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Celeste Holm at the Basile Opera Center

February 25, 2011

She stopped shows as the original Ado Annie in Broadway's landmark "Oklahoma!" Sinatra sang with her in "High Society" and she picked up a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "Gentleman's Agreement." She played opposite Bette Davis in "All About Eve" and was Leslie Ann Warren's fairy godmother in the television "Cinderella."

But the performance by Celeste Holm that will now be in front of mind when I think about the actress will be the one given last night at the 'Basile at Basile' benefit for the Indianapolis Opera.

I suspect most other members of the audience, like me, expected just the presence of the 93-year-old actress and perhaps a few words in response to the Heartland Film Festival award given to her. The headliner, after all, was her husband Frank Basile (not Indy's FB, but the opera-singing one).

But the fiesty star, instead, recalled her Broadway replacement role in "The King and I" and sang a sweet version of "Getting to Know You." The solo led to a duet with her husband, which lead to a sing-along with the adoring crowd.

Remind me, when I'm 93, to have this much class and grace.

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