Jewish Entertainment:
Jewish Actors, Playwrights, Comedians, Musicians

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall (play /ˌlɔrən bəˈkɔːl/; born Betty Joan Perske, September 16, 2021) is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.

She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not (1944) and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in Bogart movies The Big Sleep (1946) and Dark Passage (1947), as well as a comedienne in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marilyn Monroe and Designing Woman (1957) with Gregory Peck. Bacall has also worked on Broadway in musicals, gaining Tony Awards for Applause in 1970 and Woman of the Year in 1981. Her performance in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.


In 1999, Bacall was ranked #20 of the 25 actresses on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars list by the American Film Institute. In 2009, she was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Academy Honorary Award "in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures."

Early life

Born Betty Joan Perske in New York City, she was the only child of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a secretary who later legally changed her surname to Bacall, and William Perske, who worked in sales.[2] Bacall's parents were Jewish immigrants, from Poland and Romania, who emigrated through Ellis Island.[3] She is first cousin to Shimon Peres, current President and former Prime Minister of Israel.[4][5] Her parents divorced when she was five, and she took the Romanian form of her mother's last name, Bacall.[6] Bacall no longer saw her father and formed a close bond with her mother, whom she took with her to California when she became a movie star.[7][8]


Howard Hawks and Bacall in 1943

Bacall took lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. During this time, she became a theatre usher and worked as a fashion model. As Betty Bacall, she made her acting debut, at age 17, on Broadway in 1942, as a walk-on in Johnny 2 X 4. According to her autobiography, she met her idol Bette Davis at Davis' hotel. Years later, Davis visited Bacall backstage to congratulate her on her performance in Applause, a musical based on Davis' turn in All About Eve.

Bacall became a part-time fashion model. Howard Hawks' wife Nancy spotted her on the March 1943 cover of Harper's Bazaar and urged Hawks to have her take a screen test for To Have and Have Not. Hawks invited her to Hollywood for the audition. He signed her up to a seven-year personal contract, brought her to Hollywood, gave her $100 a week, and began to manage her career. Hawks changed her name to Lauren Bacall. Nancy Hawks took Bacall under her wing.[9] She dressed the newcomer stylishly, and guided her in matters of elegance, manners and taste. Bacall's voice was trained to be lower, more masculine and sexier, which resulted in one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood.[10] In the movie, Bacall takes on Nancy's nickname “Slim.”


Bacall in her first film, To Have and Have Not; Hoagy Carmichael is in the background playing piano

During screen tests for To Have and Have Not (1944), Bacall was nervous. To minimize her quivering, she pressed her chin against her chest and to face the camera, tilted her eyes upward. This effect became known as "The Look", Bacall's trademark.[11]

Bacall and Bogart in Dark Passage

On the set, Humphrey Bogart, who was married to Mayo Methot, initiated a relationship with Bacall some weeks into shooting and they began seeing each other.

On a visit to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 1945, Bacall's press agent, chief of publicity at Warner Bros. Charlie Enfield, asked the 20-year-old Bacall to sit on the piano which was being played by Vice-President of the United States Harry S. Truman. The photos caused controversy and made worldwide headlines.

After To Have and Have Not, Bacall was seen opposite Charles Boyer in the critically panned Confidential Agent (1945).[12] Bacall would state in her autobiography that her career never fully recovered from this film, and that studio boss Jack Warner did not care about quality. She then appeared with Bogart in the films noir The Big Sleep (1946) and Dark Passage (1947) and John Huston's melodramatic suspense film Key Largo (1948) with Bogart and Edward G. Robinson. She was cast with Gary Cooper in the period drama Bright Leaf (1950).


Bacall turned down scripts she did not find interesting and thereby earned a reputation for being difficult. Yet, for her leads in a string of films, she received favorable reviews. In Young Man with a Horn (1950), co-starring Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, and Hoagy Carmichael, Bacall played a two-faced femme fatale. This movie is often considered the first big-budget jazz film.[13] During 1951-52, Bacall co-starred with Bogart in the syndicated action-adventure radio series Bold Venture.

Bacall starred in the CinemaScope comedy How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), a runaway hit that saw her teaming up with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.[14] Billed third under Monroe and Grable, Bacall got positive notices for her turn as the witty gold-digger, Schatze Page.[15] According to her autobiography, Bacall refused the coveted invitation from Grauman's Chinese Theatre to press her hand- and footprints in the theatre's cemented forecourt at the Los Angeles premiere of the film.

1955 live television version of The Petrified Forest with Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and Henry Fonda on the anthology series Producer's Showcase, a remake of Bogart's original 1936 breakthrough film.

In 1955, a live television version of Bogart's own breakthrough, The Petrified Forest, was performed as a live installment of Producer's Showcase, a weekly dramatic anthology, featuring Bogart (now top-billed) as Duke Mantee, Henry Fonda as Alan, and Bacall as Gabrielle, the part originally played in the 1936 movie by Bette Davis. Jack Klugman, Richard Jaeckel, and Jack Warden played supporting roles. Bogart had no problem performing his role live since he had originally played the part on Broadway with the subsequent movie's star Leslie Howard, who had secured a film career for Bogart by insisting that Warner Bros. cast him in the movie instead of Edward G. Robinson; Bogart and Bacall named their daughter "Leslie Howard Bogart" in gratitude. In the late 1990s, Bacall donated the only known kinescope of the 1955 performance to The Museum Of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media), where it remains archived for viewing in New York City and Los Angeles.

Written on the Wind, directed by Douglas Sirk in 1956, is now considered a classic tear-jerker.[16] Appearing with Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack, Bacall played a determined woman. Bacall states in her autobiography that she did not think much of the role. While struggling at home with Bogart's severe illness (cancer of the esophagus), Bacall starred with Gregory Peck in the screwball comedy Designing Woman and gained rave reviews.[17] It was directed by Vincente Minnelli and released in New York City on May 16, 1957, four months after Bogart succumbed to cancer on January 14.

1960s and 1970s

Bacall's movie career waned in the 1960s, and she was only seen in a handful of films. On Broadway she starred in Goodbye, Charlie (1959), Cactus Flower (1965), Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981). She won Tony Awards for her performances in the latter two. The few movies Bacall shot during this period were all-star vehicles such as Sex and the Single Girl (1964) with Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood, Harper (1966) with Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Julie Harris, Robert Wagner and Janet Leigh, and Murder on the Orient Express (1974), with Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney and Sean Connery. In 1964, she appeared in two acclaimed episodes of Craig Stevens's CBS drama, Mr. Broadway: first in "Take a Walk Through a Cemetery", with then husband Jason Robards, Jr. and Jill St. John, and then as Barbara Lake in "Something to Sing About", with Martin Balsam as Nate Bannerman.

For her work in the Chicago theatre, Bacall won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1972 and again in 1984. In 1976, she co-starred with John Wayne in his last picture, The Shootist. The two became friends, despite significant political differences between them. They had previously been cast together in 1955's Blood Alley.

Later career

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Bacall appeared in the poorly received star vehicle The Fan (1981), as well as some star-studded features such as Robert Altman's Health (1980), Michael Winner's Appointment with Death (1988), and Rob Reiner's Misery (1990). In 1997, Bacall was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), her first nomination after a career span of more than fifty years. She had already won a Golden Globe and was widely expected to win the Oscar, which went to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient.

Bacall received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1997. In 1999, she was voted one of the 25 most significant female movie stars in history by the American Film Institute. Since then, her movie career has seen a new renaissance and she has attracted respectful notices for her performances in high-profile projects such as Dogville (2003) and Birth (2004), both with Nicole Kidman. She is one of the leading actors in Paul Schrader's 2007 movie The Walker.

In March 2006, Bacall was seen at the 78th Annual Academy Awards introducing a film montage dedicated to film noir. She also made a cameo appearance as herself on The Sopranos, in the April 2006 episode, "Luxury Lounge", during which she was punched and robbed by a masked hoodlum played by Michael Imperioli.

In September 2006, Bacall was awarded the first Katharine Hepburn Medal, which recognizes "women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of the four-time-Oscar-winning actress", by Bryn Mawr College's Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center.[18] She gave an address at the memorial service of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr at the Reform Club in London in June 2007.

Bacall is the spokesperson for the Tuesday Morning discount chain. Commercials show her in a limousine waiting for the store to open at the beginning of one of their sales events. She is currently producing a jewelry line with the company, Weinman Brothers. She previously was a celebrity spokesperson for High Point (coffee) and Fancy Feast cat food.

Bacall was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Academy Award. The award was presented at the inaugural Governors Awards on November 14, 2009.[19]

Personal life

Lauren Bacall (1989)

Relationships and family

On May 21, 1945, Bacall married Humphrey Bogart. Their wedding and honeymoon took place at Malabar Farm, Lucas, Ohio. It was the country home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, a close friend of Bogart. The wedding was held in the Big House. Bacall was 20 and Bogart was 45. They remained married until Bogart's death from esophageal cancer in 1957. Bogart usually called Bacall "Baby," even when referring to her in conversations with other people. During the filming of The African Queen (1951), Bacall and Bogart became friends of Bogart's co-star Katharine Hepburn and her partner Spencer Tracy. Bacall also began to mix in non-acting circles, becoming friends with the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and the journalist Alistair Cooke. In 1952, she gave campaign speeches for Democratic Presidential contender Adlai Stevenson. Along with other Hollywood figures, Bacall was a staunch opponent of McCarthyism.

Shortly after Bogart's death in 1957, Bacall had a relationship with singer and actor Frank Sinatra. She told Robert Osborne, of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), in an interview, that she had ended the romance. However, in her autobiography, she wrote that Sinatra abruptly ended the relationship, having become angry that the story of his proposal to Bacall had reached the press. Bacall and her friend Swifty Lazar had run into the gossip columnist Louella Parsons, to whom Lazar had spilled the beans. Sinatra then cut Bacall off and went to Las Vegas.

Bacall was married to actor Jason Robards, Jr., who resembled Bogart in various ways, from 1961 to 1969. According to Bacall's autobiography, she divorced Robards mainly because of his alcoholism. In her autobiography Now, she recalls having a relationship with Len Cariou, her co-star in Applause.

Bacall had a son and daughter with Bogart and a son with Robards. Her children with Bogart are her son Stephen Humphrey Bogart (born January 6, 2022), a news producer, documentary film maker and author; and her daughter Leslie Bogart (born August 23, 2021), a yoga instructor. Sam Robards (born December 16, 2021), her son with Robards, is an actor.

Bacall has written two autobiographies, Lauren Bacall By Myself (1978) and Now (1994). In 2005, the first volume was updated with an extra chapter: "By Myself and Then Some".

Political views

Bacall sits atop the piano while Vice President Harry S Truman plays the piano at the National Press Club Canteen. (February 10, 2022)

Bacall is a staunch liberal Democrat. She has proclaimed her political views on numerous occasions.

In October 1947, Bacall and Bogart traveled to Washington, D.C., along with other Hollywood stars, in a group that called itself the Committee for the First Amendment (CFA). She subsequently appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in a photograph printed at the end of an article he wrote, titled "I'm No Communist", in the May 1948 edition of Photoplay magazine,[20] written to counteract negative publicity resulting from his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Bogart and Bacall specifically distanced themselves from the Hollywood Ten and were quoted as saying: "We're about as much in favor of Communism as J. Edgar Hoover."

She campaigned for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential election and for Robert Kennedy in his 1964 run for Senate.

In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Bacall described herself as "anti-Republican... A liberal. The L-word." She went on to say that "being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind."[21]


  • In 1980, Kathryn Harrold played Bacall in the TV movie Bogie, which was directed by Vincent Sherman and based on the novel by Joe Hymans. Kevin O'Connor played Bogart. The movie focused primarily upon the disintegration of Bogart's third marriage to Mayo Methot, played by Ann Wedgeworth, when Bogart met Bacall and began an affair with her.

In popular culture

In music

  • Bacall is referenced in the song, "Rainbow High", from the musical Evita by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
  • Bacall is referenced in the song "Car Jamming" by 1970s punk band The Clash.
  • Bacall and Bogart are referenced in the song "Key Largo" by Bertie Higgins.
  • She is also referenced in the song "Freeze Tag" by Suzanne Vega.
  • She is referenced in the song "Mersey" by Pavlov's Dog
  • She is referenced in Madonna's "Vogue".
  • She is referenced in the song "Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars" by Bon Jovi
  • She is referenced in the song "I Want It All" from the musical Baby by Maltby & Shire
  • Bacall, along with Bogart, is referenced in the song "Words" by Anna Nalick

In cartoons




Year Title Role Notes
1944 To Have and Have Not Marie 'Slim' Browning  
1945 Confidential Agent Rose Cullen  
1946 The Big Sleep Vivian Sternwood Rutledge  
1946 Two Guys from Milwaukee Herself uncredited cameo
1947 Dark Passage Irene Jansen  
1948 Key Largo Nora Temple  
1950 Young Man with a Horn Amy North  
1950 Bright Leaf Sonia Kovac  
1953 How to Marry a Millionaire Schatze Page  
1954 Woman's World Elizabeth Burns  
1955 The Cobweb Meg Faversen Rinehart  
1955 Blood Alley Cathy Grainger  
1956 Patterns Lobby lady near elevators uncredited
1956 Written on the Wind Lucy Moore Hadley  
1957 Designing Woman Marilla Brown Hagen Golden Laurel Award for Top Female Comedy Performance (third place)
1958 The Gift of Love Julie Beck  
1959 North West Frontier Catherine Wyatt  
1964 Shock Treatment Dr. Edwina Beighley  
1964 Sex and the Single Girl Sylvia Broderick  
1966 Harper Elaine Sampson  
1973 Applause Margo Channing  
1974 Murder on the Orient Express Mrs. Harriet Belinda Hubbard  
1976 The Shootist Bond Rogers Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1978 Perfect Gentleman Mrs. Lizzie Martin  
1980 Health Esther Brill  
1981 The Fan Sally Ross  
1988 Appointment with Death Lady Westholme  
1988 Mr. North Mrs. Cranston  
1989 John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick   documentary
1989 The Tree of Hands Marsha Archdale  
1989 Dinner at Eight Carlotta Vance  
1990 Misery Marcia Sindell  
1991 A Star for Two    
1991 All I Want for Christmas Lillian Brooks  
1993 The Portrait Fanny Church  
1993 The Parallax Garden    
1993 A Foreign Field Lisa  
1994 Prêt-à-Porter: Ready to Wear Slim Chrysler National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
1995 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Hannah Morgan Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1996 My Fellow Americans Margaret Kramer  
1997 Day and Night Sonia  
1999 Get Bruce   documentary
1999 Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Doris Duke (elderly)  
1999 Madeline: Lost in Paris Madame Lacroque voice
1999 The Venice Project Countess Camilla Volta  
1999 Presence of Mind Mado Remei  
1999 Diamonds Sin-Dee  
1999 A Conversation with Gregory Peck   documentary
2003 The Limit (aka. Gone Dark) May Markham  
2003 Dogville Ma Ginger  
2004 Howl's Moving Castle Witch of the Waste voice
2004 Birth Eleanor  
2005 Manderlay Mam  
2006 These Foolish Things Dame Lydia  
2007 The Walker Natalie Van Miter  
2008 Eve Grandma  
2008 Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King The Grand Witch voice
2009 Wide Blue Yonder May post-production
2010 Firedog Posche voice
2012 The Forger Annemarie Sterling post- production

Short subjects

  • 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955)
  • Amália Traída (Amália Betrayed) (2004)

Selected stage appearances

  • Johnny 2 x 4 (1942)
  • Goodbye Charlie (1959)
  • Cactus Flower (1965)
  • Applause (1970)
  • V.I.P. Night on Broadway (1979) (benefit concert)
  • Woman of the Year (1981)
  • Angela Lansbury: A Celebration (1996) (benefit concert)
  • Waiting in the Wings (1999)

Television work


  • Bold Venture (1951–52); with Humphrey Bogart. Exact number of episodes recorded is unknown, but upwards of 50.


  • By Myself (1978)
  • Now (1994)
  • By Myself and Then Some (2005)

Awards and nominations


Bacall has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street.

See also


  1. ^ This was the 1980 award for hardcover Autobiography.
    From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual hardcover and paperback awards in most categories, and multiple nonfiction subcategories. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including the 1980 Autobiography.


  1. ^ Tyrnauer, Matt (2022-03-10). "To Have and Have Not". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
  2. ^ Lauren Bacall Biography.
  3. ^ Bacall, Lauren (March 1, 2022). By Myself and Then Some. It Books. ISBN 0060755350.
  4. ^ Lazaroff, Tovah (2021-11-10). "Peres: Not such a bad record after all". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  5. ^ Weiner, Eric (2022-06-13). "Shimon Peres Wears Hats of Peacemaker, Schemer". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  6. ^ Meyers, Jeffrey (1997), Bogart: A Life in Hollywood. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-77399-4. p. 164.
  7. ^ Cantrell, Susan (2022-07-19). "Lauren Bacall on Life, Acting, and Bogie". Carmel Magazine. Retrieved 2021-08-22.
  8. ^ Wickware, Francis Sill (May 7, 2022). Profile of Lauren Bacall. 18. LIFE Magazine. pp. 100–106. ISSN 0024-3019.
  9. ^ A. . Sperber and Eric Lax (1997), Bogart. William Morrow & Co. ISBN 0-688-07539-8, ISBN 978-0-688-07539-2. Page 246.
  10. ^ Sperber and Lax 1997, p. 245.
  11. ^ The Official Website of Lauren Bacall – "The Look".
  12. ^ External reviews: Confidential Agent (1945). – IMDb.
  13. ^ Trivia: Young Man with a Horn (1950). – IMDB.
  14. ^ Box office – Business: How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). – IMDb.
  15. ^ Movie Reviews: How to Marry a Millionaire. – Rotten Tomatoes.
  16. ^ Written on the Wind (1956) –
  17. ^ Designing Woman @ Rotten
  18. ^ Bryn Mawr College – Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center.
  19. ^ "Bacall, Calley, Corman and Willis to Receive Academy’s Governors Awards". Press release – Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. September 10, 2009.
  20. ^ Humphrey Bogart: "I'm no communist," Photoplay, March 1948.
  21. ^ Interview with Lauren Bacall.
  22. ^ Mitovich, Matt (April 24, 2022). "Wonder Pets Returns with One of Kitt's Final Performances". Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  23. ^ "National Book Awards – 1980". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
  24. ^ "Lauren Bacall Receives George Eastman Award". The New York Times (The New York Times). 2021-11-10. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  25. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  26. ^ Mark Shanahan & Paysha Rhone (2021-09-19). "Bringing together big-screen royalty". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2021-09-19.

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