This month we said goodbye to one of the golden age of Hollywood’s greatest talents, Lauren Bacall.
Growing up a lot of girls wanted to be like Marilyn Monroe or Bettie Page, oozing sex appeal. They wanted to smile and have flashbulbs burst around them taking in every ounce of their beauty, preserving it for posterity. I wanted to be like Lauren Bacall. She was beautiful and elegant in a way other actresses weren’t. She had class coupled with a certain je ne sais quoi. The biggest attraction is that she was fierce and confident. Her roles were varied but my favorite was her portrayal of Schatze Page in How to Marry a Millionaire because her style and smooth strong personality shone brightly when placed beside Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe’s sexpot styles. That’s not to say she wasn’t a sultry femme fatale in her own right, her role as Marie “Slim” Browning in ‘To have and to have not’ gave us a first glimpse into that subtler sex appeal.
The irony being that she wasn’t the same fierce character in real life at 19 that she flawlessly portrayed on the screen. As a terrified ingenue, she forced herself to hold her chin down in scenes giving her that trademark bedroom-eyed sassy stance that she’s known for. While she’s set apart from her contemporaries due to her unwavering onscreen confidence, in reality it was all a well developed construct. She became Lauren Bacall through hours of arduous study to lower her voice, drink Jack Daniels without flinching and turn herself into a new type of woman. The sassy, worldly young woman was the perfect onscreen companion to Humphrey Bogart’s hard drinking, gruff but lovable persona and together they became Hollywood legends. Their chemistry was undeniable and is easy to see in “The Big Sleep”.
Lauren Bacall’s legacy of fierce, strong, worldly women on screen will never be forgotten.
You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve?
Always loved and never forgotten.