Broadway to honor Celeste Holm by dimming lights

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By MARK KENNEDY, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The lights on Broadway will be dimmed Wednesday in honor of the late Oscar-winning actress Celeste Holm.

The Broadway League said Monday that theater marquees will go dark at 8 p.m. for one minute in tribute to Holm, who soared to fame onstage in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" and won an Oscar in "Gentleman's Agreement."

Holm died Sunday at age 95 at her longtime apartment on Central Park West. Her husband, Frank Basile, who had been with the actress for 13 years, said she died in the couple's bed.

"I was honored every morning to wake up to her smile," said Basile, who said he would be outside the St. James Theatre when the lights dim on Wednesday to honor "the love of his life."

Holm had been hospitalized about two weeks ago with dehydration. She asked her husband on Friday to bring her home when things quickly took a turn for the worse. He said it happened so fast that he has had a hard time processing it.

At the time of her death, Holm was in a bitter, multi-year family legal battle that pitted her two sons against her and Basile, whom she married in 2004 and was more than 45 years her junior. They met at a gala where he was singing.

"We spent that last 13 years trying to celebrate life, even through the dark times," her husband said. "She always remained glowing, loving and positive."

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."

Her other Broadway credits include "Anna Christie," ''I Hate Hamlet," William Saroyan's "Time of Your Life" and "Bloomer Girl."

"Celeste Holm's impressive career on stage and screen spanned six decades, so multi-generations of theatre and film fans had the chance to appreciate her unique talent," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League.

Basile said during her final years he and Holms helped causes dear to her heart, such as the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center and UNICEF. "In her passing, I hope to continue that legacy," he said. "I hope to honor her name."

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