(April 29, 1917 - July 15, 2012)
Born and raised in Manhattan, Ms. Holm was an only child. Because of her parents' occupations--Jean Parke, her mother was an American portrait artist and her father, Theodor Holm, a Norwegian businessman--she traveled often and attended schools in the Netherlands and France.
She graduated from University High School for Girls in Chicago, where she performed in many stage productions. She then studied drama at the University of Chicago before her stage debut in the late 1930s.
Her first professional role was in a production of Hamlet starring Leslie Howard. But her first major part was in William Saroyan's revival of The Time of Your Life (1940) as Mary L with fellow newcomer Gene Kelly. Her interpretation of Ado Annie in the premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! in 1943 received critical and popular recognition. After she starred in the Broadway production of Bloomer Girl, 20th Century Fox signed her to a movie contract in 1946. Her film debut was in Three Little Girls in Blue, making a stunning entrance in a Technicolor red dress singing "Always A Lady."
In 1947 she won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in Gentleman's Agreement. After playing Karen Richards in the quintessential play about Broadway, All About Eve, she preferred live theatre to movie work and only accepted a few film roles over the next decade. The most successful were in the comedy The Tender Trap and the musical High Society (1956) which co-starred Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
A life member of the Actors Studio, she received numerous honors during her lifetime, including the 1968 Sarah Siddons Award for distinguished achievement in Chicago theatre; she was appointed to the National Arts Council by then-President Ronald Reagan, appointed Knight, First Class of the Order of St. Olav by King Olav of Norway in 1979, and inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1992. She remained active for social causes as a spokesperson for UNICEF, and from 1995 she was Chairman of the Board of Arts Horizons, a not-for-profit arts-in-education organization.