Today is Betty Joan Perske’s birthday. Of course, you and I know her better as the legendary Lauren Bacall – one of the most talented and beautiful actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Betty Joan was born on September 16, 1924 in New York City – the only child of European Jewish immigrant parents. Her parents divorced when she was five and she never developed a close relationship with her father. Fortunately she had a close relationship with her mom. In fact, she would later take the surname of her mother, but add an l – taking Bacal to Bacall.
Betty initially wanted to be a dancer, but luckily for those of us who LOVE classic movies, her passion switched to acting. Her big break came when the wife of director Howard Hawks saw her photo on a ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ magazine cover. She convinced her husband to give the strikingly beautiful nineteen year old a screen test. Because of a wife’s keen eye, Betty Joan was given a seven-year contract with Warners Bros. She was also given a new first name and the rest is Hollywood history. Lauren Bacall had arrived on the scene.
In 1944, the beautiful 19-year old was cast as Marie “Slim” Browning in To Have and Have Not – a romantic drama based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Her co-star? The one and only Humphrey Bogart!
“You do Know how to whistle“. Slim, To Have and Have Not
The movie was a success and movie-goers fell head over heels in love with Lauren Bacall. They weren’t the only ones! Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall married in 1945 and were together until her beloved husband died in 1957.
The following are a few of Hollywood Yesterday’s favorite Lauren Bacall Quotes.
“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.”
“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”
“I used to tremble from nerves so badly that the only way I could hold my head steady was to lower my chin practically to my chest and look up at Bogie. That was the beginning of The Look.’
“I am not a has-been. I am a will be.”
“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
“I wish Frank Sinatra would just shut up and sing.”
“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.”
“A woman isn’t complete without a man. But where do you find a man… a real man… these days?”
“You can’t start worrying about what’s going to happen. You get spastic enough worrying about what’s happening now.”
“(Katharine Hepburn) was much stronger, much more opinionated than I am or ever was, and it was considered attractive on her. But not on me. I don’t know. Maybe her Bryn Mawr accent was more appealing than mine.”
“I figure if I have my health, can pay the rent and I have my friends, I call it content.”
“In Hollywood, an equitable divorce settlement means each party getting fifty percent of publicity.”
“A man’s illness is his private territory and, no matter how much he loves you and how close you are, you stay an outsider. You are healthy.”
“You can’t always be a leading lady.”
“I fought for that part (Marilla, Designing Woman). I wanted it badly. I took a lower salary, I did everything. Grace Kelly said, ‘I’ll never forgive you for playing that part. It was written for me.’ She got the prince, I got the part.”
“I don’t live in the past, although your past is so much a part of what you are that you can’t ignore it. But I don’t look at scrapbooks. I could show you some, but I’d have to climb ladders, and I can’t climb.”