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Movie star Celeste Holm dies at 95

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Celeste Holm had quite an acting career on the big screen. Wining the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1947 for "Gentleman's Agreement," and starred as Bette Davis' vest friend in the classic "All About Eve" and the film adaptation of the musical "Oklahoma." Alas, Holm, who died last week at the age of 95, did not leave on an "up" note, plagued with personal and financial problems.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Suffering from dehydration, she requested that she spend her final days with her husband Frank Basile at her Manhattan apartment. She passed away with friends and family by her side.

Her acting career lasted more than half a century. Some memorable star turns for Holm was Ado Annie, the girl who just can't say no in "Oklahoma!" One of her later roles was as a worldly theatrical agent in the 1991 comedy "I Hate Hamlet." She also found time to guest-star on TV shows such as "Fantasy Island" and "Love Boat II."

Winning the Academy Award in 1947 for "Gentleman's Agreement," Holm also received Oscar nominations for "Come to the Stable" (1949) and "All About Eve" (1950).

President Ronald Reagan appointed her to a six-year term on the National Council on the Arts in 1982. Holm was also noted for her charity work, at one time raising $20,000 by charging people for autographs at 50 cents apiece.

Holm's later life was marked by poverty and personal problems. A family legal battle pitted her two sons against her and her fifth husband - former waiter Basile, whom she married in 2004 and was more than 45 years her junior.

Court costs wiped away much of her savings and left her dependent on Social Security. The actress and her two estranged sons no longer spoke, and she was sued for overdue maintenance and legal fees on her Manhattan apartment.

Holm was a sensation on Broadway during the 1940s in such plays as "The Time of Your Life" and "Oklahoma." She then set her sights on Hollywood for a film career.

"Hollywood is a good place to learn how to eat a salad without smearing your lipstick," she later claimed.

Her other well-known films included "The Tender Trap" and "High Society" but others were less memorable. "I made two movies I've never even seen," she confessed in a 1991 interview.

One of her biggest triumphs as a performer came in 1943 when she performed in a ward of mental patients and got a big smile from one man she learned later had been uncommunicative for six months.

"I suddenly realized with a great sense of impact how valuable we are to each other," she said.

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