One of the most iconic figures of Hollywood’s Golden Age is no longer with us. Today, sultry-voiced actress Lauren Bacall died at the age of 89 after suffering a massive stroke, multiple sources confirm.
Bacall is perhaps best known for her partnership with fellow Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart, both on-screen and off. In 1944 classic To Have and Have Not, Bacall’s first big screen role (and the one in which she delivered her most iconic line: “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow”), the sparks between the two ignited one of the film industry’s most enduring love stories. The pair married the next year and went on to star in such 1940s classics as The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo, staying together until Bogart’s death in 1957. Bacall was later engaged to Frank Sinatra and married another acting legend, Jason Robards Jr., in 1961, only to divorce him eight years later.
Bacall also flourished in films without Bogart. She’s still considered one of the best film noir actresses, but her comedic chops were put on full display in later titles like How to Marry a Millionaire, Designing Woman and Sex and the Single Girl. Across the board, Bacall was respected as one of Hollywood’s most stunning and spirited starlets, but she also made a splash on Broadway, winning Tony Awards for Applause and Woman of the Year.
Bacall’s career longevity was impressive; she worked steadily through the ’60s, then experienced a career renaissance in the ’70s thanks to Murder on the Orient Express. As the decades passed by, Bacall consistently took on smaller roles in a variety of projects, stretching all the way up to 2012’s The Forger. Bacall also served as a muse of sorts to Lars von Trier, starring in his films Dogville and Manderlay. In total, she appeared in over 40 movies.
Oddly enough, Bacall never received an Oscar for any of her performances, not even earning a nomination until the 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces, in which she played the mother of Barbra Streisand’s protagonist. That same performance won Bacall a Golden Globe award. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did rectify decades of oversight in 2010 by providing Bacall with an honorary Oscar “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”
An inimitable fixture in American pop culture thanks to her distinctively husky voice and talent for playing beautiful and mysterious women of glamor, Lauren Bacall was truly one of the greats.
Source: The New York Times