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Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow!

Name:
Betty Joan Perske
Birthdate:
16 September
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924 in New York City. Her parents were middle-class with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary. They divorced when she was five. When she was a young school girl, Lauren originally wanted to be a dancer, but later became enthralled with acting so she switched gears to head into that field. She had studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, after high school, which enabled her to get her feet wet in some off-Broadway productions.

Once out of school, Lauren entered modeling and, because of her beauty, appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, one of the most popular magazines in the US. The wife of famed director, Howard Hawks spotted the picture in the publication and arranged with her husband to have Lauren take a screen test. As a result, which was entirely positive, she was given a part as Marie Browning in To Have and Have Not (1944), a thriller opposite the great Humphrey Bogart, when she was just 19 years old. This not only set the tone for a fabulous career, but also one of Hollywood's greatest love stories (she married him in 1945.) It was, also, the first of several Bogie-Bacall films.

After 1945's Confidential Agent (1945), Lauren received second billing in The Big Sleep (1946) with Bogart. The mystery, in the role of Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, was a resounding success. Although she was making one film a year, each production would be eagerly awaited by the public. In 1947, again with her husband, Lauren starred in the thriller Dark Passage (1947). The film kept movie patrons on the edge of their seats. The following year she starred with Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and Lionel Barrymore in Key Largo (1948). The crime drama was even more of a nail biter than the previous film. In 1950, Lauren played in Bright Leaf (1950), a drama set in 1894. It was a film of note because she appeared without her husband - her co-star was Gary Cooper. In 1953, Lauren appeared in her first comedy as Schatze Page in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). The film, with co-stars Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, was a smash hit all across the theaters of America.

After filming Designing Woman (1957) which was released in 1957, Humphrey Bogart died on January 14, 1957 from throat cancer. Devastated at being a widow, Lauren returned to the silver screen with The Gift of Love (1958) in 1958 opposite Robert Stack. The production turned out to be a big disappointment. Not undaunted, Lauren moved back to New York City and appeared in several Broadway plays to huge critical acclaim. She was enjoying playing before live audiences and the audiences in turn enjoyed her fine performances. Lauren was away from the big screen for five years returning in 1964 to appear in Shock Treatment (1964) and Sex and the Single Girl (1964). The latter film was a comedy starring Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis. In 1966, Lauren starred in Harper (1966) with Paul Newman and Julie Harris. It was one of Newman's signature films. Alternating her time between films and the stage, Lauren returned in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express (1974). The film, based on Agatha Christie's best selling book was a huge hit. Actually, the huge star studded cast helped to ensure its success. Two years later, in 1976, Lauren co-starred with John Wayne in The Shootist (1976). The film was Wayne's last - he died from cancer in 1979.

In 1981, Lauren played an actress being stalked by a crazed admirer in The Fan (1981). The thriller was absolutely fascinating with Lauren in the lead role. After that production, Lauren was away from films, again, this time for seven years. In the interim, she again appeared on the stages of Broadway. When she returned, it was for the filming of 1988's Mr. North (1988). After Misery (1990), in 1990, and several made for television films, Lauren appeared in 1996's My Fellow Americans (1996). It was a wonderful comedy romp with Jack Lemmon and James Garner as two ex-presidents and their escapades.

Facts

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#6). [1995]

Ranked #20 in the AFI's top 25 Actress Legends.

She has a daughter and a son from her marriage to Humphrey Bogart: Leslie and Stephen H. Bogart.

Ranked #11 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Mother of actor Sam Robards.

Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. [1997]

Bacall was staying in the same New York apartment building as Beatle John Lennon when he was shot (and later died on 8th December in the Roosevelt Hospital) in 1980. When interviewed on the subject in a recent UK TV programme hosted by former model Twiggy, Bacall said she had heard the gunshot but assumed that it was a car tire bursting or a vehicle backfiring.

Was crowned "Miss Greenwich Village" in 1942.

Used her mother's maiden name of Bacal, but added an extra "L" when she entered the cinema.

Shortly after Humphrey Bogart's death, she announced her engagement to Frank Sinatra to the press. Mr. Sinatra promptly backed out.

Her screen personna was totally based and modeled after Howard Hawks's wife, Slim. She even uses her name in To Have and Have Not (1944).

She and former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres (currently the foreign minister) are cousins. Both have the same original last name -- Perske.

Those close to her call her by her real first name, "Betty".

Still undiscovered, Bacall volunteered as a hostess at the New York chapter of the Stage Door Canteen, working Monday nights when theaters were closed.

Having lost her job as a showroom model and quit acting school for lack of funds, the teenage Bacall found work as a Broadway theater usher. George Jean Nathan voted her the prettiest usher of the 1942 season in the pages of "Esquire".

An only child.

One of the initial "Rat Pack" with Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Irving Paul Lazar (aka "Swifty" Lazar), Judy Garland and their close friends.

Won a Tony for her role as Margo Channing in the Broadway production of "Applause", a musical based on the movie, All About Eve (1950). It was presented by Walter Matthau.

With former husband Humphrey Bogart, has a kind of vocal disorder named after her. "Bogart-Bacall syndrome"' (or BBS) is a form of muscle tension dysphonia most common in professional voice users (actors, singers, TV/radio presenters, etc) who habitually use a very low speaking pitch. BBS is more common among women than men and has been blamed on "social pressure on professional women to compete with men in the business arena".

Measurements: 34-26-34 (her 1940 modeling card) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Her autobiography, "By Myself", won a National Book Award in 1980

Actress Kathleen Turner has often been compared to Bacall. When Turner and Bacall met, Turner reportedly introduced herself to Bacall by saying "Hi, I'm the young you."

Her marriage to Humphrey Bogart occured at the Pleasant Valley area of Richland County, Ohio home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm (now within the township of Lucas, Ohio). The home is now an Ohio State Park.

Katharine Hepburn, her long-time friend, is the godmother of her son, Sam Robards.

Has won two Tony Awrds as Best Actress (Musical): in 1970, for her role as Margo Channing in "Applause", based on the movie, All About Eve (1950); and in 1981, for "Woman of the Year," also based on a movie of the same name, Woman of the Year (1942).

As of 2005 she is the only surviving legend mentioned in a popular phrase from Madonna's 1990 #1 hit song "Vogue". Other legends mentioned: Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Grace Kelly, Jean Harlow, Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth and Bette Davis, who all died before the release of the song. Marlene Dietrich, Joe DiMaggio, Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn and Lana Turner all died in following years.

Is mentioned along with former husband Humphrey Bogart in the 1980s song "Key Largo" ("We had it all, just like Bogart and Bacall").

Her appearance on a cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine at 18 years of age, led to her first film role; she was spotted by the wife of director Howard Hawks, who gave her a screen test and cast her in To Have and Have Not (1944).

Originally wanted to be a dancer.

Pictures
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Here I am with my husband Humphrey Bogart on the set of "To Have and Have Not" I guess you could say we feel in love during the filming of this movie!

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Here we are sailing! One of Bogie's favorite pastimes!

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Here we are for a family photo. Our children are Stephen and Leslie.

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Here we are with Marilyn Monroe at the premiere of "How to Marry a Millionaire."

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After Bogie's death I was engaged to Frank Sinatra.

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Most of these photos are from www.laurenbacall.com Feel free to visit!

[Just as a disclaimer, I'm obviously not really Lauren Bacall-or affiliated in any way with her estate-just a great fan who will have fun playing her at classic_rpg and try my best to do the lady justice! ]

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