Celeste Holm, the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” actress who was a star of both the Broadway stage and movies, passed away at her home in New York on Sunday at the age of 95, according to her niece, Amy Phillips.
CNN reports that Holm was admitted to New York’s Roosevelt Hospital about a week ago, but that her husband took her back home to Manhattan on Friday. Phillips stated:
“She passed peacefully in her home in her own bed with her husband and friends and family nearby.”
According to The Los Angeles Times, Holm’s career spanned more than 50 years, and she played several characters, from Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!” to a theatrical agent in “I hate Hamlet,” a 1991 comedy. She also took turns guest starring on TV shows, like “Fantasy Island,” “Love Boat II,” and “All About Eve.”
She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in “Gentlemen’s Agreement” in 1947 and also received Oscar nominations for “Come to the Stable” (1949) and “All About Eve” (1950).
Celeste Holm first fell in love with theater when her grandmother took her to see Anna Pavlova, a ballerina. Holm recalled thinking, “There she was, being tossed in midair, caught, no mistakes, no falls. She never knew what an impression she made.”
Yahoo News reports that, while she first became successful on Broadway when cast in William Saroyan’s “The Time of Your Life” in 1939, she impressed the critics even more when she took the role of Ado Annie Carnes in “Oklahoma!” In 1943. She said years later that she only auditioned for the role because of World War II. Holm explained:
“There was a need for entertainers in Army camps and hospitals. The only way you could do that was if you were singing in something.”
After being asked to sing for late-night supper clubs, Holm decided to move west to pursue a career in film. She would always say about the movie capital that:
“Hollywood is a good place to learn how to eat a salad without smearing your lipstick.”
Oscar Hammerstein’s prediction that Holm wouldn’t like Hollywood was correct. She stated that Hollywood “was just too artificial. The values are entirely different. That balmy climate is so deceptive.” After several years, she returned to New York.
Celeste Holm was married five times and is survived by her two sons and three grandchildren.
Check out Celeste Holm below in scenes from “Champagne for Caesar” below: