Celeste Holm is an American stage, film, and television actress, known for her Academy Award-winning performance in Gentleman’s Agreement, as well as for her Oscar-nominated performances in Come to the Stable and All About Eve. Born and raised in New York City, Holm grew up as an only child. She attended Friends Seminary. Her mother, Jean Parke, was an American portrait artist and author; her father, Theodor Holm, was a Norwegian insurance adjuster for Lloyd’s of London. Holm studied acting at the University of Chicago before becoming a stage actress in the late 1930s following a brief first marriage, which produced her first child, son Ted Nelson.
Holm’s first professional theatrical role was in a production of Hamlet starring Leslie Howard. Holm’s first major Broadway part was as Mary L. in William Saroyan’s 1940 revival of The Time of Your Life co-starring fellow newcomer Gene Kelly. The role that got her the most recognition from critics and audiences was as Ado Annie in the flagship production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! in 1943.
After she starred in the Broadway production of Bloomer Girl, 20th Century Fox signed Holm to a movie contract in 1946, and in 1947 she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in Gentleman’s Agreement. After her performance in All About Eve, however, Holm realized she preferred live theater to movie work, and took on few film roles over the following decade. The most successful of these were the comedy The Tender Trap and the musical High Society, both co-starring Holm with Frank Sinatra. Holm starred as a professor-turned-reporter in New York City in the CBS television series Honestly, Celeste! and was thereafter a panelist on Who Pays?. She starred as a reporter in an unsold television pilot called The Celeste Holm Show in 1958, based on the book No Facilities for Women. Holm also starred in the musical The Utter Glory of Morrissey Hall.