Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ms. Lauren Bacall — a woman ahead of her time

Posted By on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 9:54 PM

click to enlarge "BY HERSELF": Lauren Bacall in Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
  • "BY HERSELF": Lauren Bacall in Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

She may have emerged during Hollywood's golden age, but Lauren Bacall didn't want to be pigeonholed as just another starlet. She was neither a femme fatale nor a darling ingenue. Bacall was an individualist.

The husky-voiced legend, who married a 45-year-old Humphrey Bogart at age 20, died of a stroke yesterday in her home in Los Angeles, Calif.  Movie fans around the are mourning the loss of an actor known for her searing gaze, precisely distinctive beauty and aura of knowingness. She beamed greatness and lived by her own rules — and she resented being constantly referenced as Bogie's Bacall.

Bacall spoke her mind during a time when women were expected to be demure and keep their opinions to themselves —let alone have them. She and Bogart spoke out against the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy Era. Later in life she penned three autobiographies, which she proudly insisted were completed without a ghost writer. ("Lauren Bacall:By Myself is a personal favorite and bestseller). In her final decade of life, she delivered some salacious quips about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

"If there was one thing I had never been, it was mysterious, and if there was one thing I had never done, it was not talk," she wrote in By Myself.

Her glamor was stunningly unique — sleek with a touch of quirk and androgyny. Slender and refined, she wore slacks and a little hat or some other unusual accessory.

A couple of years after Bogart died of cancer in 1957, Bacall dated old blue eyes himself and married Jason Robards, a marriage that lasted eight years.  

Bacall's roles, known more their quality instead of quantity, bore a sense of self-possession and gravitas, especially in her later years. From her most famous films To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Key Largo and How to Marry a Millionaire to her risk-taking foray into musicals, co-starring in 1981 film adaptation of Applause, Applause! — a role that earned her an Oscar nomination — she didn't appear in films to be in the limelight.

Of stardom, Bacall once said: "I have no respect for celebrities, and I object to being called one, so don't try it! I'm an actress, not a celebrity."


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