Lauren Bacall
Betty Joan Perske
16 September 1924, New York City, New York
In 2006, Lauren Bacall introduced a film montage dedicated to the film noir genre at the 78th Annual Academy Awards. That same year, she appeared as herself on an episode of The Sopranos, during which she was punched and robbed by a masked Christopher Moltisanti.
A woman isn't complete without a man. But where do you find a man - a real man - these days?
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall (born Betty Joan Perske; September 16, 1924) is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.

She first emerged as leading lady in the film noir genre, including appearances in The Big Sleep (1946) and Dark Passage (1947), as well as a comedian in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and Designing Woman (1957). Bacall has also worked in the Broadway musical, gaining Tony Awards for Applause in 1970 and Woman of the Year in 1981. Her performance in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

In 1999, Bacall was ranked as one of the 25 actresses on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars list by the American Film Institute. In 2009, she was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Academy Honorary Award at the inaugural Governors Awards.

Born in New York City, Bacall was the only child of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a secretary who later legally changed her surname to Bacall, and William Perske, who worked in sales. Her parents were Jewish immigrants, their families having come from Poland, Romania and Germany. She is first cousin to Shimon Peres, current President and former Prime Minister of Israel. Her parents divorced when she was five, and she took her mother's last name, Bacall. Bacall no longer saw her father and formed a close bond with her mother, whom she took with her to California when she became a movie star.

Bacall took lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. During this time, she became a theatre usher and worked as a fashion model. As Betty Bacall, she made her acting debut, at age 17, on Broadway in 1942, as a walk-on in Johnny 2 X 4. According to her autobiography, she met her idol Bette Davis at Davis' hotel. Years later, Davis visited Bacall backstage to congratulate her on her performance in Applause, a musical based on Davis' turn in All About Eve.

Bacall became a part-time fashion model. Howard Hawks's wife Nancy spotted her on the March 1943 cover of Harper's Bazaar and urged Hawks to have her take a screen test for To Have and Have Not. Hawks invited her to Hollywood for the audition. He signed her up to a seven-year personal contract, brought her to Hollywood, gave her $100 a week, and began to manage her career. Hawks changed her name to Lauren Bacall. Nancy Hawks took Bacall under her wing. She dressed the newcomer stylishly, and guided her in matters of elegance, manners and taste. Bacall's voice was trained to be lower, more masculine and sexier, which resulted in one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood. In the movie, Bacall takes on Nancy's nickname “Slim”.

During screen tests for To Have and Have Not (1944), Bacall was nervous. To minimize her quivering, she pressed her chin against her chest and to face the camera, tilted her eyes upward. This effect became known as "The Look", Bacall's trademark.

On the set, Humphrey Bogart, who was married to Mayo Methot, initiated a relationship with Bacall some weeks into shooting and they began seeing each other.

On a visit to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 1945, Bacall's press agent, chief of publicity at Warner Bros. Charlie Enfield, asked the 20-year-old Bacall to sit on the piano which was being played by Vice-President of the United States Harry S. Truman. The photos caused controversy and made worldwide headlines.

After To Have and Have Not, Bacall was seen opposite Charles Boyer in the critically-panned Confidential Agent (1945). Bacall would state in her autobiography that her career never fully recovered from this film, and that studio boss Jack Warner did not care about quality. She then appeared with Bogart in the film noir The Big Sleep (1946), the thriller Dark Passage (1947) and John Huston's melodramatic suspense film Key Largo (1948). She was cast with Gary Cooper in the period drama Bright Leaf (1950).

Bacall turned down scripts she did not find interesting and thereby earned a reputation for being difficult. Yet, for her leads in a string of films, she received favorable reviews. In Young Man with a Horn (1950), co-starring Doris Day and Kirk Douglas, Bacall played a two-faced femme fatale, with more than a hint of lesbianism to her character. This movie is often considered the first big-budget jazz film.

Bacall starred in the CinemaScope comedy How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), a runaway hit that saw her teaming up with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable. Bacall got positive notices for her turn as the witty gold-digger, Schatze Page. According to her autobiography, Bacall refused to press her hand- and footprints in the cemented forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre at the Los Angeles premiere of the film.

Written on the Wind, directed by Douglas Sirk in 1956, is now considered a classic tear-jerker. Appearing with Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack, Bacall played a determined woman. Bacall states in her autobiography that she did not think much of the role. While struggling at home with Bogart's severe illness (cancer of the esophagus), Bacall starred with Gregory Peck in the screwball comedy Designing Woman and gained rave reviews. It was directed by Vincente Minnelli and released in New York City on May 16, 1957, four months after Bogart succumbed to cancer on January 14.

Bacall's movie career waned in the 1960s, and she was only seen in a handful of films. On Broadway she starred in Goodbye, Charlie (1959), Cactus Flower (1965), Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981). She won Tony Awards for her performances in the latter two. The few movies Bacall shot during this period were all-star vehicles such as Sex and the Single Girl (1964) with Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood, Harper (1966) with Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Julie Harris, Robert Wagner and Janet Leigh, and Murder on the Orient Express (1974), with Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney and Sean Connery. In 1964, she appeared in two acclaimed episodes of Craig Stevens's CBS drama, Mr. Broadway: first in "Take a Walk Through a Cemetery", with then husband Jason Robards, Jr. and Jill St. John, and then as Barbara Lake in "Something to Sing About", with Martin Balsam as Nate Bannerman.

For her work in the Chicago theatre, Bacall won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1972 and again in 1984. In 1976, she co-starred with John Wayne in his last picture, The Shootist. The two became friends, despite significant political differences between them. They had previously been cast together in 1955's Blood Alley.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Bacall appeared in the poorly-received star vehicle The Fan (1981), as well as some star-studded features such as Robert Altman's Health (1980), Michael Winner's Appointment with Death (1988), and Rob Reiner's Misery (1990). In 1997, Bacall was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), her first nomination after a career span of more than fifty years. She had already won a Golden Globe and was widely expected to win the Oscar, which went to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient.

Bacall received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1997. In 1999, she was voted one of the 25 most significant female movie stars in history by the American Film Institute. Since then, her movie career has seen a new renaissance and she has attracted respectful notices for her performances in high-profile projects such as Dogville (2003) and Birth (2004), both with Nicole Kidman. She is one of the leading actors in Paul Schrader's 2007 movie The Walker.

In March 2006, Bacall was seen at the 78th Annual Academy Awards introducing a film montage dedicated to film noir. She also made a cameo appearance as herself on The Sopranos, in the April 2006 episode, "Luxury Lounge", during which she was punched and robbed by a masked Christopher Moltisanti.

In September 2006, Bacall was awarded the first Katharine Hepburn Medal, which recognizes "women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of the four-time-Oscar-winning actress", by Bryn Mawr College's Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center. She gave an address at the memorial service of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr at the Reform Club in London in June 2007.

Bacall is the spokesperson for the Tuesday Morning discount chain. Commercials show her in a limousine waiting for the store to open at the beginning of one of their sales events. She is currently producing a jewelry line with the company, Weinman Brothers.

Bacall was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Academy Award. The award was presented at the inaugural Governors Awards on November 14, 2009.

On May 21, 1945, Bacall married Humphrey Bogart. Their wedding and honeymoon took place at Malabar Farm, Lucas, Ohio. It was the country home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, a close friend of Bogart. The wedding was held in the Big House. Bacall was 20 and Bogart was 45. They remained married until Bogart's death from cancer in 1957. Bogart usually called Bacall "Baby," even when referring to her in conversations with other people. During the filming of The African Queen (1951), Bacall and Bogart became friends of Bogart's co-star Katharine Hepburn and her partner Spencer Tracy. Bacall also began to mix in non-acting circles, becoming friends with the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and the journalist Alistair Cooke. In 1952, she gave campaign speeches for Democratic Presidential contender Adlai Stevenson. Along with other Hollywood figures, Bacall was a staunch opponent of McCarthyism.

Shortly after Bogart's death in 1957, Bacall had a relationship with singer and actor Frank Sinatra. She told Robert Osborne, of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), in an interview that she had ended the romance. However, in her autobiography, she wrote that Sinatra abruptly ended the relationship, having become angry that the story of his proposal to Bacall had reached the press. Bacall and her friend Swifty Lazar had run into the gossip columnist Louella Parsons, to whom Lazar had spilled the beans. Sinatra then cut Bacall off and went to Las Vegas.

Bacall was married to actor Jason Robards from 1961 to 1969. According to Bacall's autobiography, she divorced Robards mainly because of his alcoholism. In her autobiography Now, she recalls having a relationship with Len Cariou, her co-star in Applause.

Bacall had two children with Bogart and one child with Robards. Her children with Bogart are her son Stephen Humphrey Bogart (born January 6, 1949), a news producer, documentary film maker and author; and her daughter Leslie Bogart (born August 23, 1952), a yoga instructor. Sam Robards (born December 16, 1961), her son with Robards, is an actor.

Bacall has written two autobiographies, Lauren Bacall By Myself (1978) and Now (1994). In 2005, the first volume was updated with an extra chapter: "By Myself and Then Some".

Bacall is a staunch liberal Democrat. She has proclaimed her political views on numerous occasions.

She appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in a photograph printed at the end of an article he wrote, titled "I'm No Communist", in the May 1948 edition of Photoplay magazine, written to counteract negative publicity resulting from his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Bogart and Bacall specifically distanced themselves from the Hollywood Ten and were quoted as saying: "We're about as much in favor of Communism as J. Edgar Hoover." In October 1947, Bacall and Bogart traveled to Washington, DC along with other Hollywood stars, in a group that called itself the Committee for the First Amendment.

She campaigned for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential election and for Robert Kennedy in his 1964 run for Senate.

In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Bacall described herself as "anti-Republican... A liberal. The L word." She went on to say that "being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind."
WRITE TO LAUREN BACALL:
Lauren Bacall
1 West 72nd Street, #43
New York, NY 10023
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#6). [1995]

Ranked #20 in the AFI's top 25 Actress Legends.

Ranked #11 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Mother of actor Sam Robards, Stephen Bogart and Leslie Bogart.

Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. [1997]

Bacall was staying in the same New York apartment building (The Dakota) as Beatle John Lennon when he was shot and later died on 8th December 1980. When interviewed on the subject in a recent UK TV program hosted by former model Twiggy, Bacall said she had heard the gunshot but assumed that it was a car tire bursting or a vehicle backfiring.

Was crowned "Miss Greenwich Village" in 1942.

Used her mother's maiden name of Bacal, but added an extra "L" when she entered the cinema.

Shortly after Humphrey Bogart's death, she announced her engagement to Frank Sinatra to the press. Sinatra promptly backed out.

Her screen personna was totally based and modeled after Howard Hawks's wife, Slim. She even uses her name in To Have and Have Not (1944).

She and former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres (as of 2007, the President of Israel) are cousins. Both have the same original last name -- Perske.

Those close to her call her by her real first name, "Betty".

Still undiscovered, Bacall volunteered as a hostess at the New York chapter of the Stage Door Canteen, working Monday nights when theaters were closed.

Having lost her job as a showroom model and quit acting school for lack of funds, the teenage Bacall found work as a Broadway theater usher. George Jean Nathan voted her the prettiest usher of the 1942 season in the pages of "Esquire".

An only child.

One of the initial "Rat Pack" with Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Irving Paul Lazar (aka "Swifty" Lazar) and their close friends.

Won a Tony for her role as Margo Channing in the Broadway production of "Applause", a musical based on the movie, All About Eve (1950). It was presented by Walter Matthau.

With late husband Humphrey Bogart, has a kind of vocal disorder named after her. "Bogart-Bacall syndrome"' (or BBS) is a form of muscle tension dysphonia most common in professional voice users (actors, singers, TV/radio presenters, etc) who habitually use a very low speaking pitch. BBS is more common among women than men and has been blamed on "social pressure on professional women to compete with men in the business arena".

Starred, with her husband Humphrey Bogart, on the syndicated radio program "Bold Venture" (1951-1952). Her character's name was Sailor Duval.

Measurements: 34-26-34 (her 1940 modeling card) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Her autobiography, "By Myself", won a National Book Award in 1980

Actress Kathleen Turner has often been compared to Bacall. When Turner and Bacall met, Turner reportedly introduced herself to Bacall by saying "Hi, I'm the young you."

Her marriage to Humphrey Bogart occurred at the Pleasant Valley area of Richland County, Ohio home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm (4 miles southeast of Lucas within Monroe Township). The home is now an Ohio State Park.

Katharine Hepburn, her long-time friend, is the godmother of her son, Sam Robards.

Has won two Tony Awards as Best Actress (Musical): in 1970, for her role as Margo Channing in "Applause", a musical based on the movie, All About Eve (1950); and in 1981, for "Woman of the Year," also based on a movie of the same name, Woman of the Year (1942). Her Tony for "Applause" was presented by Walter Matthau.

As of 2009 she is the only surviving legend mentioned in a popular phrase from Madonna's 1990 #1 hit song "Vogue". Other legends mentioned: Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Grace Kelly, Jean Harlow, Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth and Bette Davis, who all died before the release of the song. Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Joe DiMaggio, Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn and Lana Turner all died in following years.

Is mentioned along with late husband Humphrey Bogart in the 1980s song "Key Largo" ("We had it all, just like Bogie and Bacall").

Is portrayed by Kathryn Harrold in Bogie (1980) (TV)

Her appearance on a cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine at 18 years of age led to her first film role; she was spotted by the wife of director Howard Hawks, who gave her a screen test and cast her in To Have and Have Not (1944).

Originally wanted to be a dancer.

A well respected actress for the past sixty years, she has only been nominated once for an Academy Award. She was 73 when nominated for The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).

Is half Romanian

Son Stephen Bogart was born on January 6, 1949. He was named after father Humphrey Bogart's character from To Have and Have Not (1944).

Daughter Leslie Bogart was born on August 23, 1952. She was named after actor Leslie Howard, who helped Humphrey Bogart get his breakthrough role in the play, The Petrified Forest (1936).

Son Sam Robards was born December 16, 1961 with second husband Jason Robards. Bacall's long-time friend Katharine Hepburn, was his godmother.

Daughter Leslie Bogart is childhood friends with Lorna Luft.

She made two movies with John Wayne, Blood Alley (1955) and The Shootist (1976). In the earlier film, during production, Bacall's husband at the time, Humphrey Bogart, was dying of throat cancer. When she made the latter film with Wayne, he had lost a lung to cancer twelve years earlier, which mirrored the fate of his character in the story.

In Italy, she was dubbed by Clelia Bernacchi at the beginning of her career, then in most cases by Lidia Simoneschi. Franca Dominici, Renata Marini and Anna Miserocchi also lent their voice to Bacall at some point.

She was 17 when she met and became a close friend of Gregory Peck. She was an usherette at the time. They remained close until his death.

She was dismissed by Howard Hawks because she had a high nasal voice, but she spent two weeks developing her voice and, when she came back to visit Hawks two weeks later, she had a deep husky voice.

According to her autobiography, "By Myself and Then Some," she was always very self-conscious about the size of her feet, which she describes as big even for a woman of her exceptional height.

When Howard Hawks discovered her, he gave her the choice to work with either Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart. Bacall was very tempted to work with Grant, but Hawks ended up casting her with Bogart in To Have and Have Not (1944), and one of Hollywood's greatest romances was started.

She was a close friend of Dirk Bogarde. Bacall had visited him at his home in London the day before he died in May 1999.

At the funeral for her husband, Humphrey Bogart, she put a whistle in his coffin. It was a reference to the famous line she says to him in their first film together To Have and Have Not (1944): "You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and blow.".

Campaigned for Harry S. Truman in the 1948 presidential election.

Quit smoking cigarettes in the mid-1980s.

Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 1724 Vine Street.

Humphrey Bogart campaigned for her to star alongside him as "Laurel Gray" in In a Lonely Place (1950), but the part was, instead, given to Gloria Grahame.

One of the auditoriums in Tuckwood cineplex in Belgrade, Serbia bears her name.

Although she and her husband, Humphrey Bogart, initially protested the House Un-American Activities Committee, they both eventually succumbed to pressure and distanced themselves from the Hollywood Ten in a March 1948 Photoplay Magazine article penned by Bogart titled "I'm no communist.".

According to her Son Stephen, is good friends with Actress Maureen O'Hara.
I never believed marriage was a lasting institution . . . I thought that to be married for five years was to be married forever.

I was this flat-chested, big-footed, lanky thing.

I don't think being the only child of a single parent helped. I was always a little unsteady in my self-belief. Then there was the Jewish thing. I love being Jewish, I have no problem with it at all. But it did become like a scar, with all these people saying you don't look it.

I remember my oldest son, Steve, saying to me once, "I don't ever remember seeing you with an apron on". And I thought, "That's right, honey, you did not". That was his concept of what a mother should be.

I would hate now [2005] to be married. It does occur to me on occasion that, if I fall and hit my head, there will be no one to make the phone call. But who wants to think about that disaster? I'd prefer not to.

I am still working, I've never stopped and, while my health holds out, I won't stop.

I put my career in second place throughout both my marriages and it suffered. I don't regret it. You make choices. If you want a good marriage, you must pay attention to that. If you want to be independent, go ahead. You can't have it all.

Actors today go into TV, which I don't consider has a lot to do with acting. They only think of stardom. If you photograph well, that's enough. I have a terrible time distinguishing one from another. Girls wear their hair the same, and are much too anorexic-looking.

We live in an age of mediocrity. Stars today are not the same stature as Bogie [Humphrey Bogart], James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart [James Stewart].

A legend involves the past. I don't like categories. This one is great and that one is great. The word "great" stands for something. When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise. His whole behavior is so shocking. It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness.

I'm a total Democrat. I'm anti-Republican. And it's only fair that you know it . . . I'm liberal. The L word!

[on Humphrey Bogart] Was he tough? In a word, no. Bogey was truly a gentle soul.

[on John Huston] He was about something.

I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.

On imagination: Imagination is the highest kite that can fly.

[upon receiving her Honorary Oscar] A man at last!
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