- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
Lauren Bacall, the actress who stole Humphrey Bogart’s heart and taught us all how to whistle, has died. She was 89 years old.
A family member told TMZ that Bacall suffered a massive stroke Tuesday morning.
Bacall’s life was like a movie itself. She was born Betty Joan Perske in New York on Sept. 16, 1924, according to her TCM biography. She grew up as a member of the middle class, but she caught the eyes of Harper’s Bazaar while studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. When she appeared on the cover of the magazine, she caught the eyes of Howard Hawks, who immediately brought her to Hollywood.
At just 19, she was cast alongside Bogart in To Have And Have Not. Immediately on the set, the fire between Bogart and Bacall was obvious. Bogart, despite the age difference, got a divorce and they married. Hawks groomed Bacall to make her a star, giving her one of the most famous lines in film history.
“You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?” Bacall asks Bogie. “You just put your lips together... and blow.”
She then starred in Confidential Agent in 1945, but that movie flopped and her career seemed off-track. Hawks righted her, though, casting her again opposite Bogart in The Big Sleep. The couple starred in two more features together - the underrated noir Dark Passage and the John Huston film Key Largo.
Although they never appeared together again on the big screen, Bacall continued her amazing career. Her films without Bogart during the ‘50s include Young Man With A Horn with Kirk Douglas, Designing Woman with Gregory Peck and the sumptuous Cinemascope comedy How To Marry A Millionaire. She continued working in films for the rest of her life, memorably opposite John Wayne in Wayne’s final film The Shootist.
Bacall was rarely recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. She didn’t get her first nomination until 1996’s The Mirror Has Two Faces, directed by Barbra Streisand. In 2010, she received an honorary award, “In recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”
Bacall will always be remembered for her sultry looks and unique voice in those ‘40s classics with Bogart, but she should also be remembered for a great actress who gave every picture her all.
She was married to Bogart until his death in 1957 and was married to Jason Robards from 1961 to 1969. She is survived by three children.
image courtesy of INFphoto.com