RIP: Lauren Bacall
Gods, I love Lauren Bacall — elegant, smart, witty, husky voiced, strong-willed. I loved her hair, her movies, her romance with Humphrey Bogart, her graceful ballsy aging. This elegant, intelligent no-BS woman has died at 89 of stroke-related complications, and with her passing a great deal of Hollywood history is gone.
Her movies with Bogey were my favorite, Dark Passage my ultimate fave, but who can forget this sexy scene from The Big Sleep?
Or this classic from To Have and Have Not, where the legendary couple met:
Bacall had impeccable comic timing:
And she wrote a great autobiography, By Myself (and the revised edition By Myself and Then Some, which detailed her career, her marriage to the older Bogey (who died when she was 32 of esophageal cancer), her engagement to Frank Sinatra (which he ended over phone), and her later marriage to Jason Robards. Vanity Fair details her later career thusly:
Bacall, who had bought an apartment in 1961 in New York’s legendary Dakota building (where she would live for the rest of her life), found a new home on Broadway, winning best-actress Tonys for 1970’s Applause (the musical based on All About Eve, with Bacall playing the diva role made famous by her idol and friend Bette Davis) and 1981’s Woman of the Year (in a role originated on-screen by another Bacall pal, Katharine Hepburn). She continued to shine on-screen in such films as The Shootist (her last romantic lead, opposite John Wayne, in his last movie), The Fan, Misery, and The Mirror Has Two Faces, where, as Barbra Streisand’s imperious mother, she finally earned her first and only Oscar nomination at 72. (The Academy finally gave her an honorary award for lifetime achievement in 2009.)
Bacall remained an icon of old-school glamour and poise, even as she continued to take risks in her work (appearing in Lars von Trier’s experimental film Dogville in 2003, or playing a version of herself who gets mugged by a mobster in a 2006 episode of The Sopranos).
Bacall was astounding, and affected me so deeply growing up, those cheekbones, the non-traditional (by California standards of surfer girls) beauty, the voice, oh the voice. All the angels know how to whistle now.