Celeste Holm (1917 - 2012)

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Celeste Holm
Born April 29, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died July 15, 2012 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA (heart attack)
Height 5' 5¾" (1.67 m)
Celeste Holm was an only child, born into a home where her mother was a painter and her father worked in insurance. She would study acting at the University of Chicago and make her stage debut in 1936. Her Broadway debut came when she was 19. She appeared in many successful plays, including "The Women", "Oklahoma!" and "Bloomer Girl". It was in the production of "Oklahoma!" that Celeste would sing the showstopper, "I Cain't Say No". She was signed by 20th Century Fox in 1946 and appeared in her first film, Three Little Girls in Blue (1946). With her third film, Gentleman's Agreement (1947), she would win the Supporting Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe. Celeste would be nominated twice more for Academy Awards in the Come to the Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). But, Celeste was a star who loved the stage so she left Hollywood, only to return for two MGM musicals in the 1950s. They were The Tender Trap (1955) and High Society (1956). In addition to her stage career, Celeste appeared on television in her own series, Honestly, Celeste! (1954) and as a panelist on Who Pays? (1959). In 1970, Celeste returned to television series as the chaperon to the president's daughter on Nancy (1970). For the next two decades, she would appear on television in regular series, miniseries and movies. Celeste Holm died at age 95 of a heart attack on July 15, 2012.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana
Spouse (5)
Frank Basile (29 April 2004 - 15 July 2012) ( her death)
Wesley Addy (22 May 1966 - 31 December 1996) ( his death)
Alexander Schuyler Dunning (21 March 1946 - 6 May 1953)
(divorced) ( 1 child)
Francis Emerson Harding Davies (7 January 1940 - 8 May 1945)
(divorced)
Ralph Nelson (11 September 1936 - 1939) ( divorced) (1 child)
Performed in five stage shows with George M. Cohan.
Turned down the 1977 Broadway revival of "Oklahoma!" when she realized she was wanted for Aunt Eller not Ado Annie.
Originated the role of boy-crazy Ado Annie, the girl who "cain't say no", in "Oklahoma!" on Broadway in the 1940s.
Won an undisclosed settlement from Pedro Almodóvar for his use of film footage of her from All About Eve (1950) without her permission in his film All About My Mother (1999); her contract from the film stipulated her image could not be used.
Was a spokesperson for UNICEF.
Her professional theatrical debut was in a production of "Hamlet", with Leslie Howard ("Ashley Wilkes" from Gone with the Wind (1939).
Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1992
Toured occasionally with her one-woman show, "An Intimate Evening with Celeste", in which she related stories from her long film career, followed by readings from writer Ruth Draper, until her retirement in 2009.
Was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor
Her father was an insurance adjuster for Lloyd's of London who emigrated from Norway to the US in 1909, and her mother a portrait artist and author.
Received an honorary degree from Seton Hall University in May 1991.
In 1957 King Olav V of Norway made her Knight 1st Class of the Order of St. Olav for her help in saving one of Norway's national treasures, the schooner "Christian Radich".
Her son Ted is an innovator in the information technology industry. It was Nelson who coined the term "hypertext", in the early 1960s.
In April 2006, Holm was presented with one of the first two Lifetime Achievement Awards ever awarded by the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University. (Margaret O'Brien received the other.).
Following her divorce from Ralph Nelson, Holm put her son Ted Nelson in the care of her parents in order to pursue her acting career. She saw him only in between breaks from shooting or rehearsals, but maintained a closer relationship with him when Ted became an adult.
Returned to work 6 months after giving birth to her son Daniel in order to begin filming Gentleman's Agreement (1947).
Met her fifth husband Frank Basile, 46 years her junior, at a fundraiser in October 1999.
Grandmother to David Dunning (b. 1981); they have been estranged since 2007.
Lived on Central Park West in Manhattan, New York City, in a co-op apartment she bought in 1953 for $10,000 cash.
She had confirmed that she no longer spoke to her sons following five years of litigation, which resulted in her losing $2 million in lawyer's fees (2 July 2011).
Was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2002.
Her youngest son Daniel lived with her until he was age 15 and then began attending boarding school.
(July 15, 2012) Early morning, she was admitted to New York's Roosevelt Hospital with dehydration and suffered a heart attack whilst in the facility. Holm died a few hours later.
She was a lifelong progressive Democrat.
She was cremated after her death.
Best remembered by the public for her role as Hattie Green on Promised Land (1996).
Was a Girl Scout.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 20, a son Theodor "Ted" Nelson on June 17, 1937. Child's father is her 1st ex-husband, Ralph Nelson.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 29, a son Daniel Schuyler Dunning on November 5, 1946. Child's father is her 3rd ex-husband, A. Schuyler Dunning.
Was the 29th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Gentleman's Agreement (1947) at The 20th Academy Awards on March 20, 1948.
She was nominated for the 2014 New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Arts and Entertainment Category.

Celeste Holm Biography & Family History

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Birth

in New York, New York USA

Death

on at Roosevelt Hospital, in New York, New York USA

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Timeline

1917 - In the year that Celeste Holm was born, Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari was convicted and executed as a German spy. Since Mata Hari, born Margaretha Geertruida "Margreet" MacLeod, was a citizen of the Netherlands (which remained neutral in World War 1), she could travel freely in Europe. Her travels (and her romantic entanglements) raised suspicion and she was arrested by the French and found guilty. There is still controversy about her guilt although her name has become synonymous with a seductive female spy.

1931 - By the time she was just 14 years old, on May 1st, the Empire State Building opened in New York City. At 1,454 feet (including the roof and antenna), it was the tallest building in the world until the World Trade Center's North Tower was built in 1970. (It is now the 34th tallest.) Opening at the beginning of the Great Depression, most of the offices in the Empire State Building remained unoccupied for years and the observation deck was an equal source of revenue and kept the building profitable.

1938 - She was 21 years old when on October 30th, a Sunday, The Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcast Orson Welles' special Halloween show The War of the World's. A clever take on H.G. Wells' novel, the show began with simulated "breaking news" of an invasion by Martians. Because of the realistic nature of the "news," there was a public outcry the next day, calling for regulation by the FCC. Although the current story is that many were fooled and panicked, in reality very few people were fooled. But the show made Orson Welles' career.

1981 - Celeste was 64 years old when on August 1st, MTV debuted. It was the first music video TV channel. The first music video played was the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" - the second was Pat Benatar's "You Better Run".

1982 - She was 65 years old when on June 30th, time ran out on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The Amendment had only received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. First sent to the states in 1972, the Amendment stated that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex".

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Celeste in 1955
Born April 29, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died July 15, 2012 (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 [Norwegian]
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.

Career
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. 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.

In 1965, she played the Fairy Godmother alongside Lesley Ann Warren in the CBS production of Cinderella.

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).

Honors
Accepting her Academy Award for Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
A life member of The Actors Studio, 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. [Amanda Stevenson arranged that.]

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

Personal life
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.
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.

From 1961 to 1996, she was married to actor Wesley Addy (1913–1996), until his death at age 83 in 1996. The couple lived together on her family farm in the Schooley's Mountain section of Washington Township, Morris County, New Jersey.

On April 29, 2004, her 87th birthday, Holm married opera singer Frank Basile, age 41. The couple met in October 1999 at a fundraiser for which Basile was 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 with her sons, 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 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.

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.

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.

She was survived by husband Frank Basile and her sons and grandchildren.

Work
Film
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
The 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 Richards Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1955 The 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 The 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

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