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"In the Spotlight"


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In the Spotlight: CELESTE HOLM




Celeste Holm (born April 29, 1917; some sources indicate 1919) in New York City, and grew up in Long Valley, New Jersey 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 London.

Holm studied acting at the University of Chicago before becoming a stage actress in the late 1930s following a brief first marriage.


Holm's first professional theatrical role was in a production of "Hamlet" starring Leslie Howard, and she quickly rose to prominence with her portrayal of Ado Annie in the original Broadway production of "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 her first two years as a film actress Holm cemented herself immediately as a formidable performer, especially when she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for best supporting actress in "Gentleman's Agreement".


After her famous Oscar nominated performance in "All About Eve", however, Holm realized she preferred live theater to movie work, and took on very few film roles over the following decade. The most successful of these were the comedy "The Tender Trap" and the musical "High Society" (1956), both co-starring Holm with Frank Sinatra. Holm starred in the short lived TV series "Honestly, Celeste!" and was a panelist on "Who Pays?" in 1959.


Her other films include, "Three Little Girls in Blue" (film debut), "Road House" with Ida Lupino, "The Snake Pit", "Chicken Every Sunday", "Come to the Stable" (Oscar nominee best support), "Everybody Does It" with Paul Douglas, "Champagne for Caesar" with Ronald Colman", etc.


Prominent on numerous television shows she starred alongside Lesley Ann Warren as the Fairy Godmother in the production of "Cinderella".

In the 1970s and 1980s, Holm returned more fully to screen acting, with roles in films such as "Tom Sawyer" as Aunt Polly, "Three Men and a Baby" and in television series (often as a guest star) such as "Columbo" and "Falcon Crest".

In the 1990s, Holm was a series regular on the ABC soap opera "Loving" and the CBS primetime series "Promised Land".


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 Norway, 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.


Holm's first marriage was to Ralph Nelson around 1938. Their son, Ted Nelson, is the co-creator of Hypertext. Holm and her son are reportedly estranged.

She married Francis E. Davies, a Roman Catholic (for whom she was received into the Roman Catholic church for the purposes of their wedding) in 1940, but 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 by far her longest marriage. They had no children. They played a married couple on "Loving".

On April 29, 2004, on her 85th (or 87th) birthday, she married 40 year old waiter and struggling opera singer, Frank Basile.


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


The octogenarian is still active and married to a man more than half her age.


She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


[on Bette Davis] "I walked onto the set of 'All About Eve' on the first day and said, 'Good Morning,' and do you know her reply? She said, 'Oh shi*', good manners'. I never spoke to her again - ever."

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Hi, Mongo! -- Thanks again for providing us with arguably the greatest thread on this board. Your work is greatly appreciated by me. It's very enlightening to this new classic film fan.


I just wanted to make sure to mention Celeste Holm's wonderful voiceover performance as "Addie Ross" in A Letter to Three Wives. I believe Holm's narration is the glue to what is a magnificent film. Her voice is so very beautiful and highly alluring. Her voice has me dying to see who Addie Ross is. I wanted to run off with her Siren call.

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Frank, thanks much for the plaudits regarding the thread. Glad to know that you continue to enjoy the profiles.

Thanks also for your input regarding "A Letter to Three Wives", although I had that info prepared to post:




An uncredited Celeste Holm provides the voice of Addie Ross, the unseen woman who authored the title letter.

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