© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Celeste Holm, Dead at 95, Had Missouri Rep Credit

Celeste Holm, who died this weekend at 95, did Missouri Rep show in 1989.

Actor Celeste Holm, who died in New York this weekend at 95, won an Oscar for Gentleman's Agreement and was nominated twice more, including for her supporting role in All About Eve

But she also had on her resume a 1998 stint at Missouri Repertory Theatre in a production of  South African playwright Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca.

In 1989, she appeared in the show as a favor to former artistic director George Keathley, who she had worked for before (and who died in 2010 at 85). She spoke of her fealty to Keathley in an interview I did with her for an article in the long-gone TheaterWeek magazine.

"It's a refresher course working with George. He inspires me," she told me during rehearsals of the show in the green room of what is now called Kansas City Repertory Theatre. "You protect yourself as best you can. Sometimes you find your own way and sometimes you don't. But George brings a great deal out of all of us."

Of her most famous role as Bette Davis's blisteringly funny confidante in All About Eve,  the best movie ever made about theater folk, she said, "Although the result was fascinating, the basic thing in it irritates me. We are not the jungle, out to kill each other, because if we were, we'd never get a show on."

Among Holm's other roles was the part of Ado Annie in the Br0adway musical Oklahoma!, where she originated the song "I Cain't Say No."

Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one of Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.