While still reeling from the death of Robin Williams yesterday, the world has lost another of its legendary performers, screen and stage siren Lauren Bacall, who passed away today in New York at age 89. Noted for her sultry looks and smoky voice, Bacall was one of the last remaining links to the Golden Age of Hollywood, thanks in part to her famed marriage to another screen legend Humphrey Bogart, who died in 1957, and for her own stellar acting career.
Discovered while working as a model, Bacall made her film debut at 19 opposite 45-year-old Bogart in To Have and Have Not. Despite the age difference the two created fireworks on screen and off.
Bacall went on to star in many movies that have become favorites of her gay and lesbian fans, including 1953’s sparkling How to Marry a Millionaire (opposite two other icons, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable), the 1956 melodrama Written on the Wind as Rock Hudson’s love interest, 1957’s colorful Designing Woman, the so-awful-it’s wonderful horror film The Fan in 1981 and, perhaps most notably, as the mother of Barbra Streisand’s character in the 1996 comedy The Mirror Has Two Faces. Bacall received her only Oscar nomination for this role and was considered a shoo-in, but lost in a surprising defeat to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient. In 2010, Bacall was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”
An old school broad with a tough personality, Bacall also made a huge impression on Broadway in 1970’s Applause, a musical adaptation of All About Eve, and in 1981’s Woman of the Year.
And just in case you haven’t read your Facebook newsfeed this evening, Bacall was the last living legend to be name-checked during Madonna‘s rap in her classic “Vogue.”
Watch Bacall perform “But Alive,” a musical number set in a gay bar, from Applause below.
Wow! The day after. Robin Williams. I heard they come in 3s.. Not looking forward to who’s next.
@Tackle: Well we know Joan Rivers is white knuckling it and checking on Betty White every 5 min.
@Lvng1tor: OOOOH, either of those would be devastating. Especially Betty White.
Anyone want to put money on it?
@DarkZephyr: That also would be terrible news. Betty White is the last surviving Golden Girl.
@Stache99: Indeed, and you know that Hot in Cleveland would tank after that. And I adore Hot in Cleveland, largely thanks to Betty White! The other girls are GREAT, I am a big fan of each of those actresses, but Betty White is the star!
I’m willing to wager that up next will be either Kirk Douglas or the Rev. Billy Graham. WAIT—is the reverend even STILL ALIVE?! Or perhaps he’s just in spiritual denial, like Tim Robbins in ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’
She was the best.
She was smart, witty and funny.
And something I didn’t know until today –
She was first cousin of Shimon Peres – Israel’s President and Noble Peace Prize Laureate. They wer both born Perske, but changed it later. Bacall took her mother’s maiden name (with a slight change). interesting.
God bless her, R.I.P.
They’ve been showing clips from “To Have and Have Not” on the news, I can’t believe she was only 19 there, she really held her on in the role! She looked like a very hot 35 year old!
@Tackle: Actually this was the 3rd. First James Garner, then Robin Williams, and 3rd Lauren Bacall.
RIP Lauren Bacall.
@Lvng1tor: I hate to laugh at that but…@Stache99: Good which I hate to use here. So hopefully no more till next year.
Good-bye Ms Bacall. You were one of the Great Ones. I’ll continue to enjoy visiting with you via your films. If I ever need you, I’ll just whistle. You taught me how.
I saw Bacall perform a reading at the World Financial Center back in the 90’s or so and she looked like somebody’s frumpy old grandmother (which she probably was). About a year later, I saw her on The Tonight Show and she was thinner and had a new tight face. She looked like a replicant made to look like a young Lauren Bacall. However, I got the impression that the makeover was done so she could get work, not particularly out of vanity. Towards the end, it seems she just gave up on trying to look like a twenty year old. It is amazing what Bacall experienced in her life.
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