Oscar winning actress Celeste Holm died at her New York City apartment Sunday, at age 95.
Holm was hospitalized for dehydration two weeks ago, but requested to go home Friday and spent her final days with family and friends.
The actress first made a name for herself in 1943 when she impressed critics as Ado Annie in hit Broadway musical “Oklahoma!”
She only auditioned for the role because of World War II. She later said, “There was a need for entertainers in Army camps and hospitals. The only way you could do that was if you were singing in something.”
Holm became interested in the entertainment world when she was taken to meet ballerina, Anna Pavlova, when she was just three years old. She was raised in New York City and performed in school plays in high school and college before she started acting professionally.
She won the Academy Award in 1947 for best supporting actress for her performance in “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and received Oscar nominations for “Come to the Stable” in 1949 and “All About Eve” a year later.
She later returned to New York, stating that Hollywood “was just too artificial.” She became involved in charity work and worked for UNICEF, the National Mental Health Association and many other organizations.
The actress was married five times and her final husband, Frank Basile, was 45 years her junior. Sadly, her two sons pitted against her and Basile in a multi-year legal battle over inheritance and investments. The court battle wiped out much of her savings and left her dependent on Social Security.
Holm is survived by Basile, her two sons and three grandchildren. Funeral arrangements for the actress haven’t been made yet. The family is asking that any memorial donations be made to UNICEF or to The Lillian Booth Actors Home of The Actors Fund in Englewood, N.J.
With Associated Press