Libby Holman

Actress + Singer
Born May 23, 1904

Libby Holman was an American torch singer and stage actress who also achieved notoriety for her complex and unconventional personal life.

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In 1904, the wealthy family grew destitute after Holman's uncle Ross Holzman embezzled nearly $1 million of their stock brokerage business. … Read More
1906 2 Years Old Holman later subtracted two years from her age, insisting she was born in 1906, the year she gave the Social Security Administration as the year of her birth.


1920 16 Years Old She graduated from Hughes High School on June 11, 1920, at the age of 16.
1923 19 Years Old She graduated from the University of Cincinnati on June 16, 1923, with a Bachelor of Arts degree.


1924 20 Years Old In the summer of 1924, Holman left for New York City, where she first lived at the Studio Club. … Read More
1925 21 Years Old Her Broadway theatre debut was in the play The Sapphire Ring in 1925 at the Selwyn Theatre, which closed after thirteen performances. … Read More
1929 25 Years Old Her big break came while she was appearing with Clifton Webb and Fred Allen in the 1929 Broadway revue The Little Show, in which she first sang the blues number, "Moanin' Low" by Ralph Rainger, which earned her a dozen curtain calls on opening night, drew raves from the critics and became her signature song. … Read More
1930 26 Years Old …  They met in Baltimore, Maryland in April 1930 after Reynolds saw Holman's performance in a road company staging of the play The Little Show. … Read More
1931 27 Years Old With the persuasion of her former lover, Louisa d'Andelot Carpenter, Holman and Reynolds, who went by his middle name, married on November 29, 1931 in the parlor of a house in Monroe, Michigan. … Read More
1932 28 Years Old In 1932, during a 21st birthday party Reynolds gave at Reynolda for his friend and flying buddy Charles Gideon Hill, Jr., a first cousin to Reynolds's first wife Anne Ludlow Cannon Reynolds, Holman revealed to her husband that she was pregnant. … Read More
1933 29 Years Old Holman gave birth to the couple's child, Christopher Smith "Topper" Reynolds, on January 10, 1933. … Read More


1934 30 Years Old In 1934, Broadway producer Vinton Freedley offered Holman the starring role in the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, but she declined. A 1933 film, Sing, Sinner, Sing, was loosely based upon the allegations surrounding Reynolds' death.
1939 35 Years Old Holman married her second husband, film and stage actor Ralph ("Rafe") Holmes, in March 1939. He was twelve years her junior. She had previously dated his older brother, Phillips Holmes. In 1940, both brothers, who were half-Canadian, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Phillips was killed in a collision of two military aircraft on August 12, 1942. When Ralph returned home in August 1945, the marriage quickly soured and they soon separated. … Read More


1952 48 Years Old In 1952 she created the Christopher Reynolds Foundation in his memory. … Read More


1959 55 Years Old In 1959, through the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, she underwrote a trip to India by Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, both of whom became close friends with Holman and her husband, Louis Schanker. Holman also contributed to the defense of Dr. Benjamin Spock, the pediatrician and writer arrested for taking part in antiwar demonstrations. Her third and last husband was well known abstract artist/sculptor Louis Schanker. They married on December 27, 1960. … Read More


1966 62 Years Old 1 More Event
One of her last performances was at the United Nations in New York in 1966. … Read More
1971 67 Years Old 1 More Event
On June 18, 1971, Holman was found nearly dead in the front seat of her Rolls Royce by her household staff. … Read More
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