- CHARITY BENEFIT
Oscar-winning actress for “Gentleman’s Agreement” Celeste Holm died this morning at 95. The star of Broadway and film, was admitted to New York’s Roosevelt Hospital a week ago, but her husband took her home at her request on Friday. Celeste passed peacefully in her own bed with her husband, friends and most of her family nearby.
The past couple of years had not been easy for Celeste as she had to battle her family for her apartment and her money. This bitter legal dispute was between her two sons and her fifth husband, Frank Basile. She married Basile, who is 46 years younger, in 2004. The sons made her last days miserable. Neither of her two sons were there in her Central Park West apartment when she died.
Holm was nominated for an Oscar for “Come to the Stable” and “All about Eve.” Her stage career started out with “Hamlet” with Leslie Howard, but her Broadway debut was in “The Time of Your Life.” Musical theater lovers knew her as Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!” In television she won our hearts as the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” She also won fans when she played Hattie Greene in both the “Touch by an Angel” and “Promised Land.”
Married four times it was her last marriage that gave her the most pleasure. In 1938 she married director Ralph Nelson, but the couple divorced the next year after the birth of a son, Ted. Next a marriage in 1940 to English auditor Francis Davies, ended quickly in 1946, Holm married airline public relations executive A. Schuyler Dunning and her second son, Daniel, was born, but that marriage ended as well. Holm’s fourth marriage in 1961 to actor Wesley Addy, whom she met while co-starring in the 1960 Broadway production of “Invitation to the March,” lasted until Addy’s death in 1996.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
I had the privileged of working with Celeste in “The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall” years ago. I had recently re-connected with Celeste and will miss her. She was a talented and loving addition to the world.
Photo: Rose Billings