Variety sadly reports that actress and film icon Lauren Bacall died from a suspected stroke at her home in Manhattan, with the Bogart estate confirming the news on Twitter.
With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall. pic.twitter.com/B8ZJnZtKhN
— BogartEstate (@HumphreyBogart) August 12, 2014
Born Betty Joan Perske to William Perske and Natalie Weinstein-Bacall (who legally changed the name to “Bacall”) Betty Bacall worked as both a theater usher and part-time fashion model while attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. When a picture of Bacall in Vogue was spotted by To Have Or Have Not director Howard Hawks’ wife Nancy, Hawks’ secretary mistakenly sent Bacall a ticket to Hollywood for an audition. It was then that Hawks signed her to a seven-year personal contract with a salary of $100 a week, changed “Betty” to “Lauren,” and became her manager.
To Have Or Have Not also marks the beginning of one of the most iconic romances in Hollywood, as this is where Bogey (Humphrey Bogart) met Bacall.
(If you’ve ever wondered where the “You know how to whistle?” line comes from, it’s also from this film)
Bacall went on to star in other iconic films including The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, Key Largo (all with Bogart) and in 1953, starred with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in How To Marry A Millionaire.
Behold the iconic “Cold Cuts” scene:
Bacall’s film career slowed down in the ’60s and ’70s but in the interim she walked the boards of Broadway, earning herself two Tony awards for her performances in 1970’s “Applause” and 1981’s “Woman Of The Year” as well as picking up two Sarah Siddons Awards in 1972 and 1984. In 1997 she received a Kennedy Center Honor and in 1999, she was voted one of the “25 Most Significant Female Movie Stars In History” by AFI.
Bacall continued working throughout her life in film, commercials and TV. Most of you may recognize her from either her role as James Caan’s literary agent in Misery or when she appeared as herself while being mugged by Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) in the “Luxury Lounge” episode of “The Sopranos” from season 6.
One of Bacall’s last roles was that of Evelyn, family friend of Peter’s mom in the ‘Mom’s The Word’ episode of “Family Guy” (scroll ahead to 5:37 to see Bacall’s first appearance in the episode).
While I’m sad she’s gone, I’m happy to know that she and her beloved Bogey are together once again.
Bacall is survived by her three children – two with Bogart and one with actor Sam Robards.
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