Eve Golden: Queen of the Dead


A customized 1973 Oldsmobile hearse, listed on EBay at Buy It Now for $13,500.

Queen of the Dead – dateline July 23, 2012

•   I adored Celeste Holm (who died on July 15, at 95) as an actress—she was warm and sharp and witty in All About Eve, Gentleman’s Agreement, High Society—often, she was the best part of her films, even in small supporting parts. But . . . when she died, I heard from several friends and acquaintances who had worked with her or knew her, and not a single one of them had a nice word to say about her. The same word cropped up a lot, but it was not “nice,” and “copper-bottom” was frequently attached to it. So I implore readers to post lovely stories about what a sweet, good-natured woman Celeste Holm was—let’s hear ’em!


•  Among the many children’s series I grew up reading were the Encyclopedia Brown and Danny Dunn books (also a huge fan of the dark Moomin Valleys). Donald J. Sobol, 87, author of the Encyclopedia Browns, died on July 16. I only read the first few—he started writing them in 1965 and was still at it as recently as last year—but I recall them fondly. Ency and his pal Sally Kimball, the wonderfully named bully Bugs Meany (really, with a name like that, what choice did he have?). I pretty much aged out of them by the end of the 1960s (though I do have a complete set of Laura Lee Hope’s Moving Picture Girls series of the 1910s, kind of a crime-solving Gish sisters deal).

•  John Campbell Arbuthnott, 16th Viscount of Arbuthnott, KT, CBE, DSC, JP (BVD, BPOE, NOKD), died at 87, on July 14. In addition to having a fabulous title, he served with the Royal Navy in World War II and apparently did a helluva lot for conservancy and for farmers in later life. He also served on a number of boards, the names of which fascinate me like shiny objects in front of a squirrel: The Red Deer Commission, The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, the Royal Commission on Historic Manuscripts (oooh, I want to join that one!), and The Worshipful Company of Farmers. That “KT” in his name means that he belonged to The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, too.I hope he at least got a funny hat for each one.

 •  Yet more dreadful news for us writers (and readers): The University of Missouri Press seems to be closing shop. I am a university press author myself (Kentucky), and couldn’t be happier with them: they publish books that major houses will not take on, and they are a huge step above self-publishing or vanity presses (Kentucky, for instance, gets me reviewed in major media here and abroad, has great distribution and promotion, and I actually make enough money to fund my next book). But “Half a dozen universities have closed or suspended their presses over the past three years,” says the New York Times. “ . . . they are usually money-losing operations. The presses at the University of Chicago, Oxford and Cambridge are the only ones widely believed to be profitable.” In a “we’re only sending the dog to a farm!” move, the University of Missouri insists the press is only being “reinvented,” and will be run by “four paid professionals and five graduate student interns.” I’m glad I had a good 20-some years of publishing before e-books and self-publishing came along.

—Eve Golden


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Books and Authors, Eve Golden, Hollywood, Queen of the Dead and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Eve Golden: Queen of the Dead

  1. Pamela Porter says:

    For a number of years in the mid 90s to the mid 2000s, I lived in the same NJ township in which Ms Holm maintained a farm (in the family forever). I worked in the building department of the township, and she would call occasionally. She would never say “This is Celeste Holm!” She would always say in a very lovely (and to a film buff, recognizable) voice “This is Mrs Addy” At the time, she was married to character actor Wesley Addy (I believe he died in 1996).

    I would also see her at the local ShopRite. I’d smile and nod, and she’d do the same.



  2. James says:

    I loved Encyclopedia Brown! It was those books and the Hardy Boys that made me the man I am today…spare any change for sumtin ta eat, lady? I saw plenty of nice things about Celeste on Facebook…but I saw some shocking claims as well…several from a number of authors who said she was…well, what you said.

    I want to cry at was happened in the book world. I just got signed by Mcfarland, but they are not a “brick and mortar” house. so, unless I can make it happen, I’ll be in libraries and Amazon, but not an actual book store….really, lady, just a buck seventyfive for a cafe latte mocha….or a beer?


  3. anna sklar says:

    Aww, I too liked Celeste Holm. Didn’t know her, but you needed a copper-bottomed *** to survive in Hollywood. Surprised that no one had a good word for her, though.


    • Eve says:

      Well, we do have Pamela’s story, above–at least Miss Holm was not running people over with her cart at the Shop-Rite.


  4. Diane Ely says:

    I’ve noticed that no obituary has appeared yet in the LA Times for Celeste Holm.


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