Oscar Winner Celeste Holm, 95

Celeste Holm, who won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance opposite Gregory Peck in Gentleman’s Agreement, died yesterday at her Manhattan apartment. She was 95.

Gentleman’s Agreement was Holm’s third film, though she came to Hollywood with a wealth of stage experience, including creating the role of Ado Annie for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! on Broadway. Even still, since he saw her as primarily a musical-comedy actress, 20th Century Fox head Darryl Zanuck had the actress undergo a screen test for the role opposite Gregory Peck in director Elia Kazan’s anti-Semitism drama.

The Oscar nomination lead to a number of high profile dramatic roles for Holm including opposite Olivia de Havilland in The Snake Pit (1948), a French nun in Come To The Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). For A Letter To Three Wives (1949), she supplied the voice of the unseen suburban femme fatale who had run off with the husband of one of the three titular women. But Holm did not abandon her musical comedy roots, appearing opposite Frank Sinatra in 1955’s The Tender Trap. The two revived their on-screen chemistry the following year in High Society with Sinatra’s tabloid reporter character oblivious to Holm’s photographer character’s romantic interest in him.

Holm continued to perform on stage in between her various movie roles. In the 1950s and ’60s she appeared in eight Broadway productions including in The King and I, Mame and Anna Christie. Her last Broadway appearance was in 1991’s I Hate Hamlet.

In addition to her film and stage work, Holm appeared on numerous television series in recurring roles on Archie Bunker’s Place, Falcon Crest and others.

More recently, she appeared as Ted Danson’s mother in the 1987 hit comedy Three Men And A Baby. Her last film appearance was in the 2005 indie romantic comedy Alchemy, though she had recently filmed roles for two films – Driving Me Crazy and College Debts – which have not been released yet.

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About Rich Drees 6949 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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