Celeste Holm, the versatile actor who achieved fame on Broadway in the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's hit musical Oklahoma! in 1943 and five years later won an Oscar for best supporting actress in the movie drama Gentleman's Agreement, died Sunday (July 15, 2012). She was 95.
Ms. Holm, whose more than 70-year career in show business included performing in nightclubs, died in her apartment in New York, said her husband, Frank Basile.
She had great success on Broadway, and had 10 productions behind her when she was cast in the star-making role of man-crazy Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, in which she sang I Cain't Say No.
"Any good actress can play a man-crazy hoyden, but Celeste Holm played Ado Annie with a sly wink-in-the-eye that made her character irresistible," Miles Krueger, president of the Los Angeles-based Institute of the American Musical, who was a boy when he saw Ms. Holm in the role, told the Los Angeles Times in 2007. "She was so cute."
Ms. Holm's Broadway work led to a long-term contract with 20th Century Fox, where she starred in Gentleman's Agreement, the groundbreaking 1947 drama directed by Elia Kazan and starring Gregory Peck as a journalist who adopts a Jewish identity to chronicle his experiences dealing with anti-Semitism.