Celeste Holm, Broadway Star and Oscar Winner, Dead at 95

After soaring to fame in "Oklahoma!" on Broadway, Celeste Holm went on to win the best supporting actress Academy Award for 1947's "Gentleman's Agreement" 

Last Updated: July 16, 2012 @ 8:02 AM

Celeste Holm, a Broadway star in "Oklahoma!" and an Oscar winner for "Gentlemen's Agreement," died Sunday. She was 95.

Holm was hospitalized about two weeks ago with dehydration after a fire in her Manhattan apartment building. She had come home to spend her final days with her husband, Frank Basile, and other relatives and close friends by her side, a relative told the Associated Press.

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 She won the Academy Award in 1947 for best supporting actress for her performance in "Gentlemen's Agreement," in which she played fashion editor Anne Dettry, and received Oscar nominations for "Come to the Stable" (1949) and "All About Eve" (1950).

She debuted on Broadway in 1939's "The Time of Your Life" but her career took off four years later, when she played Ado Annie "OKlahoma!," which was a box-office smash.

She began her film career in 1945 by signing on with Twentieth Century Fox, after she toured Europe at the end of World War II entertaining troops with the USO. "Gentlemen's Agreement" was Holm's third film.

In 1949 she was cast as a tennis-playing French nun in "Come to the Stable," which earned her another best supporting actress Oscar nomination.

Holm feuded with Fox over what sort of roles were right for her, and the studio suspended her briefly in 1950 "for refusing other roles she felt were beneath her." She came back later that year as Karen Richards in "All About Eve," and was again nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar.

In a maneuver unheard of at the time, Holm bought out her Fox contract after "All About Eve" to return to Broadway. It was on television, however, that she found more success.

She had her own short-lived series "Honestly, Celeste!" in 1954 after appearing in "All Star Revue" in 1950. She played the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" in 1965.

Not many film stars go the soap opera route, but Holm did. She was a regular on ABC's "Loving," appearing first in 1986 in the role of Lydia Woodhouse and again as Isabelle Dwyer Alden from 1991-92.

Holm was married five times, the last to Basile in 2004 when she was 87. Soon after the wedding, Holm and Basile sued to overturn an irrevocable trust set up by Daniel Dunning, Holm's younger son. The suit began a five-year battle with her sons which cost millions of dollars.

Memorial arrangements have yet to be announced.