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Lauren Bacall has passed away at 89

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  • KyleBailey
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    #158043

     

     

    Lauren Bacall, the sultry blonde siren who became an overnight star via a memorable film debut at age 19 opposite Humphrey Bogart in Howard Hawks’ “To Have and Have Not,” died Tuesday at her home of a suspected stroke. She was 89.

    Much later in life, she was Oscar-nommed for supporting actress for
    her role as Barbra Streisand’s mother in 1997’s “The Mirror Has Two
    Faces.”

    Born Betty Joan Perske, “a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx,” she
    stunned audiences in the forever-after-famous “you know how to whistle”
    scene in the 1944 romance “To Have and Have Not,” in which she was as
    flirtatious as possible within the parameters of the Hays Code.

    Audiences were impressed; her co-star, the 44-year-old Bogart, even
    more so. They were soon married and remained devoted to one another for
    the next 12 years, until Bogart’s death in 1956.

    It wasn’t until almost 20 years later that Bacall would emerge from
    the shadow of being Bogart’s wife/widow and hit her stride, this time
    onstage, where she scored successes in the comedy “Cactus Flower” and
    then won two Tonys in musicals “Applause” and, later, “Woman of the
    Year.”

    Her gravel-voiced, sultry persona, however, immediately transformed
    her into a celebrity. The voice was said to have come from a year
    shouting into a canyon. Regardless, “the Look,” her slinky, pouty-lipped
    head-lowered stare, influenced a generation of actresses.

    That had less to do with her acting assignments than with her social
    and political reputation — lying long-legged on President Truman’s
    piano, bravely protesting with her husband against the House Un-American
    Activities hearings as early as 1947, campaigning for Adlai Stevenson
    (twice), or hosting the Rat Pack in Holmby Hills with Bogie and later,
    in New York, with another famous husband, actor Jason Robards
    Jr. It has been suggested that her career — she was under contract at
    Warners for several years — was harmed by her political outspokenness.
    Bogart did some of his best work in those years, but then, he was
    Bogart.

    Her fierce independence caused her to be suspended from Warners no
    fewer than seven times. Backed by Bogart, she justifiably complained
    about the poor material she was handed. That independence sometimes
    crossed over into diva territory and became more pronounced as time
    passed.

    At AMPAS’ first Governors Awards ceremony in November 2009, Bacall
    was one of four honorees. Anjelica Huston saluted her by quoting Bacall
    as saying, “Stardom isn’t a career, it’s an accident,” though Huston
    said Bacall’s ascendance was not accidental.

    Bacall expressed surprise at her own career, saying, “It’s quite
    amazing the people I worked with — some of the all-time all-time
    greats.” And she admitted that when Hawks told her he wanted to pair her
    with either Bogart or Cary Grant, she said she wasn’t impressed with
    the dese-dem-dose quality of Bogart and said of Grant, “Now you’re
    talking!”

    Bacall’s fierce ambition to achieve stardom began at Julia Richman
    High School in Manhattan, from which she graduated at 15. By that time
    she was already doing department store modeling. She studied acting and
    dancing and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she
    remained only one term. She quit modeling on Seventh Avenue to become a
    theater usher and got herself a walk-on in “Johnny 2 x 4” in 1942 and
    an ingenue role in George S. Kaufman’s out-of-town failure “Franklin
    Street.”

    Harper’s Bazaar editor Niki de Gunzberg hired her to model for the magazine, and a 1943 cover photo
    came to the notice of Hawks, who screen-tested Bacall and put her under
    contract (which he later sold to Warners). The studio coached her for a
    year, and then she was slipped into “To Have and Have Not,” where Hawks
    found that “when she became insolent, she became rather attractive.”

    Bogart’s marriage to Mayo Methot was on the skids, and Bacall soon
    became his fourth wife, bearing him two children over the next dozen
    years. They appeared together in movies three more times, most memorably
    in “The Big Sleep” and then in “Dark Passage” and “Key Largo.”

    Otherwise, when she wasn’t turning down assignments, she was agreeing
    to appear in mediocre ones such as “Young Man With a Horn” and “Bright
    Leaf.” At Bogart’s urging, she bought herself out of her contract
    shortly before Warners shaved its roster in the wake of the TV boom of
    the early ’50s.

    One of her better assignments, “How to Marry a Millionaire,” teamed
    her with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, and “Woman’s World” again
    utilized her glamorous, stylish persona to dress up the proceedings.

    On television she co-starred with Bogart and Henry Fonda in a live
    production of “The Petrified Forest,” which Bogie had done on film in
    1935 with Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. She also starred with Noel
    Coward and Claudette Colbert in the TV production of Coward’s “Blithe
    Spirit.”

    When Bogart succumbed to throat cancer, Bacall threw herself into her
    work, again in A pictures, but with mixed results. There were
    impressive efforts like “Written on the Wind” and “Designing Women” and
    considerably less impressive ones like “Blood Alley” and “Flame Over
    India.”

    After a serious affair with Frank Sinatra, she moved east and
    appeared onstage in the comedy “Goodbye, Charlie.” She met and married
    Robards, whose star was on the rise, and they had a son. His drinking
    problems contributed to their breakup and divorce in 1969.

    In 1967, she was the toast of Broadway in Abe Burrows’ comedy “Cactus
    Flower” (a role she lost to Ingrid Bergman onscreen). She appeared in
    the comedy for two years, and then starred in a musical stage version of
    “All About Eve,” called “Applause,” in the Margo Channing role
    originated by Davis. For it she won a Tony Award, and she played the
    role in the London version too.

    Later screen roles consisted of cameos and character parts in films
    including “Harper,” “Health” and “Murder on the Orient Express.” She
    appeared in John Wayne’s last film, 1976’s “The Shootist.” A rare
    starring opportunity, “The Fan,” was a dismal failure, and Bacall
    returned to Broadway in another musicalization of a classic Hollywood
    film, “Woman of the Year,” which had starred Katharine Hepburn.

    Bacall’s 1978 autobiography “By Myself,” written without the aid of
    the usual ghostwriter, translated that gravel voice onto the written
    page and became a bestseller. She also penned “Now,” in which she wrote
    about her career, family and friends since ’78 but which she declined to
    call an autobiography. In the book, she wrote, “I’m called a legend by
    some, a title and category I am less than fond of.”

    She continued to work on stage and screen and television, doing a TV
    remake of “Dinner at Eight” and taking a small role in “Misery.”

    In 1997, she received the Kennedy Center Honors; in 1999, the
    American Film Institute voted her one of the 25 most significant female
    movie stars in history.

    Bacall was among the stars of Lars Von Trier’s “Dogville” and
    “Manderlay,” made a cameo on “The Sopranos” as herself in April 2006 and
    appeared in the 2012 film “The Forger” with Josh Hutcherson and Hayden
    Panettiere.

    But mostly she continued to be Lauren Bacall.

    She is survived by her two children by Bogart, Stephen and Leslie and her son by Robards, actor Sam Robards.

     

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    seabel
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    #158045

    Wow… Death doesn’t let us breath.

    Rest in peace, Lauren.

     

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    Boidiva02
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    May 24th, 2011
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    #158046

    Rest In Peace Ms. Bacall. I’ll always fondly remember your work.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Halo_Insider
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    Jul 3rd, 2011
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    #158047

    89 years old is certainly not as tragic to go out on than 63, but still – losing her so closely after Robin is a bit of a punch. What a great figure in cinema. Still have yet to see The Big Sleep, but To Have and Have Not is fantastic. What a life she led, too.

    RIP to an icon.

     

    Anybody got a match?

     

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #158048

    I know some of her work, but not nearly all, and she is definitely a legendary actress. I know I’ll see more of her work as I continue into the classic films, because her filmography is definitely worth seeing. Sad loss.

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    KyleBailey
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    #158049

    She was in the English dubbed version of “Ernest and Celestine” this year. She did a really good job it’s avalible on DVD now. 

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    Stardust
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    Nov 13th, 2012
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    #158050

    No words 

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    24Emmy
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    Nov 4th, 2010
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    #158051

    RIP to another great.

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    babypook
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    Nov 4th, 2010
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    #158052

    “…You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow. “

    ReplyCopy URL
    Kevin
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    Apr 30th, 2013
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    #158053

    A great actress, and an even more humble person.

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    Filmatelist
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    #158054

    That’s 3 from MY FELLOW AMERICANS this year alone, after the two Jameses (Garner & Rebhorn).

    She was a consummate pro and class act, and married to two Oscar winners herself (Bogie & Jason Robards), though my favorite film of hers hands down, THE BIG SLEEP, never got any Academy love but will be remembered for eons to come.  

    RIP. 

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    ENGLAND
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    Oct 5th, 2011
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    #158055

    OMG Lord!!! Not Bacall. Yes she was 89 but the timing is crazy. So freaking iconic.

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    Atypical
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    Dec 1st, 2011
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    #158056

    Oh no. Lauren Bacall too? What an awful week this has turned out to be. RIP.

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    vinny
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    May 20th, 2011
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    #158057

    This week is bad. First Robin and now her?! She was always one of my grandfathers favorite actresses so I think I have seen almost all of her films. Such a great actress.

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    tennisfreak
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    #158058

    The last of the legends name checked in Madonna’s “Vogue” passes. The era is truly over.

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