celeste holm, 1917-2012

A grande dame of American acting died earlier this week. Celeste Holm, New York born and bred, was best known for her Academy Award-winning performance in Gentleman's Agreement*, her memorable (and Oscar-nominated) role alongside Bette Davis in All About Eve, and for originating the role of Ado Annie in Oklahoma!. But her list of stage, film, and television credits was very long indeed, as was her list of husbands. Her last marriage, to a man almost 50 years her junior, was announced at Sardi's, in true New York theatre style.

The New York Times obituary is here, but scrolling through Holm's credits on her Wikipedia page is also entertaining.

*Gentleman's Agreement was a groundbreaking film, adapted from an equally ground-breaking novel by Laura Z. Hobson. It was the first mainstream work to deal with anti-Semitism in the United States.


johngoldfine said...

Jean and I watched 'Gentleman's Agreement' last night--enjoyable, if dated, agitprop--but we were disappointed at the happy Hollywood ending.

We both were rooting for Gregory Peck to dump the insipid, weaselly Dorothy McGuire and to make it with the loud, brassy, bright, funny, hard-drinking, tough, decent career woman, Celeste Holm.

But, really, we all understand that career 'gals' are just are never going to be as attractive to fellas as twerps in Peter Pan collars.

This movie must have been a resource for the writers of 'Mad Men.' If someone argued about a script, "Oh, we can't have this--it could NEVER have happened!," you showed them the scene where Gregory Peck assaults his secretary, the very cute June Havoc, with every expectation on screen that this is perfectly okay behavior, and the argument is over.

laura k said...

we were disappointed at the happy Hollywood ending.

That's the thing about a movie made in Hollywood in 1947. It was made in Hollywood... in 1947.