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Celeste Holm (born April 29, 1917) is an American stage, film, and television actress, known for her Academy Award-winning performance in Gentleman's Agreement (1947), as well as for her Oscar-nominated performance in All About Eve (1950).

Early life

Born in New York Citymarker, Holm grew up in New York, New Yorkmarker as an only child. Her mother, Jean Parke, was an American portrait artist and author, while her father, Theodor Holm, was a Norwegian insurance adjuster for Lloyd's of Londonmarker. Holm studied acting at the University of Chicagomarker before becoming a stage actress in the late 1930s following a brief first marriage, which produced her first child, son Ted Nelson.

Career

Holm's first professional theatrical role was in a production of Hamlet starring Leslie Howard. Holm's first major Broadway part was as Mary L. in William Saroyan's 1940 revival of The Time of Your Life costarring fellow newcomer Gene Kelly (her first role on Broadwaymarker was a small part in 1938 comedy Gloriana, which lasted five performances). The role which got her the most recognition from critics and audiences was as Ado Annie in the flagship production of Rodgers & 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, and in 1947 she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in Gentleman's Agreement. After her performance in All About Eve, however, Holm realized she preferred live theater to movie work, and took on few film roles over the following decade. The most successful of these were the comedy The Tender Trap (1955) and the musical High Society (1956), both co-starring Holm with Frank Sinatra. Holm starred as a professor-turned-reporter in New York Citymarker in the CBS television series Honestly, Celeste! (fall 1954) and was thereafter a panelist on Who Pays? (1959). She starred as a reporter in an unsold television show pilot called The Celeste Holm Show in 1958, based on the book No Facilities for Women.

In 1965, she starred alongside Lesley Ann Warren as the Fairy Godmother in the CBS production of Cinderella. In 1970-1971 season, she was featured on NBC's 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, Three Men and a Baby and in television series (often as a guest star) such as Columbo, The Eleventh Hour, and Jane Wyman's Falcon Crest. In 1979, she played the role of First Lady "Florence Harding" in the television mini-series, "Backstairs at the White House." In the 1990s, Holm was a series regular on the ABC soap opera Loving as Isabella Alden #2 (1991-1992) and the CBS primetime series Promised Land (1996-1999).

In 1983, Holm starred in a Londonmarker revival of Lady in the Dark.

Celeste Holm has received many honors in her lifetime: the 1968 Sarah Siddons Award for distinguished achievement in Chicago theatre; she was appointed to the National Arts Council by then-President Ronald Reagan, knighted by King Olav of Norwaymarker, and inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1992. She remains active for social causes as a spokesperson for UNICEF, and for occasional professional engagements. Since 1995 she has been Chairman of the Board of Arts Horizons, a not-for-profit arts-in-education organization.

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

Private life

Attending the Academy Awards in 1988
Holm's first marriage was to Ralph Nelson around 1938. Their son is the Internet pioneer Ted Nelson.

She married Francis E. Davies, a Roman Catholic for whom she was received into the Roman Catholic church for the purposes of their 1940 wedding. They divorced shortly thereafter.

From 1946 until 1952, she was married to airline executive A. Schuyler Dunning, with whom she had a second son, Daniel Dunning.

Holm was married to fellow actor Wesley Addy from 1966 until his death in 1996. It was her longest marriage. They had no children. They played a married couple on Loving.

On April 29, 2004, her 87th birthday, she married opera singer Frank Basile.

In 2006, Holm was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis Universitymarker.

Filmography

Upcoming:
  • Driving Me Crazy (2009)
  • My Guaranteed Student Loan (2009)


References



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