Belfast Telegraph

Hollywood loses Lauren Bacall, goddess of golden age

Star Bacall dies 57 years after husband Bogart

By Colin Francis

Lauren Bacall was one of the last living screen goddesses of Hollywood's golden age.

After seven decades of enthralling audiences with her trademark husky voice, wide-eyed beauty, intelligence and sultry charisma, Bacall's light finally went out on Tuesday with the news of her death, aged 89.

The actress had continued to work right up until the end of her life, voicing a character in Seth McFarlane's cartoon TV series Family Guy this year and had also been rumoured to appear in forthcoming detective noir, Trouble Is My Business.

Bacall was a movie star from almost her first moment on the silver screen.

A fashion model and bit-part New York actress before moving to Hollywood at 19, Bacall achieved immediate fame in 1944 with one scene in her first film, To Have And Have Not.

Leaving Humphrey Bogart's hotel room, Bacall murmured: "You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

With that cool, sultry come-on, not only was a star born, but the beginning of a legend, her title burnished over the years with pivotal roles, signature New York wit and a marriage to Bogart that accounted for one of the most famous Hollywood couples of all time.

The Academy Award-nominated actress received two Tonys, an honorary Oscar and scores of film and TV roles.

But, to her occasional frustration, she was remembered for her years with Bogart and treated more as a star by the film industry than as an actress.

Bacall would outlive her husband by more than 50 years, but never outlived their iconic status.

They were "Bogie and Bacall", the hard-boiled couple who could fight and make up with the best of them.

They starred together in movies like Key Largo and Dark Passage, threw all-night parties, palled around with Frank Sinatra and others and formed a gang of California carousers known as the Holmby Hills Rat Pack, which Sinatra would resurrect after Bogart's death.

She appeared in movies for more than half a century, but none brought her the attention of her early pictures.

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.

She finally got a statuette in November 2009.

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