Celia St. James (2024)

Celia St. James was one of the most famous actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age, and considered one of the most talented of that generation. She is also a main character and the primary love interest of the novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid. She was popularly referred to as "America's Sweetheart" for her girl-next-door allure. Racking up a total of four Oscar nominations, resulting in winning three of which, as well as receiving the Most Promising Female Personality Award at the 1960 Audience Appreciation Awards, St. James was active in her career from 1959-1988, best known for her roles in the films Little Women (1959), The Pride of Belgium (1959), Royal Wedding (1962), Celebration (1962), Our Men (1970), The Buyer (1975), and Macbeth (1988).


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Personality
  • 3 Appearance
    • 3.1 Young Adulthood
    • 3.2 Middle Age
    • 3.3 Elder Years
  • 4 Relationships
  • 5 Filmography
  • 6 Trivia


Born Cecelia Jamison in 1939, Celia St. James grew up in Georgia, USA in a small town just outside of Savannah. She was born into a rich and "well-to-do" family, which created a culture in her family that she resented. All of her siblings—minus her favorite, her older brother Robert Jamison—she claimed to act just like her parents, who acted as if there was a recognized nobility in Georgia. Celia's sister Rebecca believed that Celia acting in movies was an embarrassment to the family, not so much because of the Hollywood aspect, but rather because it meant that Celia was "working"— and so she claimed it was undignified. Celia had conflicting feelings about her family because of this, saying "I love them, and I hate them. But that’s family, I guess".

Celia quickly became a renowned star and "screen queen" at a young age. Referred to as the "Georgia Peach" or "Georgia's Peach" early in her career, she made headlines for playing a widowed mother in a war-period piece with Olympian Studios at nineteen years old, one people said would be sure to get her nominated the following year. At the same age, she took on her role as Beth March in the 1959 film Little Women, winning her her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Even at an extremely young age, Celia St. James was regarded as one of, if not, the most talented actresses for her generation of Hollywood. Celia was often put in intense, dramatic roles—gritty movies with antiheroes and untidy endings. Her exceptional acting abilities made studio-game actors in the studio dynasty nervous, intimidated, or even jealous. Celia's fellow actresses and Little Women co-stars Evelyn Hugo (who would later become the love of Celia's life, lifelong lover, and wife) and Ruby Reilly said "That teenage bitch is going to act me under the table," and "Did you hear Celia St. James is playing Beth? That tart’s gonna show us all up," prior to meeting her, having only seen her previous works.

[To be continued]


Celia St. James is depicted as a woman of captivating allure and profound complexity. With her fiery spirit and unwavering determination, Celia commands attention wherever she goes. She possesses a magnetic charm that draws people to her effortlessly, yet beneath her glamorous facade lies a vulnerability that adds depth to her character. Celia's sharp wit and fierce independence are matched only by her capacity for love and loyalty, particularly in her tumultuous relationship with Evelyn Hugo.

Throughout the novel, Celia's presence serves as a catalyst for both conflict and growth, challenging societal norms and pushing boundaries in her relentless pursuit of happiness and authenticity. Her resilience in the face of adversity and her unwavering commitment to her beliefs make Celia St. James an unforgettable character in the narrative landscape of the novel.

"Celia would go on to win more Oscars than anybody in our circle back then. And it was always for intense, dramatic roles. But I always thought she'd be dynamite in a comedy. She was so quick."

- Evelyn Hugo

"I loved her drunk. She was herself but happier, so bubbly I sometimes worried she'd float away."

- Evelyn Hugo


Young Adulthood[]

Celia had a childlike, girl-next-door kind of face with big, round, pale blue eyes, long lashes, cupid’s bow lips, and long strawberry-red hair with golden undertones (a product of nature and sunlight). Evelyn refers to her as "simplicity perfected."

“...I found myself looking at the paleness of the skin stretched across her ribs. I gazed at the bright whiteness of her bra. I noticed the way her breasts, instead of being lifted by the bra like mine, appeared as if the bra were there merely for decoration. I followed the tiny trail of dark brown freckles that ran along the side of her right hip."

- Evelyn Hugo

"...Celia was the sort of beautiful that felt as if you could hold it in your hands, like if you played your cards right, you might just get to marry a girl like Celia St. James."

- Evelyn Hugo

"Her skin was creamy and pale. Her breasts were fuller than I'd anticipated, her nipples pink. Her flat stomach rounded just the littlest bit underneath her belly button."

- Evelyn Hugo

"When Celia's hair was wet, she didn't smell like shampoo. She smelled like clay."

- Evelyn Hugo

"When Celia was angry, her chest and cheeks flushed."

- Evelyn Hugo

Middle Age[]

Due to filming a movie that required her hair to be dyed brunette and then dyed back after filming concluded, Celia’s red hair in her middle ages appeared to clearly have undergone this dyeing and the golden undertones that had been there in her young adulthood were slightly saturated and coppery, but her hair was still said to be stunning. Her blue eyes were just as enticing as they always had been, but the skin around them became softer.

Elder Years[]


Evelyn Hugo - Wife, "Love of her life"

John Braveman - Ex Husband

Joan Marker - Ex-Girlfriend

Unknown best friend in College


(Blank cells are TBA)

Note: These are all of the movies Celia St. James has been mentioned to be in in the novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It is likely that there were more, as it is implied in the book.

Celia St. James' Complete Filmography
Film TitleRelease YearFilm DescriptionCast and CrewReceptionOscar StatusProduction CompanyAdditional Information
Title Unspecified1959War Period-Piece• Celia St. James as a widowed mother with an unspecified nameCelia St. James reportedly "made headlines" for her role in the film.NoneOlympian StudiosHer major film debut, proving to the film industry across the globe that she was a very talented actress who easily won crowds over and commanded them- intimidating actors everywhere, harboring an irrational bitterness in them towards her over her superior talent. Established her title as "Georgia's Peach" and put her girl-next-door demeanor in the public eye.
Little Women1959Evelyn Hugo as Jo March

• Celia St. James as Beth March

• Ruby Reilly as Meg March

• Joy Nathan as Amy March

Won Academy Award for Best Supporting ActressSunset Studios
The Pride of Belgium1959None
Title Unspecified1960Romance movie"Sold out theatres".None
Title Unspecified1960None
Royal Wedding1962Celia was described to be on a "hot streak" by the media, with her role in Royal Wedding being followed by a film musical called Celebration.None
Celebration1962Celia was described to be on a "hot streak" by the media, with her role in Celebration following her role in period-drama Royal Wedding, which released earlier that year. Had a "stunning turn" in the film.None
Title Unspecified1967Nominated for Academy Award for Best Actress - did not win. Lost to Ruby Reilly.
Our Men1970• Celia St. James as a woman who cross-dressed to serve as a World War I soldier with an unspecified nameWon Academy Award for Best Actress
Title Unspecified1974None
The Buyer1975None
Title Unspecified1975A violent and dark mob-movieNone
Title UnspecifiedNone
Macbeth1988• Celia St. James as Lady MacbethWon Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - "She could have submitted herself for Best Actress. There was no other woman with a bigger part in the movie than her. But she must have submitted herself for Best Supporting, because when the ballot came out, that was what she was nominated for. The moment I saw it, I knew it had been her call. She was just that smart." - Evelyn Hugo

Total (known) Films: 14

Total Named Films: 7



Celia St. James (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Last Updated:

Views: 5644

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Birthday: 1992-08-21

Address: Apt. 237 662 Haag Mills, East Verenaport, MO 57071-5493

Phone: +331850833384

Job: District Real-Estate Architect

Hobby: Skateboarding, Taxidermy, Air sports, Painting, Knife making, Letterboxing, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Saturnina Altenwerth DVM, I am a witty, perfect, combative, beautiful, determined, fancy, determined person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.