Lauren Bacall's Biography:
Betty Joan Perske was born September 16, 1924 and is better known as Lauren Bacall. She is a Golden Globe– and Tony Award–winning, as well as Academy Award–nominated, American film and stage actress and model.
Known for her husky voice and sultry looks, she became a fashion icon in the 1940s and has continued acting to the present day.
She is perhaps best known for being a film noir leading lady in films such as The Big Sleep (1946) and Dark Passage (1947), as well as a comedienne, as seen in 1953's How to Marry a Millionaire. Lauren Bacall also enjoyed success starring in the Broadway musicals Applause in 1970 and Woman of the Year in 1981.
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske in New York City, the only child of Natalie (née Bacal or Weinstein), a secretary, and William Perske, who worked in sales.
Her parents were Jewish immigrants, their families having come from France, Poland, Romania and Germany.
Her first cousin is former Prime Minister and current President of Israel Shimon Peres. Her parents divorced when she was six. She took her mother's name Bacall when her parents divorced.
Lauren Bacall no longer saw her father and formed a bond with her mother, whom she took with her to California when she became a movie star.
Lauren Bacall studied acting for thirteen years, taking lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. During this time, she became a theater usher and worked as a fashion model. As Betty Bacall, she made her acting debut on Broadway in 1942, in Johnny 2 X 4. According to her autobiography, Lauren Bacall met her idol Bette Davis at Davis's hotel. Years later, Davis visited Lauren Bacall backstage to congratulate her on her performance in Applause, a musical based on Davis's turn in All About Eve.
Lauren 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. Hawks invited Lauren 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 Lauren under her wing.
She dressed Lauren stylishly, and guided the newcomer in matters of elegance, manners, and taste. Lauren'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, Lauren even takes on Nancy's nickname “Slim”.
The breakthrough for Lauren Bacall came in her first film, To Have and Have Not. Hoagy Carmichael is in the background playing piano.During screen tests for To Have and Have Not (1944) she was nervous, so 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', which was Lauren Bacall's trademark.
Her performance in To Have And Have Not is acknowledged as one of the most powerful on-screen debuts in film history.
On the set, Humphrey Bogart who was married to Mayo Methot, initiated a relationship with Lauren Bacall some weeks into shooting and they began seeing each other.
On a visit to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on 10 February 1945, her press agent, chief of publicity at Warner Bros. Charlie Enfield, asked the twenty year old Lauren 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, Lauren Bacall was seen opposite Charles Boyer in the critically panned Confidential Agent (1945). 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 adventure tale Bright Leaf (1950).
Lauren Bacall turned down scripts she didn't 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, Lauren 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.
Lauren starred in the CinemaScope comedy How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953, a runaway hit that saw her teaming up with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.
Lauren Bacall got positive notices for her turn as the witty gold-digger, Schatze Page. According to her autobiography, Lauren 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. Teaming up with Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack, Lauren Bacall played a determined soap opera woman. Lauren Bacall states in her autobiography that she didn't think much of the role. While struggling at home with Bogart's severe illness (cancer of the esophagus), Lauren Bacall starred with Gregory Peck in the 1957 slapstick comedy Designing Woman for rave reviews. It was directed by Vincente Minnelli.
Lauren Bacall was in Murder on the Orient Express. Her big 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 Lauren 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 and Janet Leigh, and Murder on the Orient Express (1974), with Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney and Sean Connery.
For her work in the Chicago theatre, she won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1972 and again in 1984. In 1976, Lauren Bacall co-starred with John Wayne in his last picture, The Shootist. The two became friends, even though Wayne was politically conservative and Bacall was a liberal. They had previously been cast together in 1955's Blood Alley.
During the 1980's, Lauren 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) and Michael Winner's Appointment with Death (1988).
In 1997, Lauren Bacall was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), for which she had already won a Golden Globe. She was widely expected to win the award, which went to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient.
She 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) with Nicole Kidman, The Limit (2003) with Claire Forlani, and Birth (2004), again with Kidman. She is one of the leading actors in Paul Schrader's 2007 movie The Walker.
In March 2006, she was seen at the 78th Annual Academy Awards introducing a film montage dedicated to the film noir genre. She also made a cameo appearance on The Sopranos in April 2006, during which she was punched and robbed by a masked Christopher Moltisanti.
In September 2006, Lauren 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.
Lauren 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.
On May 21, 1945, Lauren 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 in 1951, Lauren Bacall and Bogart became friends of Bogart's co-star Katharine Hepburn and her partner Spencer Tracy.
Lauren 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.
Shortly after Bogart's death in 1957, Lauren 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 Lauren Bacall had reached the press.
Lauren Bacall and her friend Swifty Lazar had run into the gossip columnist Louella Parsons, to whom Lazar had spilled the beans. Sinatra then cut Lauren Bacall off and went to Las Vegas.
Lauren Bacall was married to actor Jason Robards from 1961 to 1969. According to Lauren's autobiography, she divorced Robards mainly because of his alcoholism.
Lauren Bacall had two children with Bogart and one child with Robards. Her children with Bogart are Stephen Bogart, a news producer, documentary film maker and author, and daughter Leslie Bogart, a leading yoga instructor. Sam Robards, her son with Robards, is an actor.
After Robards, Lauren Bacall has not re-married. In her autobiography Now, she recalls having a relationship with Len Cariou, her co-star in Applause.
Lauren Bacall has written two autobiographies, Lauren Bacall By Myself (1978) and Now (1994). In 2005, she re-published the first volume and updated it with an extra chapter. She released it as By Myself and Then Some.
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to Lauren Bacall. She
is known for speaking out her mind and her sarcastic remarks on her colleagues and peers. She has also delivered some of the most famous lines in movie history.
From To Have and Have Not (1944): "You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."
From The Big Sleep (1946): Humphrey Bogart: "What's wrong with you?" Lauren Bacall: "Nothing you can't fix."
From How to Marry a Millionaire (1953): "Look at that old fellow, what's his name, in The African Queen. Absolutely crazy about him!" (in reference to her then-husband, Bogart)
On Howard Hawks
Of Mr. Hawks, Bacall told Larry King on CNN:
"He was a Svengali. He wanted to mold me. He wanted to control me. And he did until Mr. Bogart got involved."
On Frank Sinatra
She told Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne:
"He was a womanizer, he wanted to be in the sack with everybody and I liked that."
She said of Sinatra to Larry King:
"Well, his attention span was not long, shall we say."
On her political leanings
From the Larry King interview:
Bacall: "I'm a total Democrat. I'm anti-Republican. And it's only fair that you know it."
King: "Wait a minute. Are you a liberal?"
Bacall: "I'm a liberal. The L word!"
Bacall was a staunch opponent of McCarthyism along with other Hollywood figures such as Humphrey Bogart.
On Tom Cruise
From the 8 August 2005 issue of Time:
"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."
Lauren Bacall 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 Unamerican Activities Committee.
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. In the article, Bogart distances himself from the Hollywood Ten.
In 1980, Kathryn Harrold played Lauren Bacall in the TV movie Bogie that was directed by Vincent Sherman and was based on the novel by Joe Hymans. Kevin O'Connor played Bogart, and the movie focused primarily upon the disintegration of Bogart's third marriage to Mayo Methot, played by Ann Wedgeworth, when Bogart met Lauren Bacall and began an affair with her.
The conclusion of the Bugs Bunny cartoon Slick Hare (1947) features a blonde likeness of Bacall, addressed by both Bogart and Bugs as "Baby". Bacall is also featured in a cartoon spoof of To Have and Have Not called Bacall to Arms (1946), which stars "Laurie Becool" and "Bogey Gocart" in a film within the cartoon.
In the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita, the song "Rainbow High" has the character of Eva Peron singing "Lauren Bacall me" when she orders her stylist to dress her up for her trip to Europe.
She is mentioned in the chorus for the song "Car Jamming" by punk rock act The Clash.
She is also mentioned in the Madonna song "Vogue", along with other style icons of past decades.
Bon Jovi song "Captain Crash And The Beauty Queen From Mars" mentions her and Bogart.
The Bertie Higgins hit song "Key Largo" refrains "We had it all, just like Bogie and Bacall."
Lauren Bacall was shown on an episode of The Simpsons, "Smoke on the Daughter". She appeared to Lisa in the form of a ghost
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