1943).[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Celeste Holm - Actress, Singer and Storyteller
  • Celeste Holm on Grace Kelly - High Society - TCM Word of Mouth
  • What's My Line? - Celeste Holm; Tony Randall [panel] (Jan 4, 1959)
  • Anne Baxter Talks All About Bette Davis


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.[2] Because of her parents' occupations, she traveled often during her youth and attended various schools in the Netherlands, France and the United States. She began high school at the University School for Girls in Chicago, and then transferred to the Francis W. Parker School (Chicago) where she performed in many school stage productions and graduated as a member of the class of 1935. She then studied drama at the University of Chicago before becoming a stage actress in the late 1930s.[1]


Celeste Holm in Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

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. For her role in Gentleman's Agreement (1947), she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.[3] However, after another supporting role in All About Eve, 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 ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.[4][better source needed]

Charlotte Sheffield, Maria Schell, and Celeste Holm entertain guests at a dinner to-night, 1958

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. 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.

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. Holm also starred in the musical The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall, which flopped after a single performance (and seven previews) on Broadway. In December 1981 Holm appeared in the lead role in the British premiere of Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark at the Nottingham Playhouse.[5] 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,[6] 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 Theater Hall of Fame in 1992.[2] 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 was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.[7]

In 2006, Holm was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University.[8]

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 unaired 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

Holm's first marriage was at age 19 to Ralph Nelson in 1936.[9] The marriage ended in 1939. Their son is Internet pioneer and sociologist Ted Nelson.[10]

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.[9]

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.[11]

In 1961, Holm married actor Wesley Addy. The couple lived together on her family farm in Washington Township, Morris County, New Jersey. He died in 1996.[12][13][14]

Holm in 1999

On April 29, 2004, her 87th birthday, Holm married opera singer Frank Basile, who was 41 years old.[15] The couple had met in October 1999 at a fundraiser for which Basile had been 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, 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 had purchased for $10,000 cash in 1953 from her film earnings, and which in 2011 was believed to be worth at least $10,000,000.[10]

Health and death

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

In June 2012, Holm was admitted to New York's Roosevelt Hospital with dehydration, where she suffered a heart attack on July 13, 2012; she died two days later at her Central Park West apartment, aged 95.[1][2][16]



Year Title Role Notes
1946 Three Little Girls in Blue Miriam Harrington
1947 Carnival in Costa Rica Celeste
Gentleman's Agreement Anne Dettrey Oscar: Best Supporting Actress
1948 The Snake Pit Grace
Road House Susie Smith
1949 Chicken Every Sunday Emily Hefferan
A Letter to Three Wives Addie Ross (voice) Uncredited
Come to the Stable Sister Scholastica
Everybody Does It Doris Blair Borland
1950 Champagne for Caesar Flame O'Neill
All About Eve Karen Richards
1955 The Tender Trap Sylvia Crewes
1956 High Society Liz Imbrie
1961 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 Lewis
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 Direct-to-video
1997 Still Breathing Ida, Fletcher's Grand Mother
2005 Alchemy Iris
2012 Driving Me Crazy Mrs. Ginsberg
2013 College Debts Grandma GG Final film role


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 Lettie Morgan 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 8 episodes
1955 The United States Steel Hour Madge Collins Episode: "The Bogey Man"
1956 Climax! Mary Miller Episode: "The Empty Room Blues"
Sneak Preview Carolyn Daniels Episode: "Carolyn"
The 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"
The Yeoman of the Guard Phoebe Meryll TV movie
1960 The Art Carney Special Episode: "The Man in the Dog Suit"
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Lawn Party Hostess (uncredited) Season 5 Episode 35: "The Schartz-Metterklume Method"
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"
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 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"
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
The Fugitive Flo Hagerman Episode: "The Old Man Picked a Lemon"
1966 The Long Hot Summer Libby Rankin Episode: "Face of Fear"
Meet Me in St. Louis Mrs. Smith TV movie
1967 The Fugitive Pearl Patton Episode: "Concrete Evidence"
The 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 The Name of the Game Irene Comdon Episode: "The Brass Ring"
Swing Out, Sweet Land Nancy Lincoln TV movie
1970–71 Nancy Abigail 17 episodes
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"
The Streets of San Francisco Mrs. Shaninger Episode: "Crossfire"
The Underground Man Beatrice Broadhurst TV movie
Death Cruise Elizabeth Mason Television Movie
The Manhunter Clara Calvert Episode: "The Truck Murders"
1976 The 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 The Love Boat II Eva McFarland TV movie
The Wonderful World of Disney Deirdre Wainwright 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
Trapper John, M.D. Claudia Episode: "The Shattered Image"
The Love Boat Estelle Castlewood 2 episodes
1981 Midnight Lace Sylvia Randall TV movie
As the World Turns Lauren Roberts TV series
1981–83 Archie Bunker's Place Estelle Harris 5 episodes
1982 American Playhouse Celebrity Episode: "The Shady Hill Kidnapping"
Trapper John, M.D. Lillie Townsend Episode: "Don't Rain on My Charade"
1983 This Girl for Hire Zandra Stoneham TV movie
1984 Jessie Molly Hayden 6 episodes
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
1989–90 Christine Cromwell Samantha Cromwell 4 episodes
1990 Polly: Comin' Home! Miss Snow TV movie
1991–92 Loving Isabelle Alden 52 episodes
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"
1996–99 Promised Land Hattie Greene 67 episodes
1997 Touched by an Angel Hattie Greene 2 episodes
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"


Year Title Role Venue
1938 Gloriana Lady Mary Little Theatre, Broadway
1940 The Time of Your Life Mary L Booth Theatre, Broadway
1940 Another Sun Maria National Theatre, Broadway
1940 The Return of the Vagabond His Daughter
1941 Eight O'Clock Tuesday Marcia Godden Henry Miller's Theatre, Broadway
1941 My Fair Ladies Lady Keith-Odlyn Hudson Theatre, Broadway
1942 Papa Is All Emma Guild Theatre, Broadway
1942 All the Comforts of Home Fifi Oritanski Longacre Theatre, Broadway
1942 The Damask Cheek Calla Longstreth Playhouse Theatre, Broadway
1943 Oklahoma! Ado Annie Carnes St. James Theatre, Broadway
1944 Bloomer Girl Evalina Shubert Theatre, Broadway
1950 Affairs of State Irene Elliott Music Box Theatre, Broadway
1951 The King and I Anna Leonowens
St. James Theatre, Broadway
1952 Anna Christie Anna Christopherson Lyceum Theatre, Broadway
1954 His and Hers Maggie Palmer 48th Street Theatre, Broadway
1958 Interlock Mrs. Price ANTA Theatre, Broadway
1958 Third Best Sport Helen Sayre Ambassador Theatre, Broadway
1960 Invitation to a March Camilla Jablonski Music Box Theatre, Broadway
1967 Mame Mame Dennis
Broadway Theatre, Broadway
1970 Candida Candida Longacre Theatre, Broadway
1973 The Irregular Verb To Love Hedda Rankin The Pocono Playhouse, PA
1975 Light Up The Sky Ford's Theatre, Washington, DC
1975 Habeas Corpus Lady Rumpers Martin Beck Theatre, Broadway
1979 The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall Julia Faysle Mark Hellinger Theatre, Broadway
1983 Hay Fever Judith Bliss Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
1988 The Show Off Mrs. Fisher Williamstown Theatre, MA
1990 The Cocktail Hour Philadelphia Theatre Company
1991 I Hate Hamlet Lilian Troy Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway
1994 Allegro Grandma Taylor New York City Center
1994 Love Letters Melissa Gardner Williamstown Theatre, MA


Year Title Notes Ref.
1946 The Bob Crosby Show Guest [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]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1947 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Gentleman's Agreement Won [23]
1949 Come to the Stable Nominated [24]
1950 All About Eve Nominated [25]
1987 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series Loving Nominated [26]
1968 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Programming – Individuals Insight Nominated [27]
1979 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Special Backstairs at the White House Nominated
1947 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Gentleman's Agreement Won [28]
1947 New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Nominated [29]

In 1960, Holm received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her work in Motion Pictures located at 1500 Vine Street, and the other for her work on Television at the location 6821 Hollywood Blvd.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d Gates, Anita (July 15, 2012). "Celeste Holm, Witty Character Actress, Is Dead at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 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. ^ a b c Kennedy, Mark (July 15, 2012). "Oscar-winning actress Celeste Holm dies at 95". NBC. Today. Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  3. ^ Obituary: Celeste Holm, London: The Daily Telegraph, July 15, 2012
  4. ^ "Pat Boone Chevy Showroom: November 28, 1957". Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  5. ^ Theatre programme: Lady in the Dark, Nottingham Playhouse, UK, December 9, 1981.
  6. ^ 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 978-0025426504.
  7. ^ "SAHF Inductees". Norsk Høstfest. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  8. ^ "SunDeis 2006". SunDeis Film Festival. Archived from the original on September 10, 2006. Retrieved October 29, 2007.
  9. ^ a b "Profile: Celeste Holm profile". Superiorpics. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Leland, John (July 2, 2011). "Love and Inheritance: A Family Feud". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  11. ^ "Births, deaths, marriages, divorces". Time. May 12, 1952. Archived from the original on March 12, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2008.
  12. ^ "Celeste Holm, Oscar-winning actress, dies at 95". The Express-Times. Easton, PA. Associated Press. July 15, 2012. Retrieved 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.
  13. ^ Summary of Preserved Farms – EG Jewett / Holm Farm[permanent dead link], Morris County Agriculture Development Board, October 12, 2012. Retrieved 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."
  14. ^ "Actress' farm to be saved from bulldozer". New Jersey Hills. July 17, 2003. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  15. ^ Jones, Kenneth (April 30, 2004). "December Bride: Shocking Guests, Celeste Holm Marries Beau at 85th Birthday Party". Playbill.
  16. ^ "Fire At Robert De Niro's NYC Apartment; No Injuries". The Oakland Press. June 8, 2012. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  17. ^ "Celeste Holm on Bob Crosby Show". Harrisburg Telegraph. January 26, 1946. p. 15. Retrieved May 7, 2015 – via Open access icon
  18. ^ "On The Air". The Gazette and Daily. York, PA. The Gazette and Daily. March 2, 1950. p. 20. Retrieved May 8, 2015 – via Open access icon
  19. ^ "Dial Chatter". The La Crosse Tribune. May 11, 1952. p. 18. Retrieved May 8, 2015 – via
  20. ^ "Radio Programs". The Decatur Daily Review. May 4, 1952. p. 50. Retrieved May 8, 2015 – via
  21. ^ Kirby, Walter (November 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 7, 2015 – via
  22. ^ "CBS Radio Mystery Theater". Santa Ana Register. February 26, 1976. p. 19. Retrieved May 7, 2015 – via
  23. ^ "The 20th Academy Awards (1948) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  24. ^ "The 22nd Academy Awards (1950) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  25. ^ "The 23rd Academy Awards (1951) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  26. ^ "Daytime Emmy Awards (1987)". IMDb. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  27. ^ "Celeste Holm". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  28. ^ "Celeste Holm – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  29. ^ "1947 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  30. ^ "Celeste Holm". Hollywood Walk of Fame. October 25, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2021.

External links

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