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Lauren Bacall

( b. Sep 16, 1924 New York, New York, USA - d. Aug 12, 2014 New York, New York, USA ) Female
Also known as: Betty Bacall
Betty Joan Perske [Birthname]
Relations: Mother of Sam Robards
Wife of Humphrey Bogart (1945 - 1957) his death
Wife of Jason Robards Jr. (1961 - 1969) divorced
Lauren Bacall was an actress whose provocative glamour elevated her to stardom in Hollywood's golden age and whose lasting mystique put her on a plateau in American culture that few stars reach. With an insinuating pose and a seductive, throaty voice -- her simplest remark sounded like a jungle mating call, one critic said -- Ms. Bacall shot to fame in 1944 with her first movie, Howard Hawks's adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel "To Have and Have Not," playing opposite Humphrey Bogart, who became her lover on the set and later her husband.

The film was the first of more than 40 for Ms. Bacall, among them "The Big Sleep" and "Key Largo" with Bogart, "How to Marry a Millionaire" with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, "Designing Woman" with Gregory Peck, the all-star "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974) and, later in her career, Lars von Trier's "Dogville" (2003) and "Manderlay" (2005) and Robert Altman's "Prét-à-Porter" (1994).

But few if any of her movies had the impact of her first. Indeed, her film career was a story of ups, downs and long periods of inactivity. Though she received an honorary Academy Award in 2009 "in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures," she was not nominated for an Oscar until 1997.

The theater was kinder to her. She won Tonys for her starring roles in two musicals adapted from classic films: Applause (1970), based on "All About Eve," and Woman of the Year (1981), based on the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movie of the same name. Earlier she starred on Broadway in the comedies Goodbye, Charlie (1959) and Cactus Flower (1965).

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske in Brooklyn, the daughter of William and Natalie Perske, Jewish immigrants from Poland and Romania. Her parents were divorced when she was 6 years old, and her mother moved to Manhattan and adopted the second half of her maiden name, Weinstein-Bacal.

Although finances were a problem as she was growing up, her mother's family was close-knit, and through an uncle's generosity she attended the Highland Manor school for girls in Tarrytown, N.Y., where she graduated from grade school at 11. She went on to Julia Richman High School in Manhattan and also studied acting at the New York School of the Theater and ballet with Mikhail Mordkin.

After graduation in 1940, Ms. Bacall became a full-time student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts but left after the first year; her family could no longer subsidize her, and the academy at the time did not offer scholarships to women.

So she turned to modeling, and in 1941, at 16, she landed jobs with David Crystal, a Seventh Avenue dress manufacturer, and Sam Friedlander, who made evening gowns. During lunch hours she would stand outside Sardi's selling copies of Actor's Cue, a casting tip sheet, hoping to catch the attention of producers. She also became an usher at Broadway theaters and a hostess at the newly opened Stage Door Canteen.

Her first theater role was a walk-on in a Broadway play called Johnny 2 x 4. It paid $15 a week and closed in eight weeks, but she looked back on the experience as "magical." Another stab at modeling, with the Walter Thornton agency, proved disappointing, but her morale soared in July 1942, with a sentence by George Jean Nathan in Esquire: "The prettiest theater usher -- the tall slender blonde in the St. James Theater right aisle, during the Gilbert & Sullivan engagement -- by general rapt agreement among the critics, but the bums are too dignified to admit it." Later that year she was cast by the producer Max Gordon in Franklin Street, a comedy directed by George S. Kaufman, which closed out of town. It was her last time onstage for 17 years.

Source: The New York Times obituary 

ProductionsDate of Productions
Waiting in the Wings
[Play, Original]
  • Starring: Lauren Bacall [Lotta Bainbridge]
Dec 16, 1999 - May 28, 2000
Woman of the Year
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Starring: Lauren Bacall [Tess Harding]
Mar 29, 1981 - Mar 13, 1983
[Musical, Original]
  • Starring: Lauren Bacall [Margo Channing]
Mar 30, 1970 - Jul 27, 1972
Cactus Flower
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Starring: Lauren Bacall [Stephanie]
Dec 08, 1965 - Nov 23, 1968
Goodbye, Charlie
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Starring: Lauren Bacall [Charlie]
Dec 16, 1959 - Mar 19, 1960
Johnny 2 X 4
[Play, Melodrama, Original]
  • Performer: Betty Bacall [Ensemble]
Mar 16, 1942 - May 09, 1942
Special EventsDate of Special Events
Angela Lansbury - A Celebration
[Special, Benefit, Original]
  • Starring: Lauren Bacall [Performer]
Nov 17, 1996 - Nov 17, 1996
V.I.P. Night on Broadway
[Special, Benefit, Original]
  • Starring: Lauren Bacall
Apr 22, 1979 - Apr 22, 1979
1981 Tony Award® Best Actress in a Musical
nomineeWoman of the Year [winner]
Starring: Lauren Bacall
1970 Tony Award® Best Actress in a Musical
nomineeApplause [winner]
Starring: Lauren Bacall
1970 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Performance
nomineeApplause [winner]
Starring: Lauren Bacall
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