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« Review: "Farewell My Queen" | Main | Box Office Quickie »
Sunday
Jul152012

Celeste Holm (1917-2012)

The oldest living Best Supporting Actress winner has now, unfortunately, left us. And to think we were just talking about the divinely appealing Celeste Holm. Holm died earlier today at 95 years of age in her Manhattan home with her husband at her side. She'd recently been hospitalized for dehydration and suffered a heart attack.

Celeste celebrating her Oscar at an anniversary screening in '12 and on Oscar nite in '48

Today's she's best remembered for her work in All About Eve (1950) and Gentlemen's Agreement (1947) for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but her successful career also included Broadway stardom (she was the original Ado Annie in Oklahoma!) and her own television series "Honestly Celeste". She will most definitely be missed. 

In the last completed episode of Best Pictures from the Outside In (a series y'all bring up with regularity), we talked about Gentlemen's Agreement in which I found Holm fully deserving of her Oscar, writing:

In all seriousness Celeste Holm is tremendously good in this movie as a sassy career gal with a big but slightly lonely social life. At first I was worried it was one of those cases where you latch on to and overvalue a charismatic performance because it saves you from its dull surroundings (too many examples to name) but by the movie's end I was convinced that I would have found her sensational even if she hadn't been surrounded by so much dead air; the portrait was so vivid I could project a whole sequel with her character as the star.

Mike remarked that he wanted to meet her to thank her for being the best thing in so many movies.

Celeste and her husband at her 90th birthday party in 2007Celeste had been recently troubled by bitter family divisions and legal complications involving her depleted fortune, her much younger husband (from her fifth marriage in 2004) and her two sons. Our condolescences go out to all of them -- we hope everyone resolved their differences towards the end and hangs on to the good memories.

Program yourself a mini-Celeste fest in her honor soon. There are wonderful and/or storied films to choose from: All About Eve, Come to the Stable, Gentleman's Agreement, High Society, The Tender Trap, and the television musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella among them.

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Reader Comments (8)

I don't know why a woman would want to marry a much younger man well into her 80's—it's not the curiosity of their sexual interest, but the burden that comes legally, physically, and emotionally at the last stages of life. I hope he made her happy—whatever his angle.

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

I once sat next to Celeste at a screening.She was a lovely lady in person. A class act and a great talent.

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan and

RIP Celeste Holm. I meant no disrespect when I used her name in a recent comment about Woody Allen. Her performance in "Gentlemen's Agreement," was memorable, as was the one she gave in "All About Eve." TCM is showing her 3rd nominated performance in "Come to the Stable" sometime in the next month.

I had the honor of meeting Ms. Holm when working as an usher, and she was lovely.

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

RIP Celeste Holm. I meant no disrespect when I used her name in a recent comment about Woody Allen. Her performance in "Gentlemen's Agreement," was memorable, as was the one she gave in "All About Eve." TCM is showing her 3rd nominated performance in "Come to the Stable" sometime in the next month.

I had the honor of meeting Ms. Holm when working as an usher, and she was lovely.

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

A true movie star and a terrific actress- specially in "All About Eve"

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Aww i just watched High Society for the first time last week and she's been popping into my mind a lot since then. Might have to pop in my All About Eve or Gentlemen's Agreement dvd's. RIP.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTim B.

Wow, she looks a lot like a young Meryl Streep in that one B&W photo.

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

The Tender Trap was one of my favorite Celeste performances; one of those 50's era movies that used to show up on "cable" in the old days on Saturday afternoons. I loved the sound of her voice. She always seemed so elegant and refined. Thanks, Celeste!

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam
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