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Remembering Lauren Bacall




April 16, 1951: Humphrey De Forest Bogart (1899 - 1957), American film actor with his wife Lauren Bacall, originally Betty Joan Perske
April 16, 1951: Humphrey De Forest Bogart (1899 - 1957), American film actor with his wife Lauren Bacall, originally Betty Joan Perske
Victor Drees/Getty Images

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Much has been said about actress Lauren Bacall since we learned of her death late yesterday: Her stunning beauty. Her storybook romance and marriage to Humphrey Bogart. Her tendency to tell it like it is and take no prisoners, in life, as in the movies.

Bacall went on to have a full professional life, making films with Bogart like "Key Largo" and "The Big Sleep." She also became active politically during the '50s, protesting the Hollywood Blacklist of suspected communists, and supporting progressive candidates.

When her film career faltered, she turned to the stage and conquered it, winning two Tony awards. She wrote a well-received autobiography, and she raised three children.

Her role as Slim in "To Have and To Have Not" created a lasting public image: Tough. Brassy. Confident. It was an image that was comfortable to her in some ways, and in others, not so much.

It's not so unusual for performers to be best remembered for their first hit. It's hard to think of Elvis without "Hound Dog," or to forget Tom Cruise in "Risky Business."

For Bacall, it was that little scene about whistling. One that was racy then, and still seems provocative, seventy years after she spoke the words...
 


Bacall died yesterday at her home in New York. She was 89.