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Celeste Holm (1917)

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  Summary  

Celeste Holm is an American stage, film, and television actress, known for her Academy Award-winning performance in Gentleman's Agreement , as well as for her Oscar-nominated performances in Come to the Stable and All About Eve . In 2011, despite health ailments, she completed filming the comedy feature film, College Debts, directed by Dexter Warr and Joshua Zilm.

  Biography  

 early life
Born and raised in New York City, Holm grew up as 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. Due to her parents' occupations, she traveled often during her youth and attended various schools in Holland, France and the United States. She graduated from University High 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. Holm's first major Broadway part was as Mary L. in William Saroyan's 1940 revival of The Time of Your Life co-starring fellow newcomer Gene Kelly . The role that got her the most recognition from critics and audiences was as Ado Annie in the flagship Broadway production of Rodgers & 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, and in 1947 she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in Gentleman's Agreement. After her performance in All About Eve, however, Holm realized she preferred live theater to movie work, and only accepted a few select film roles over the following decade. The most successful of these were the comedy The Tender Trap and the musical High Society , both of which co-starred Frank Sinatra. She starred as a professor-turned-reporter in New York City in the CBS television series Honestly, Celeste! and was thereafter a panelist on Who Pays? . She also appeared several times on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.

In 1958, she starred as a reporter in an unsold television pilot called The Celeste Holm Show, based on the book No Facilities for Women. Holm also starred in the musical The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall. In 1965, she starred alongside Lesley Ann Warren as the Fairy Godmother in the CBS production of Cinderella. In 1970-71, she was featured on the NBC sitcom Nancy, with Renne Jarrett, John Fink, and Robert F. Simon. In the story line, Holm played Abby Townsend, the press secretary of the First Lady of the United States and the chaperon of Jarrett's character, Nancy Smith, the President's daughter.

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 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 1991-92. She last appeared on television in the CBS television series Promised Land (1996–99).

 personal life
  • Holm's first marriage was to Ralph Nelson in 1936. Their son, Internet pioneer and sociologist Ted Nelson (né Theodor Holm Nelson; born 1937), was raised by his maternal grandparents. The marriage ended in 1939. In his 2010 memoir, Possiplex, her son, credited with coining the term “hypertext”, described this and other choices as “entirely the right decisions”. He reportedly did not name his mother in the book.
  • 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 1946-52, Holm was married to airline public relations executive A. Schuyler Dunning, with whom she had a second son, businessman Daniel Dunning.
  • From 1961-96 she was married to fellow thespian Wesley Addy (1913-1996), until his death at age 83 in 1996.
  • On April 29, 2004, her 87th birthday, Holm married opera singer Frank Basile, age 41. The couple had met in October 1999 at a fund-raiser at which Basile had been hired to sing. Soon after their marriage, Holm and Basile sued to overturn the irrevocable trust that had been created in 2002 by Daniel Dunning, Holm's younger son. The trust had been ostensibly set up to shelter Holm's financial assets from taxes, although 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 has, according to an article in The New York Times left Holm and her husband with a fragile hold on their home, which Holm purchased for $10,000 cash in 1953 from her film earnings, and which is now believed to be worth at least $2,000,000. According to her husband, Holm "has been treated for memory loss since 2002" and has battled "skin cancer, bleeding ulcers, a collapsed lung, hip replacements, pacemakers", but they had to let go of their housekeeper and home health attendant for financial reasons. Holm's income comes from her Social Security and pension.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Celeste Holm", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.