Lauren Bacall

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Lauren Bacall (1944)

Lauren Bacall [ ˌlɔrən bəˈkɔːl ] (born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924 in the Bronx , New York , † August 12, 2014 in Manhattan , New York) was an American actress .

She was one of the screen legends of the “golden era” of Hollywood and played alongside stars such as her husband Humphrey Bogart , John Wayne , Rock Hudson , Gary Cooper , Marilyn Monroe , Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas during her 68-year career . Her most famous films include her screen debut haben und nichthaben (1944), the thriller Dead Sleep tight (1946) and Gangsters in Key Largo (1948), the love comedy How do you fish for a millionaire? (1953) and the film Love Has Two Faces (1996), for which she received a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination.

In the 1970s, Bacall also celebrated great success as a stage actress on Broadway . She received the Tony Award for her portrayals in the musicals Applause and Woman of the Year . The American Film Institute voted her 20th out of the 25 greatest female movie stars in 1999 . In 2009 she received the honorary Oscar for her life's work.

life and work

Early years

Lauren Bacall was born on September 16, 1924 as the only child of William Perske (* 1889 as Wulf Persky; † 1982) and Natalie Weinstein (* 1901 in Romania ; † 1972) in the Bronx . Her German-Romanian mother came to the United States as a toddler with her grandparents, Maximillian and Sophie Weinstein. Some of her father's ancestors came from France ; Bacall's paternal cousin was the top Israeli politician and former President Shimon Peres .

Bacall spent the first years of his life in Brooklyn . Her parents divorced when she was six years old. From then on she lived with her mother, who worked as a secretary, with her grandparents in Manhattan . Contact with the father finally broke off. Natalie Perske had both her and her daughter's surname changed to Bacal, the Romanian version of her maiden name Weinstein. It later became Bacall to facilitate pronunciation.

With the financial support of a wealthy uncle, Bacall attended the private girls' school Highland Manor in Tarrytown , where she was involved in the theater company. She later went to Julia Richman High School in Manhattan and worked as a model from the age of 16. While in high school, she initially dreamed of becoming a professional dancer, but then decided to take up acting and enrolled at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts for a year . This enabled her to gain first stage experience in some off-Broadway productions.

In addition to studying acting, she worked as an usher in the St. James Theater. The theater critic George Jean Nathan named her the "prettiest usher" in Manhattan in one of his articles for Esquire Magazine . “That really flattered me. Getting the attention of someone - anyone - who was respected in theatrical circles was something. It didn't get me a role, but it couldn't hurt either, and it was better than just disappearing into oblivion, ”Bacall later recalled.

From March to May 1942, Bacall made her Broadway debut in Rowland Brown's Johnny 2 × 4 at the Longacre Theater. In the same year she won the “Miss Greenwich Village” election and got her first major role in George Simon Kaufman's play Franklin Street, which, however, flopped in the test performance in Washington DC and was therefore unable to give the actress the breakthrough she had longed for.

Beginnings of the Hollywood career

In 1942, influential acquaintances arranged a meeting between Bacall and Diana Vreeland , then fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar . Vreeland was enraptured by the young actress, and Bacall made it to the cover of the March 1943 issue of the magazine. After Hollywood director Howard Hawks discovered Bacall's picture, he invited her for a test film. Bacall on Hawks: “It was Howard Hawks who changed my life. He was looking for a girl he could reinvent according to his own ideas, he wanted to create a sex symbol and make me a big star. ”And Bacall was the type of woman who lived in Hollywood in the late 1930s and early 1940s what was in demand: strong characters like Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck redefined the classic female role ; Women were suddenly allowed to be powerful and not just simply unfathomable. To underline this type, Bacall no longer called himself Betty, but Lauren.

Bogart (left) and Bacall interviewing Jack Brown of Armed Forces Radio Services during World War II

She was signed by Warner Bros. , and Howard Hawks cast her in his 1944 film, To Have and Not to Have (1944), which also marked Bacall's screen debut, as femme fatale alongside Hollywood great Humphrey Bogart . Bacall later recalled her fear during the first scene when she asked Bogart to light her cigarette: “My hand was shaking. My head was shaking. The cigarette trembled. I wondered what Howard must be thinking. What did Bogart and the crew think? It was horrible. The only way to keep my head still was to lower it, my chin almost to my chest, and look up at Bogart. ”This posture and this look - along with Bacall's hoarse sounding voice - soon became her trademarks the canvas.

During the filming, the then 19-year-old Bacall and the 25-year-old Bogart fell in love, but the relationship had to be kept secret at first, as Bogart was still married to the actress Mayo Methot . Hawks, who soon found out about the affair between his two main characters, used the attraction between Bogart and Bacall for his film by having them appear together in even more scenes. To have and not to have came to US cinemas in October 1944 and attracted a crowd of film audiences who wanted to see the chemistry between Bacall and Bogart for themselves. After divorcing Methot, Bogart and Bacall were married on May 21, 1945 on a farm in Lucas County , Ohio .

In the same year, Bacall's second film, Hunt in the Fog , appeared alongside Charles Boyer and Peter Lorre . In the film directed by Herman Shumlin , Bacall plays an English spy and she had to learn a British accent for the role. She later admitted that she hadn't done this very well. She only shot the film because Jack L. Warner pushed her into the project. Bacall later fought more successfully against roles that were prescribed to her by the film studio, although they did not appeal to her. “If you didn't play what the studio asked you to do, you got suspended. And I was suspended! I broke the contract. Studio boss Jack Warner had a simple philosophy: I'll pay her, so she'll fucking do what I want her to do. And he sent me terrible scripts. "

In Dead Sleep Firmly (1946) she worked again with Bogart and directed by Howard Hawks. Bacall and Bogart also played side by side in Delmer Daves ' The Black Snake (1947) and in John Huston's Gangster in Key Largo (1948). Bacall became pregnant at the end of the 1940s, which is why she took some cuts in her job to look after her and Bogart's first child, Steven Humphrey , who was born on January 6, 1949.

Career in the 1950 / 1960s

1950 Bacall worked twice under the direction of Michael Curtiz in the films The Man of Her Dreams with Kirk Douglas and Doris Day and Between Two Women at the side of Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal .

Bacall and Bogart's second child was born on August 23, 1952. In her first film after the birth of daughter Leslie Howard, Bacall starred with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in How do you fish for a millionaire? (1953) by director Jean Negulesco . A year later she also shot the drama The world belongs to women with him .

In 1955, Bacall and Bogart were offered the lead roles in William A. Wellman's adventure film The Yellow Stream . While Bacall came to an agreement with the producers, Bogart turned down the role of Capt. Wilder leaves because the film budget was insufficient for his fee claim of $ 500,000. The part on the side of Bacall was finally taken over by John Wayne , and the film celebrated its world premiere on October 1, 1955. Bacall then starred with Rock Hudson in the film adaptation In the Wind (1956).

Humphrey Bogart died of esophageal cancer in January 1957 in their Los Angeles home . Bacall was a widow at 32 and a single mother of two children aged eight and four. She later recalled, “It took me years to come to terms with this. Actually I haven't got over his death to this day. You never get over things like that. "

A few months later, she had a brief affair with Frank Sinatra . The couple were also secretly engaged for a short time, but Sinatra broke the bond after the press found out. After the death of her husband, Bacall first appeared with Why did I say yes? (1957) to be seen again on the big screen. This was followed by Gift of Love (1958) and the British adventure film Burning India (1959) by J. Lee Thompson .

Bacall then moved back to the east coast , where she appeared on stage from December 1959 to March 1960 in the Broadway play Goodbye, Charlie at the Lyceum Theater. In New York, the actress met her colleague Jason Robards , whom she married in 1961. Their son Sam Robards was born on December 16, 1961.

Bacall was only sporadically seen on the big screen in the 1960s. In 1964 she starred in the little-noticed film The Murderer with Secateurs by director Denis Sanders and directed the romantic comedy ... and single girls with Tony Curtis , Natalie Wood and Henry Fonda , directed by Richard Quine . Finally, she appeared in Jack Smight's thriller A Case for Harper (1966).

From December 1965 to November 1968, Bacall gave over 1,000 performances as Stephanie Dickinson in the Broadway play Cactus Flower, which was later filmed with Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau in the lead roles. In 1969, Bacall and Robards were divorced.

Career in the 1970 / 1980s

On March 30, 1970, the Broadway musical Applause premiered at the New York Palace Theater. By July 1972, Bacall appeared in over 800 performances as Margo Channing and received the Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical for this role . In the 1973 television adaptation of the play, Bacall took over the lead role again, which earned her an Emmy nomination.

In 1974, the filming of Agatha Christie's crime novel Murder on the Orient Express took place in Europe. In the film, Bacall played, directed by Sidney Lumet, in a star cast ensemble, which u. a. also included Ingrid Bergman, Vanessa Redgrave , Sean Connery , Albert Finney, and John Gielgud . Murder on the Orient Express celebrated its world premiere on November 24, 1974 in the United States. With her colleague John Gielgud, Bacall played again 14 years later in an Agatha Christie film: Rendezvous with a Corpse (1988).

Lauren Bacall (1989)

In Don Siegel's western The Shootist (1976), Bacall starred alongside John Wayne in his last film, James Stewart and Ron Howard . For the role of Bond Rogers, she received a British Academy Film Award nomination for best actress in 1977 .

In 1978 she starred with Ruth Gordon in the television film Ladies with a White Waistcoat based on the script by Nora Ephron and directed by Jackie Cooper . At the side of James Garner , she was in 1979 in a double episode of the series Detective Rockford - a call is enough to see again on television and received her second Emmy nomination for her performance.

She returned to the big screen with Robert Altman's The Health Congress (1980), followed by Edward Bianchi's The Fanatic (1981). From March 1981 to March 1983, Bacall appeared again on Broadway. In 1981 she won another Tony Award for her role in the musical Woman of the Year . In the late 1980s she made the cinema productions Mr. North - Liebling der Götter (1988) and Wahn des Herzens (1989) as well as the television films Dinner at Eight (1989) and Shadows over Sunshine (1990).

Lauren Bacall was friends with Leonard Bernstein even before they became neighbors in the Dakota Building in the late 1950s . On his 70th birthday in Tanglewood in 1988 , she sang for him "The Saga of Lenny" by Stephen Sondheim , a parody of Weill / Gershwin's Lady in the Dark .

Career since 1990

In Rob Reiner's psychological thriller Misery (1990) she starred alongside Kathy Bates and James Caan in the role of publisher, and in 1994 she took on a supporting role in Robert Altman's episodic film Prêt-à-Porter about the Parisian fashion circus.

In 1996, Lauren Bacall played the mother of Streisand's character Rose Morgan in Barbra Streisand's romantic comedy Love Has Two Faces . For her portrayal of vain and arrogant Hannah Morgan Bacall was celebrated by film critics and honored with numerous awards, including a nomination for the Oscar , the award of the Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Award .

With Jack Lemmon , James Garner and Dan Aykroyd , she directed the comedy A President for All Cases (1996) and directed by Peter Segal and was again in front of the camera with Kirk Douglas in Diamonds (1999). In Lars von Trier's Dogville (2003) and Birth (2004) she played alongside Nicole Kidman . Von Trier also brought her in front of the camera for his drama Manderlay (2005). She also played a supporting role in The Walker (2007) directed by Paul Schrader . Together with Schrader, Moritz Bleibtreu and Willem Dafoe , she presented the film at the Berlinale , where it was also shown in the competition. In the 2006 television series The Sopranos , she had a guest appearance alongside Ben Kingsley , in which the two portray themselves. She also appeared in Natalie Portman's directorial debut, the short film Eve (2008).

In early September 2009, the actress was awarded the Oscar of Honor , which she received on November 14, 2009.

In interviews, Bacall said of her ongoing work as an actress despite her old age:

“The fact that I can work is very important to me. Likewise the fact that I can still walk and speak and that I am still useful for something. Work keeps me alive. So I'll keep working as long as I can. "

“You just have to ask me. There is not exactly an oversupply of inquiries piling up on my desk. If someone wants me, that can usually be arranged. And i love work. Still. If it goes wrong? No matter. No end of the world. But the process of filmmaking is still exciting for me. "

Bacall died of a stroke on August 12, 2014, at the age of 89 in her apartment in the Dakota Building in New York City .


Theatrography (selection)

  • 1942: Johnny 2X4
  • 1942: Franklin Street
  • 1959-1960: Goodbye, Charlie
  • 1965-1968: Cactus Flower
  • 1970-1972: Applause
  • 1977: Wonderful Town
  • 1981-1983: Woman of the Year
  • 1985: Sweet Birth of Youth
  • 1995: The Visit
  • 1999-2000: Waiting in the Wings


Lauren Bacall (2007)

Academy Award of Merit ("Oscar")

  • 1997 : Nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Love Has Two Faces
  • 2009: Awarded an honorary Oscar for her life's work

British Academy Film Award

  • 1977: Nomination for best leading actress for The Last Sniper
  • 1997: Nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Love Has Two Faces


Emmy Award

  • 1973: Applause nomination for best leading actress
  • 1980: Nomination for best leading actress in a drama series for Detective Rockford - just give us a call
  • 1988: Nomination in the Outstanding Informational Special category for Bacall on Bogart

Golden Globe Award

National Board of Review Award

Satellite Award

  • 1997: Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Musical for Love Has Two Faces

Screen Actors Guild Award

  • 1997 : Award for best supporting actress for love has two faces

Tony Award

  • 1970: Award for best leading actress in a musical for Applause
  • 1981: Best Actress in a Musical Award for Woman of the Year

Further awards


Web links

Commons : Lauren Bacall  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Greatest American Screen Legends.
  2. a b c Lauren Bacall Biography Jewish Virtual Library, accessed September 7, 2011.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l To Have and Have Not. Vanity Fair, accessed September 8, 2011.
  4. a b Lauren Bacall BBC, accessed September 7, 2011.
  5. ^ Nirit Anderman: Shimon Peres Remembers 'Very Strong, Very Beautiful' Relative Lauren Bacall . In: Haaretz . August 13, 2014 ( [accessed April 23, 2020]).
  6. Shimon Peres Wears Hats of Peacemaker, Schemer. Retrieved April 23, 2020 (English).
  7. You Know How to Look Naïve, Don't You? Just… The New York Times , accessed September 7, 2011.
  8. ^ She had everything: The Look, Stardom and Bogie. The Los Angeles Times, accessed September 8, 2011.
  9. a b c Bogart & Bacall. Vanity Fair, accessed September 10, 2011.
  10. Lauren Bacall in the Munzinger Archive , accessed on September 8, 2011 ( beginning of article freely available)
  11. a b Lauren Bacall Biography. On: Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  12. a b Bogie gave me my life. Interview with Tagesspiegel, accessed on September 8, 2011.
  13. ^ Lauren Bacall Performances. On: Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  14. Beauty queens in the Cinemascope. On: Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  15. In 1936, Zsa Zsa Gabor was named Miss Hungary. She what…. On: Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  16. Cover of Harper's Bazaar from March 1943 (picture 5 of 8). ( Memento of the original from September 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. On: Retrieved September 8, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. a b "Today every dilettante is cheered up". Interview with Lauren Bacall. On: Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  18. Blood Alley. Trivia. On: Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  19. Blood Alley. Release dates. On: Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  20. a b Lauren Bacall: Still Driven. CBS News, accessed September 11, 2011.
  21. Cactus Flower. On: Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  22. Applause. On: Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  23. “The Sopranos”, Season 6, Episode 7: Luxury Lounge, (2006). On: Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  24. ^ Bacall, Calley, Corman and Willis to Receive Academy's Governors Awards. At: September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  25. Der Tagesspiegel of August 13, 2014, accessed on August 13, 2014.
  26. Lauren Bacall Dead at 89. At: Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  27. Lauren Bacall, Sultry Movie Star, Dies at 89. (No longer available online.) The New York Times, formerly the original ; accessed on August 13, 2014 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /