Birthday: September 16, 1924
Died At Age: 89
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Betty Joan Perske
Born Country: United States
Born in: The Bronx, New York, United States
Famous as: Actress
Quotes By Lauren Bacall
Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Humphrey Bogart (m. 1945–1957), Jason Robards (m. 1961–1969)
father: William Perske
mother: Natalie Weinstein
children: Leslie Howard Bogart, Sam Robards, Stephen Humphrey Bogart
Died on: August 12, 2014
place of death: The Dakota, New York, United States
Cause of Death: Stroke
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Julia Richman Education Complex, American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Who was Lauren Bacall?
Lauren Bacall was an American actress known for her peculiar voice and sensual looks. She rubbed shoulders with Hollywood greats like Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart, whom she later married. Born into a working class family in New York, she went on to make a name for herself in Hollywood. Before making her debut as an actress, she had begun her career as a model. She starred as a leading lady in the film ‘To Have and Have Not’ in 1944, which was directed by Humphrey Bogart. She starred in stylish Hollywood crime dramas and romantic comedies. Apart from films, she also worked in Broadway musicals and earned two ‘Tony Awards’ (1970 & 1981). She won a ‘Golden Globe Award’ and an ‘Oscar’ nomination for her performance in 'The Mirror Has Two Faces.' The ‘American Film Institute’ named her the 20th greatest female star of Classic Hollywood cinema. ‘The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ honored her with an ‘Academy Honorary Award’ in 2009.
Childhood & Early Life
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in The Bronx, New York, USA, to Natalie Bacal and William Perske. Her father was addicted to alcohol, and deserted the family when Bacall was just six.
Soon after her birth, her family moved to Brooklyn's Ocean Parkway. She received education at a private boarding school named ‘The Highland Manor Boarding School for Girls’ in Tarrytown, New York. She then studied at ‘Julia Richman High School’ in Manhattan.
Her parents divorced when she was young. Thereafter, she no longer saw her father and formed a very close bond with her mother, who later got married to Lee Goldberg.
Her obsession with theater led her to work as an usher at ‘St. James Theater.’ She also worked as a fashion model.
While working as a model, she featured in the cover of ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ in 1942 and got noticed by ace director Howard Hawks’ wife Nancy Hawkes who encouraged her to take a screen test for ‘To Have and Have Not.’
Hawks took keen interest in Lauren and taught her how to speak with proper diction. She was also instrumental in convincing her to adopt the name ‘Lauren’ in order to hide her Jewish heritage.
In 1941, Bacall enrolled at the ‘American Academy of Dramatic Arts,’ and took lessons alongside Kirk Douglas. In 1942, she won the ‘Miss Greenwich Village’ title.
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She was 19 when she co-starred with Humphrey Bogart in ‘To Have and Have Not’ in 1944. She first displayed her famous gesture of keeping her chin pressed against her chest while on the sets of this movie, which remained a trademark throughout her career.
Although Nancy Hawks groomed her, she was discovered by Diana Vreeland who met her through Nicholas de Gunzburg and persuaded her to model for ‘Harper’s Bazaar.’
Soon after the success of ‘To Have and Have Not,’ she starred opposite Charles Boyer in ‘Confidential Agent’ in 1945. While visiting the ‘National Press Club’ in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 1945, her agent Charlie Enfield asked her to sit on the piano, which was then played by the then U.S. Vice President Harry S Truman.
Bacall was an instant hit because of her graceful demeanor, cat-like movements, twinkling blue-green eyes, and light-brown blonde hair.
In 1946, her stunning performance in Howard Hawks’ ‘The Big Sleep,’ alongside Humphrey Bogart, cemented her place in Hollywood. By now, Lauren had become an iconic star who was sought after for playing femme fatale roles, which she portrayed with great ease.
In 1947, she was cast alongside Humphrey Bogart in another blockbuster film ‘Dark Passage’ in which she played the role of a mysterious San Francisco artist and earned rave reviews for her performance.
She starred alongside Bogart and Edward G Robinson in the suspense film ‘Key Largo’ in 1948. She almost outclassed her co-stars with her brilliant performance.
She was cast alongside Gary Cooper in a drama film titled ‘Bright Leaf’ (1950). The film was based on the 1948 novel of the same name by Foster Fitz-Simons. The same year, she also appeared in the film ‘Young Man with a Horn.’
Bacall co-starred with Bogart from 1951 to 1952 in an action-adventure radio series titled ‘Bold Venture.’
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From 1954 to 2010, she was cast in many films like ‘Woman's World,’ ‘Designing Woman,’ ‘North West Frontier,’ ‘The Shootist,’ ‘The Fan,’ ‘Tree of Hands,’ ‘All I Want for Christmas,’ ‘From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,’ ‘The Mirror Has Two Faces,’ ‘Day and Night,’ ‘The Venice Project,’ ‘Dogville,’ ‘These Foolish Things,’ ‘The Walker,’ ‘Wide Blue Yonder,’ etc.
Apart from acting, she has also voiced many characters in several animated films like ‘Madeline: Lost in Paris,’ ‘Howl's Moving Castle,’ ‘Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King,’ and ‘Ernest & Celestine.’
Her final film role was in the 2012 drama film ‘The Forger,’ also known as ‘Carmel-by-the-Sea.’
Awards & Achievements
She wrote three books; an autobiography titled ‘Lauren Bacall by Myself’ in 1978, followed by ‘Now’ in 1994, and ‘By Myself Then Some’ in 2005.
Lauren won ‘The Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year’ award in 1967, which is an annual bestowment by ‘Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ at Harvard.
She won the ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Lead Actress’ for her role as ‘Margo Channing’ in a musical titled ‘Applause.’
Bacall won the ‘Sarah Siddons Actress of the Year Award’ in 1972. She then had to wait for eight years for her next award; she won the ‘National Book Award’ for her autobiography.
Lauren won another ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Actress’ for her role in the musical ‘Woman of the Year’ in 1981. It was followed by a second ‘Sarah Siddons Actress of the Year Award’ in 1984.
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In the ‘90s, she won a string of awards, such as the ‘George Eastman Award’ in 1990, ‘Donostia Award’ in 1992, ‘Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award’ in 1993, and ‘National Board of Review Award’ (for best cast) in 1994.
She won an ‘Academy Honorary Award’ in 2010.
Personal Life & Legacy
There was an age difference of 25 years between Lauren and her husband Humphrey Bogart, because of which she was nicknamed ‘baby.’ They were happily married until his death in 1957.
Lauren socialized a lot and moved along well with personalities from non-film background. She was a close friend of historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and journalist Alistair Cookie.
She dabbled in politics and contributed to the campaign speeches of Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1957.
After the death of her husband Bogart, Lauren developed a relationship with singer Frank Sinatra. The relationship soon ended as Sinatra was annoyed at the news of the marriage proposal being leaked to the press.
Bacall was to marry actor Jason Robards in Vienna, Austria, on June 16, 1961. However, the wedding plans had to be canceled as the Austrian authorities refused to grant a marriage license. Their wedding plan suffered a similar fate in Las Vegas as well.
The couple had to drive all the way to Ensenada in neighboring Mexico to have their marriage solemnized on July 4, 1961. The marriage lasted until 1969, when Lauren divorced Robards, purportedly because of his alcohol addiction.
Lauren Bacall died at the age of 89 after suffering a massive stroke on August 12, 2014, just a month before her 90th birthday.
She left $10,000 in her will, specifically to take care of her dog Sophie. The task was assigned to her youngest son Sam Roberts.
Bacall also left some money to two loyal employees who received $10,000 and $15,000. Her vast estate was valued at $26.6 million, the bulk of which was shared by her three children, with $250,000 going to her grandsons towards their college fund.