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Celeste Holm Lawsuit Husband Frank Basile

Celeste Holm lawsuit Frank BasileCeleste Holm lawsuit husband Frank Basile vs. Holm's sons. (See previous article “Recent Celeste Holm Movies.”) Though best-remembered for her film, stage, and television work, in recent years Celeste Holm was in the news chiefly because of a protracted legal battle pitting her two sons (from two previous marriages) against her and husband Frank Basile (photo, with Holm), a former waiter and aspiring opera singer 46 years her junior.

Celeste Holm lawsuit: trust control

Not long after Holm's marriage to Basile in 2004, a lawsuit ensued. The issue revolved around a trust fund set up by Holm's youngest son, Dan Dunning. According to Dunning, the irrevocable trust of which he was the trustee was intended to protect his mother's investments.

The legal battle for control of the fund depleted Holm's reported $2 million in savings, and left her relying on Social Security and a pension: adding up to a not inconsiderable $12,000 a month. That monthly allowance notwithstanding, Holm was recently sued for overdue maintenance and legal fees on her Central Park apartment.

“Dan Dunning did the very thing to his mother that he claimed I was trying to do,” Basile told John Leland, author of the New York Times article “Love and Inheritance: A Family Feud.”

Basile added: “But [Dunning] said I was out for half her money. He took it all. This whole thing could have been prevented. Every time her son seemed to care more about the money than her wishes, Celeste, how did you feel about that?"

“Pretty rotten,” Holm answered.

“Did you hear that?” Basile asked. “She said, pretty rotten.”

As per statements found in Leland's report, the sons acted the way they did because they felt Basile was trying to take control of Holm's finances.

Celeste Holm and sons no longer speaking

Ultimately, Celeste Holm and her sons severed ties. According to Leland's piece, in his book of memoirs, Possiplex, Holm's older son and Internet pioneer Theodor Holm Nelson, 74, doesn't mention his mother by name. (His father was film director / producer Ralph Nelson.)

In the past decade, Holm had been in fragile health. She suffered from memory loss, and according to Basile, she had “two bouts of skin cancer, bleeding ulcers, a collapsed lung, hip replacements, pacemakers.” Additionally, she had to be fed through a tube in her stomach.

Celeste Holm Frank Basile photo: Getty Images.

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6 Comments to Celeste Holm Lawsuit Husband Frank Basile

  1. Joy Lourdes

    Why is it so impossible for us to believe this was love? People are so quick to judge others. Clearly, the majority of people wouldn't choose this marriage dynamic for many reasons, but it doesn't mean that Basile didn't love and cherish and take pride in his wife like others in an age - matched relationship. He is one in a million who can see beauty where others cannot. While many marginalize the elderly, Basile revered an elderly woman and found something compelling in her. Who is anyone to judge that it was not sincere if he stayed faithfully by her side and took care of her, and treated her like a lover, and best friend. Celeste Holm had the right to do whatever she wanted with her money. She earned it.

  2. Tom

    I knew Basile in the early 90's and shared an apartment with him for a brief period. When I read he'd married Holm I had a knot in my stomach. Frank was %100, entirely about Frank and would have done something like marry the aged Holm to further his opw needs. The most self centered, dishonest person I have ever met. Apparently he is a much better actor than I gave him credit for, he seems to have convinced people of his false sincerity. Believe me, he deserves nothing from that families estate.

  3. MaryMRevis

    Let me tell you about Mr. Frank Basile. I KNOW FRANK BASILE AND I KNOW THE KIND OF DEAR MAN HE IS. He is a WARM, WONDERFUL person..and TRULY LOVED HIS WIFE CELESTE!!. Being with Celeste was NEVER about money, it was about LOVE. The lawsuit was about money in the eyes of the two sons. How DARE they treat their mother that way, and now sadly the wonderful lady is gone. Mr. Basile IS GRIEVING the loss of his love. God bless Frank honey an may your loving wife rest in peace.

  4. gloria

    She was a beautiful LADY!! LOVED all her movies!!!
    May she rest in PEACE in her theater in the sky.

  5. Tony Fania

    I had a brief friend ship with Dan Dunning I always though he was a warm and caring person. If this guy was so much in love he would would have had no problem with a prenuptial but no he springs the marriage on the family. Age had nothing to do with it for Celeste, but for Frank it had to be the MONEY lots of it. Now for the lawyers to take advantage of an old women they are no better then Frank

  6. Joan Lowell Smith

    I know Frank Basile through his mentor, the late opera star Jerome Hines, one of my closest friends. Frank is not only a talented opera singer but a devout Christian. Frank and Celeste came to many Bible studies at Jerome Hines' home in New Jersey where I got to know both Celeste and Frank. Why is it so hard for some people to believe that Frank and Celeste had a wonderful marriage? Age had nothing to do with it. It was love.