Celeste Holm, a theatre and film actress who, through a small but select collection of indelible mid-20th century stage and cinema performances, achieved the somewhat legendary status in show business circles, died at her apartment in New York City on July 15. She was 95.
Though much honored by Hollywood (she was nominated for Oscars during three of the four years she was primarily active), Ms. Holm was more a featured player than a headlining star. But her performances were so reliably expert and witty, she often eclipsed the actors she was hired to support. And she was lucky in her choices. She won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her performance as a smart fashion editor in Elia Kazan's 1947 dramatic examination of anti-Semitism, "Gentleman's Agreement." It was only her third film. She was Frank Sinatra's cynical equal as a photographer in "High Society" (1956), the all-star movie musical of The Philadelphia Story. She starred again with Sinatra in the comedy "The Tender Trap" (1955), playing a philosophically suffering maiden-in-waiting to his womanizing press agent.