Lauren Bacall didn’t know it (and I could kick myself for not telling her) but I adored her from the day I was born….or at least could read and had figured out the difference between Betty Furness selling Fridgidaires and Mrs Bogart selling paradise on the glossy pages of Life and Silver Screen.
The second best thing that ever happened to Betty Perske ~~ after falling in love with Humphrey B when she was 18 ~~~ was that she was born in Brooklyn. She’s quoted as saying that growing up in NYC, riding the buses and subways, you find out fast: The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing. Bless her heart. She may have been attached at the hip to fabulous Bogie, but she maintained a glorious sense of independence, a radiant kind of wholeness that Katherine Hepburn also had, nobody’s fool, hard-working, smart, sexy.
Bacall says she virtually ended her career marrying Humphrey Bogart (wouldn’t have changed it for the world ~~ happiest years of her life) after the success of Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not; made a couple of stinker movies after Key Largo, and spent the next ten years proving she could act. And never stopped working, loved the theatre, loved what she did and we loved her doing it.
I was probably most touched to read (excellent NYT bio by somebody who loved her, not just an empty page) that she said she’d lived a magical life. She knew she lived a magical life. Hoorah, Lauren !!!
She sparkled in it. By Hollywood excesses she lived modestly, and happily. When she gives her: ”You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve?” line to Bogart, watch the camera cut to his reaction when she exits the room. The man loses it, he’s floored, he’s laughing at his own stunned, totally impressed adoring that altered his senses. That’s a drug worth taking. It’s called feeling, and sensing and responding and being alive and in love. Thanks for that. Both of you. We all felt it. Sweet.
Lauren Bacall September 1924 ~ August 2014