Hospitalized about two weeks ago with dehydration after a fire in her Manhattan apartment building, Oscar winner and Broadway star Celeste Holm died Sunday. She was 95. She had come home to spend her final days with her husband, Frank Basile, and other relatives and close friends by her side.
Holm had won an Academy Award in 1947 for best supporting actress for her performance in “Gentlemen’s Agreement.” She played fashion editor Anne Dettry. She had received Oscar nominations for “Come to the Stable” (1949) and “All About Eve” (1950).
Debuting on Broadway in 1939’s “The Time of Your Life”, her career took off four years later, when she played Ado Annie “OKlahoma!,” which was a box-office smash.
She began her film career in 1945, after she toured Europe at the end of World War II entertaining troops with the USO, by signing on with Twentieth Century Fox. “Gentlemen’s Agreement” was Holm’s third film.
In 1949 Holm earned another best supporting actress Oscar nomination in which she was cast as a tennis-playing French nun in “Come to the Stable.”
In 1950 Holm was suspended briefly “for refusing other roles she felt were beneath her.” She feuded with Fox over what sort of roles were right for her. She came back later that year as Karen Richards in “All About Eve,” and was nominated again for as Oscar for best supporting actress. After “All About Eve” Holm bought out her Fox contract to return to Broadway, a maneuver unheard of at the time.
On television, however, she found more success. After appearing in “All Star Revue” in 1950, she had her own short-lived series “Honestly, Celeste!” in 1954. She played the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” in 1965.
Holm did something not many film stars do. She went the soap opera route. She was a regular on ABC’s “Loving,” appearing first in 1986 in the role of Lydia Woodhouse and again as Isabelle Dwyer Alden from 1991-92.
Memorial arrangements have yet to be announced.
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