LAUREN BACALL BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Lauren Bacall was born with the birth name, Betty Joan Perske on September 16th, 1924 in New York City, NY to parents of Jewish immigrant decent. Her father, William, was a sales man and her mother, Natalie, was a secretary. At the young age of five, her parents divorced and she remained living with her mother and lost all contact with her father.
After studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and working as a model to pay the bills, Bacall was crowned Miss Greenwich Village in 1942 and also appeared in a Broadway Production, "Johnny2x4".
The husky-voiced former usherette was spotted by Howard Hawks' wife on the cover of Harper's Bazaar and signed her to a seven year contract. Bacall had heard that Hawks was anti-Semitic. Intimidated and inexperienced, she allowed her agent to conceal her religious background from Hawks and offered no objection when Hawks suggested she change her name from 'Betty' to 'Lauren'. She made her debut in film, at the age of 19, opposite Humphrey Bogart, in "To Have and Have Not" (1944) whom she ended up later marrying even though he was 25 years her senior. On May 21, 1945, the couple tied the knot during a modest Connecticut ceremony.
Warner Bros. wanted to showcase Bacall, unfortunately choosing the spy drama “Confidential Agent” (1945) alongside Charles Boyer and Peter Lorre. This film garnered her the worst reviews of her career, luckily she revived her reputation with working on three back to back films with Bogart. "Two Guys from Milwaukee" (1946) with Dennis Morgan, Joan Leslie and Jack Carson and reuniting again with Bogart in Hawks' mesmerizing, "The Big Sleep" (1946). Then in “Dark Passage” and finally in “Key Largo” (1948) co-starring Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson, Claire Trevor, Thomas Gomez, Jay Silverheels and Monte Blue, their fourth and final film, which was a worldwide success and cemented Bacall and Bogart as one of the greatest film partnerships ever.
Bacall was also was temporarily suspended from acting in 1947 for refusing to act in the western, "Stallion Road" opposite Ronald Reagan.
In 1952, Bacall and Bogart started a family, which included son Stephen and daughter Leslie. Bacall also became an outspoken proponent of progressive politics. Bacall continued to work, but very selectively. She appeared in “Young Man with a Horn” (1950) starring with Kirk Douglas, Hoagy Carmichael and Doris Day, “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953) with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable and “Written on the Wind” (1956) co-starring Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack.
Sadly, also during the 1950's, Bogart’s health started a long, slow decline, due, to his massive cigarette habit. Bogart was diagnosed with throat cancer and became increasingly weak and unable to work. Bacall, only 30 years old, chose to put her career aside so she could nurse her ailing husband and spend time with their children. It was a tribute to her professionalism that she shot one of her best comedies, “Designing Women” (1957) with Gregory Peck and Dolores Gray, during Bogart’s last, sad days.
Bogart passed away January 14th, 1957 and Bacall continued to be a movie star and Broadway diva long after. However, for her first time ever in her adult life she was on her own in this career and lifestyle and had to get used to various changes. Bacall briefly had an affair with Frank Sinatra, Bogart’s good friend which ended badly, as it was more a fling of two people united in grief.. Without Bogart on her side, she struggled to find good roles, as well. The tepid drama “The Gift of Love” (1958) opposite Robert Stack was beneath her and the British War film “North West Frontier” (1959) was better, but did nothing to erase the power of her early work.
Almost 40, Bacall married again to actor, Jason Robards. In 1961, Bacall had a child with Robards, Sam, born December 16th, 1961 and once again seemed more focused on family than films. Bacall was dabbling in TV and appeared in just three films: “Shock Treatment” (1964) featuring Stuart Whitman, Carol Lynley and Roddy McDowall, “Sex and the Single Girl” (1964) with Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer and Tony Curtis and “Harper” (1966) with Paul Newman, Julie Harris, Arthur Hill, Robert Wagner, Shelley Winters, Strother Martin, Pamela Tiffin and Janet Leigh.
Unfortunately, her marriage to Robards did not last due to his problem with alcohol abuse and in 1969 they divorced.
Bacall turned her entertaining career in a new direction and decided to focus on being a stage actress. She found success in the play, “Cactus Flower” during the mid-60's. followed by the Broadway musical, “Applause” (1970), which became a fantastic success. Bacall won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and powered the play through a national tour and a London staging. Adapted for TV, “Applause” (CBS, 1973) earned Bacall more rave reviews and an Emmy nomination.
In 1974, after an eight year hiatus, Bacall returned to the screen in, "Murder on the Orient Express" starring Albert Finney, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark, Michael York, Jacqueline Bisset and John Gielgud, making a smooth transition to playing older women. She then worked with John Wayne in his final film role on, "The Shootist" (1976) starring alongside James Stewart, Ron Howard and Harry Morgan.
Bacall came to the realization she had more success and better material to work with when she returned to the stage. In 1981, she re-invented the role made famous by Katharine Hepburn in the stage version of the movie, “Woman of the Year” (1942) and again, the play was a huge success.
When film roles were offered that she felt suited her, Bacall did not decline. She appeared in “Mr. North” (1988) starring alongside Robert Mitchum, Anthony Edwards, Harry Dean Stanton and Anjelica Huston, “Misery” (1990) with James Caan, Kathy Bates and Richard Farnsworth and “Ready to Wear” (1994) with a host of international stars including Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts, Marcello Mastroianni, Kim Basinger, Sally Kellerman, Tim Robbins, Tracey Ullman and Forest Whitaker to name a few. Barbra Streisand directed Bacall in “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (1996) with Jeff Bridges, George Segal, Mimi Rogers, Brenda Vaccaro and Pierce Brosnan which lead her to her only Oscar nomination and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.
Even entering into her 80's, Bacall appeared in two other films, “Dogville” (2003) starring Nicole Kidman and the intriguing but unsatisfying thriller “Birth” (2004) also starring Nicole Kidman and featuring Cameron Bright and Danny Huston. Both were not very successful but again she decided to work in 2007 on “The Walker”, another fascinating failure.
Lauren Bacall Received an honorary degree from Columbia University in 1998. She still works today, regardless of salary or box office sales, she looks at each acting project as a opportunity and learning experience to work with new people in the industry and share experiences with one another.
In 1991 she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The always classy yet sultry Lauren Bacall passed away at age 89 on August 12, 2014 due to a stroke at her home in New York City.
2010 Today: Episode
2009 America's Heartland: Episode
2007 The Walker
2006 The Sopranos: Luxury Lounge
2006 Breakfast With the Arts
2006 Martha Stewart Show
2006 Breakfast With the Arts
2005 Private Screenings
2005 The View: Episode
2005 Early Show: Episode
2005 Early Show: Episode
2005 Private View: Episode
2005 Charlie Rose: Episode
2005 Larry King Live: Episode
2005 Breakfast With the Arts
2005 Today: Episode
2005 Larry King Live: Episode
2004 Today: Episode
2003 Biography: Alec Guinness: A Class Act
2002 The View: Episode
2002 Rosie O'Donnell: Episode
2002 Today: Episode
2001 The Directors: Barbra Streisand
2000 Rosie O'Donnell: Episode
1999 Get Bruce!
1998 Chicago Hope: Absent Without Leave
1996 My Fellow Americans
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces
1996 The Line King
1995 From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
1994 Ready To Wear (Pret-A-Porter)
1993 A Foreign Field
1991 All I Want For Christmas
1989 Innocent Victim
1988 Mr. North
1988 Appointment With Death
1981 The Fan
1979 Rockford Files: Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs
1976 The Shootist
1974 Murder On The Orient Express
1964 Sex And The Single Girl
1964 Shock Treatment
1959 Flame Over India
1958 The Gift Of Love
1957 Designing Woman
1956 Written On The Wind
1955 Blood Alley
1955 The Cobweb
1954 Woman's World
1953 How To Marry A Millionaire
1950 Young Man With A Horn
1950 Bright Leaf
1948 Key Largo
1947 Dark Passage
1946 Two Guys From Milwaukee
1946 The Big Sleep
1945 Confidential Agent
1944 To Have And Have Not