Lauren Bacall, Hollywood’s Icon of Cool, Dead at 89


4:59 PM PST 08/12/2014

by Mike Barnes , Duane Byrge, The

AP Images/Invision

The sultry and sexy actress was electric in the 1940s films “To Have and Have Not” and “Key Largo” opposite her husband, Humphrey Bogart

Lauren Bacall, the willowy actress whose husky voice, sultry beauty and all-too-short May-December romance with Humphrey Bogart made her an everlasting icon of Hollywood, has died, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. She was 89.  

Bacall died Tuesday morning of a stroke in her longtime home in the Dakota, the famous Upper West Side building that overlooks Central Park in Manhattan.

Bogart and Bacall were one of the most popular Hollywood couples, onscreen and off, and their 11-year marriage was the stuff of romantic lore. In 1981, their love provided the lyrics for Bertie Higgins’ 1981 pop hit “Key Largo” — “We had it all, just like Bogie and Bacall.”

They met just before they filmed her first movie, To Have and Have Not (1944), directed by Howard Hawks, her mentor. Although only 19, Bacall and her smoldering cool were the perfect match for the 44-year-old Bogart and his tough guy-persona.

Her best-remembered films, many of them considered classics, were with Bogart: To Have and Have NotThe Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo(1948).

After Bogart died at age 57 of esophageal cancer in January 1957, Bacall had a romance with Frank Sinatra. Days after she accepted his marriage proposal in 1958, The Los Angeles Herald reported on the impending nuptial on page 1 and Sinatra broke things off, refusing to speak to her for two decades.

She then was married to Oscar-winning actor Jason Robards from 1961 until their divorce in 1969. Their son, actor Sam Robards, survives them.

Bacall received her only Oscar nomination for her supporting role as Barbra Streisand’s mother inThe Mirror Has Two Faces (1996). She was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award in 2010 “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures,” but that moment did not lead to pleasant memories — she said she always regretted failing to mention her children Sam, Stephen andLeslie in her acceptance speech.

Bacall also enjoyed a splendid stage career. She captured two Tony Awards for best actress in a musical: in 1970 for Applause, the adaptation of All About Eve, in which she played Margo Channing, the role created by her idol Bette Davis; and in 1981 for Woman of the Year in a part originated by Katharine Hepburn, a good friend whom she once called “the female counterpart to Bogie.”

Bacall also received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Career Achievement from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1992.

Bacall penned two memoirs, By Myself (1978), which won a National Book Award in 1980, and Now(1994), in which she mused about getting older and living alone.

She admitted that being a “legend” and “special lady of film” unnerved her because “in my slightly paranoiac head, legends and special ladies don’t work, it’s over for them; they just go around being legends and special ladies.”

She was born Betty Jean Perske in the Bronx on Sept. 16, 1924, the only child of Jewish immigrants. Her father left the family when she was 6, and her mother struggled to make ends meet. She attracted attention as a teenage model while studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Crowned Miss Greenwich Village in 1942, Bacall made her stage debut in George S. Kaufman’sFranklin Street in Washington, then appeared in March 1943 on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

That cover photo was noticed by Hawks’ wife Nancy, who showed it to the celebrated director, and he called Bacall for a screen test. Based on the test, Hawks told her she would star in something with either Bogart or Cary Grant.

“I thought Cary Grant, great. Humphrey Bogart‚ yuck,” she later said. Nonetheless, Hawks had her meet with Bogart and could not help but notice their immediate chemistry, casting her as the femme fatale Marie in To Have and Have Not, an adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel. (Bogart’s character, Steve, nicknamed her “Slim,” which Hawks also called his wife.)

In By Myself, she described meeting Bogart for the first time, on the set of Passage to Marseille (1944).

“Howard told me to stay put, he’d be right back — which he was, with Bogart,” she wrote. “He introduced us. There was no clap of thunder, no lightning bolt, just a simple how do you do. Bogart was slighter than I imagined‚ 5-foot-10 and a half, wearing his costume of no-shape trousers, cotton shirt and scarf around his neck. Nothing of import was said‚ we didn’t stay long‚ but he seemed a friendly man.”

But soon, Bacall and Bogart — who at the time was married to his third wife, actress Mayo Methot — began an affair during the filming of To Have and Have Not.


Read more  HERE  at the Hollywood Reporter website.


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