Celeste Holm, Oscar-winning actress, dies at 95
Celeste Holm, an Broadway and film actress known for her roles in the "Oklahoma!" stage play and her Oscar-winning turn in "Gentleman's Agreement," died at the age of 95 on July 15.
According to the Associated Press, the actress died at 3:30 a.m. in her New York City apartment. She had been hospitalized two weeks ago with dehydration and had asked her husband, Frank Basile, to bring her home to spend her final days with friends and family.
"I think she wanted to be here, in her home, among her things, with people who loved her," Amy Phillips, a great-niece of Holm's, told the wire service.
Holm was born in New York on April 29, 1919. She was the daughter of Norwegian-born Theodore Holm, who worked for the American branch of Lloyd's of London, and Jean Parke Holm, a painter and writer.
Her first big role on Broadway was in 1939 in the cast of William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life." However, it was her role as Ado Annie Carnes in the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!" in 1943 gained her recognition.
Shortly after, Holm headed to the big screen and won the Academy Award in 1947 for best supporting actress for her performance in "Gentlemen's Agreement," which co-starred Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire. Holm also received Oscar nominations for "Come to the Stable" and "All About Eve".
The actress also had several roles on television including "Fantasy Island" and "Love Boat II."
Holm was also known for her charity work and she was a board member emeritus of the National Mental Health Association. Over the years, she raised $20,000 for UNICEF by charging 50 cents apiece for autographs. President Ronald Reagan appointed her to a six-year term on the National Council on the Arts in 1982. Holm was also once arrested during a vigorous protest against the demolition of several theaters.
Her later years were marred by bitter court battles with her two sons against her fifth husband.
Holm married Basile in 2004 and she was 45 years older than him. The court fight was over investments and inheritance. The legal battles wiped away much of her savings and left her dependent on Social Security.
The actress no longer spoke to her sons at the time of her death.
Holm was married five times and is survived by two sons and three grandchildren. Her first marriage was in 1938 to director Ralph Nelson. It lasted a year and the couple had a son, Theodor Holm Nelson. She then married an English auditor named Francis Davies in 1940. The two split in 1945 and in 1946, she married airline public relations executive A. Schuyler Dunning. She and Dunning had a son named Daniel Dunning.
Dunning and Holm split in 1952 and in 1961 she married actor Robert Wesley. Their marriage lasted until his death in 1996.