Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall dies

Lauren Bacall, the award-winning actress and Humphrey Bogart's partner off and on screen, has died at 89.

Robbert JF de Klerk, managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, said Lauren died at her home in New York. A family member told entertainment website TMZ that the actress had a massive stroke.

Her films included How To Marry A Millionaire, The Mirror Has Two Faces, The Big Sleep and Designing Woman, but one of her biggest was with Bogart - Key Largo, in 1948.

She married Casablanca star Humphrey in 1945 and the couple remained together until his death in 1957.

Lauren married actor Jason Robards in 1961 but they divorced in 1969.

The actress, who had three children, appeared recently on an episode of the US animated sitcom Family Guy as Evelyn, a friend of Peter's mother.

Sultry-voiced Lauren became famous with her first movie scene, opposite Humphrey in 1944's To Have And Have Not. The willowy 19 year old famously said: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

She was nominated for an Academy Award, won two Tony Awards and received an honorary Oscar in 2009.

Lauren was among the last of the old-fashioned Hollywood stars and her legend, and the legend of "Bogie and Bacall" - the hard-boiled couple who could fight and make up with the best of them - started almost from the moment she appeared on screen.

The fashion model and bit-part New York actress before moving to Hollywood was less than half Humphrey's age, yet as wise and as jaded as him. Her sly glance, with chin down and eyes raised, added to her fame; she was nicknamed "The Look".

The two co-starred in three more films after To Have And Have Not - The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo. Their marriage lasted until Humphrey's death from cancer.

Lauren appeared in movies for more than half a century, but not until 1996 did she receive an Oscar nomination - as supporting actress for her role as Barbra Streisand's mother in The Mirror Has Two Faces. Although a sentimental favourite, she lost to Juliette Binoche for her performance in The English Patient.

She finally got a statuette in November 2009 when she was presented with a special Oscar at the movie academy's new Governors Awards gala.

"The thought when I get home that I'm going to have a two-legged man in my room is so exciting," she quipped.

She was always a star. With her lanky figure and flowing blonde hair, she was seemingly born for check suits and silk dresses. On television talk shows, she exhibited a persona that paralleled her screen appearances.

She was frank, even blunt, with an undertone of sardonic humour, all of which she demonstrated in her best-selling 1979 autobiography By Myself. She published an updated version in 2005, By Myself And Then Some, noting that as she ages, "I don't feel that different. But I sure as hell am".

When her movie career faded, Lauren returned to the theatre. She starred in the hit comedy Cactus Flower and stepped lively in Applause, a musical version of the classic movie All About Eve that brought her first Tony in 1970.

She got the second Tony in 1981 for Woman Of The Year, based on a film that starred her idol Katharine Hepburn. She enjoyed another triumph in London with Sweet Bird Of Youth, in 1985.

She was ever protective of the Bogart legacy, lashing out at those who tried to profit from his image. In 1997 she appeared at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for ceremonies launching the US Postal Service's Humphrey Bogart stamp.

When the American Film Institute compiled its list of screen legends in 1999, Lauren ranked No 20 on the roster of 25 actresses. Humphrey topped the list of actors.

"She was sexy, she was saucy and she projected a sense of intelligence," said film historian Leonard Maltin. "And amazingly, she was doing all that when she was barely 20 years old."

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Your dry humour will be very popular. It's always difficult bringing a large group of people together. Everybody feels like they are walking on eggshells. After cracking a few jokes, you'll put the group at ease. Resist the temptation to make fun of relatives, especially the more sensitive members of the group. Nobody likes feeling singled out. Watching a light hearted comedy can also be a great way to generate a festive atmosphere. This is a time when people can put their differences aside.More