RIP: Remembering Legendary Screen Actress Lauren Bacall

RIP: Remembering Legendary Screen Actress Lauren Bacall

Aug 13, 2014

To Have and Have Not / How to Marry a Millionaire / The Fan

Legendary screen actress Lauren Bacall has died, according to multiple sources. She was 89.

Bacall made her film debut at the age of 19 opposite Humphrey Bogart in 1944's To Have and Have Not. The former model appeared to be a natural on-screen, her smoky voice and sexy presence quickly capturing the attention of movie audiences worldwide. In private, she also captivated Bogart, who was in his early 40s. They married in 1945, made four more films as a couple (including The Big Sleep and Key Largo), and had two children, happily remaining together until Bogart died in 1957.

Apart from Bogart, Bacall made a number of films in the 1950s, the most notable being the colorful musical How to Marry a Millionaire with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in 1953. After Bogart died, she seemed to go out of fashion in Hollywood, so she moved to New York City and focused her energies on the Broadway stage. For the remainder of her career, she would seesaw between the coasts, appearing in movies only when she saw the opportunity to act in good roles. Notable opportunities arose in 1974, when she joined the all-star cast in the Agatha Christie mystery Murder on the Orient Express, and in 1976, when she played opposite John Wayne in his final screen role, The Shootist.

Her popularity on Broadway meant she had more choices onstage than on-screen, but she seemed to relish her acting opportunities in movies and on television shows, making the most of small roles in movies like Robert Altman's Health (1980) and Rob Reiner's Misery (1990), and sizzling when she had larger roles in The Fan (1981) and Danny Huston's Mr. North (1988).

She got busier on the big and small screens in the 1990s, making some 20 appearances in the decade, with Barbra Streisand's drama The Mirror Has Two Faces -- for which she won a Golden Globe award -- and the political comedy My Fellow Americans, opposite Jack Lemmon and James Garner, standing out.

Somehow she became even more adventurous in the past decade, accepting the chance to work for bold independent directors like Lars von Trier (Dogville and Manderlay), Jonathan Glazer (Birth) and Paul Schrader (The Walker). As she aged, she never lost the powerful edge that marked her most memorable screen performances. 

In many ways, Lauren Bacall was a larger-than-life presence, sharp of tongue with a quick mind. She demonstrated a "no fuss, no muss" attitude on-screen, and always commanded attention wherever she popped up. She may have burst forth in the silver-screen era, but she survived to the present day with the same sassy attitude and self-confidence that made her a star in the first place.

Lauren Bacall was one of a kind.

 

 

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