A grand character actress, Celeste Holm prospered on stage, cinema, and television. Along the way, she garnered an Oscar, and was knighted by the King of Norway for her vast charitable work. President Reagan appointed her to a six-year term in 1982 on the National Council For the Arts.
Celeste Holm’s first professional theatrical role was in a production of Hamlet starring Leslie Howard. Her initial major Broadway part was as Mary L. in William Saroyan’s 1940 revival of The Time of Your Life, co-starring with fellow newcomer, Gene Kelly. The assignment getting her the most attention from critics and audiences was as Ado Annie in the original Broadway production of Oklahoma in 1943. The gifted actress was eventually whisked off to Hollywood, signing a contract with 20th Century Fox.
In her third screen appearance, Celeste Holm earned an Academy Award for Gentleman’s Agreement, which also starred Gregory Peck and John Garfield. Other films include The Snake Pit, a voiceover in A Letter to Three Wives, All About Eve, High Society, and The Tender Trap. Oscar Hammerstein convinced her to return to Broadway in 1951, to appear as Anna in the newest Rogers and Hammerstein production, The King and I.
On the small screen, Holm guested on The Fugitive, Burke’s Law, The F.B.I., Columbo, Falcon Crest, Magnum P.I., The Streets of San Francisco, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat. She once was the New York host of an Academy Awards ceremony. And, Celeste was fabulous on The Ed Sullivan Show in a performance featuring Edith Piaf, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green.
Prolific in charity, she once served on nine boards at the same time; notably with the National Mental Health Association, the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center, and UNICEF. Holm was active in Save the Theatres Committee. She lived in her longtime New York apartment; a popular locale for actors, such as Robert De Niro. The lights on Broadway will dim on Wednesday night in her honor.
The vivacious Celeste Holm was 95.
Until next time> “never forget”