Celeste Holm, a versatile, bright-eyed blonde who soared to Broadway fame in Oklahoma! and won an Oscar in Gentleman's Agreement, but whose last years were filled with financial difficulty and estrangement from her sons, died today, a relative said. She was 95. Holm had been hospitalized two weeks ago with dehydration after a fire in Robert De Niro's apartment in the same Manhattan building. She had asked her husband, Frank Basile, on Friday to bring her home, and spent her final days with relatives and close friends by her side, said her great-niece.
In a career that spanned more than half a century, Holm played everyone from Ado Annie—the girl who just can't say no in Oklahoma!—to a worldly theatrical agent in the 1991 comedy I Hate Hamlet to guest star turns on TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Love Boat II to Bette Davis' best friend in All About Eve. 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 (1949) and All About Eve (1950). In her early 70s, an interviewer asked if she had ever thought of retiring. "What for?" she replied. "If people retired, we wouldn't have had Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud ... I think it's very important to hang on as long as we can." Holm was married five times and is survived by two sons and three grandchildren.