Sunday, July 15, 2012

Celeste Holm (1917-2012)

One week after Ernest Borgnine's death ended his tenure as the earliest surviving winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor, the earliest surviving winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar has passed on, also at the age of 95. Holm won her statue for the 1947 Best Picture winner, Gentlemen's Agreement, but may be better known for her role in a somewhat better-loved film, the 1950 Best Picture All About Eve, for which she received another Oscar nomination. At least that's the film I remember and like her best from. She was also one of the original Broadway cast of the seminal Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, which opened back in 1943. She returned to acting near the end of her life; the final two entries on her IMDB filmography are a completed film scheduled for a 2013 release and another in postproduction. Both are low-budget independent productions, the latter also sporting Mickey Rooney and other seniors in the cast. The earliest surviving Best Supporting Actress is now Eva Marie Saint, who won for 1954's On the Waterfront. The earliest surviving nominee for the award is Olivia de Havilland, who was considered for Gone With the Wind before winning two Best Actress Oscars in the 1940s. Those make her the third-earliest surviving Best Actress winner, behind 102 year old Luise Rainer (1936 and 1937) and de Havilland's sister Joan Fontaine (1941). Rainer is no doubt watching her back if she takes the comes-in-threes rule seriously, as may be George Chakiris, the earliest surviving Best Supporting Actor winner for 1961's West Side Story. This trivia aside, every remaining link lost to classic Hollywood is to be regretted, and this blog pays its respects to Celeste Holm's memory.


Patrick Murtha said...

Holm she provided one of the best voiceovers of all time for Joseph L. Mankiewicz's tart, dark, brilliant comedy A Letter to Three Wives, a picture which holds up sensationally well, and to which Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry owes an eternal debt of gratitude.

Sam Juliano said...

I love her as well Samuel, and agree her finest work is on display in Mankiewicz's masterpiece ALL ABOUT EVE. I fondly remember her work as Aunt Polly in the 1973 musical TOM SAWYER which no doubt brought back memories of her celebrated turn in the stage musical of OKLAHOMA.

Like Ernest Borgnine she made some remarkable innings.


I appreciated all the Oscar trivia in this loving tribute.