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Celeste Holm
Academy Award Winning Actress
Live Web cast June 29, 2001 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT

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Celeste Holm
Photo: Bob West,
courtesy of Still Breathing
Any woman cast in the role of Ado Annie in Oklahoma! has had to compete with Celeste Holm, who first incarnated the boy-crazy “girl who cain’t say no” in the original 1943 Broadway production. The Oscar-winning actress best known for her excellent supporting roles has spent most of her 82 years on the stage and on the big and little screens. Out of the limelight, she’s a staunch champion of the arts and supporter of children’s programs and other social causes.

She made her Broadway debut at age 19 in The Time of Your Life, and less than a decade later appeared onscreen for the first time. In 1947, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her third film, Gentleman’s Agreement, Elia Kazan’s look at socially accepted anti-Semitism, which also took the Best Picture Oscar. Within three years, she garnered two more nominations for her role as a nun trying to raise money for a children’s hospital in Come to the Stable (1949), and for All About Eve, a classic drama about women’s choices in life that was named the Best Picture of 1950. She also received critical acclaim for her portrayal of an asylum inmate who befriends a woman suffering from a nervous breakdown in the drama The Snake Pit.

Holm’s interest in social issues continues offstage. Since 1951, she’s been a stalwart supporter of UNICEF, and is known for asking autograph-seekers to make a 50-cent donation to the children’s fund. The New York native is also the chair of Arts Horizon, a nonprofit that brings music and art to some 450,000 school children in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Dame Holm, who was knighted by the King of Norway, has also served as a member of the Governing Board of the Mental Health Association, president of the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center, chair of the New Jersey Film Commission, and board member of the Actor's Fund.

A Hollywood actress whose films are now often considered “classics,” she co-starred with Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong and Marilyn Monroe, and worked the boards with Frank Sinatra in the musicals The Tender Trap and High Society. Holm began working in television in the 1950s, appearing on numerous network series, specials and made-for-TV movies. She received an Emmy nomination for her performance in the miniseries Backstairs at the White House. Her more recent films include roles in Three Men and A Baby and Still Breathing.

Related Links:
UNICEF