Creator / Lauren Bacall

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"You know how to whistle don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together... and blow."
"Slim" (Lauren Bacall) in To Have and Have Not

Lauren Bacall was one of the best, sexiest and sexiest-voiced actresses of 1940s and '50s Hollywood. Known for her range as an actress, she could do everything from serious, Film Noir dramatic roles like The Big Sleep to ridiculous comedies of errors like 1953's How to Marry a Millionaire (with Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe).

Born Betty Joan Perske in 1924, she had a career that is a real example of Follow Your Dreams: After her parents separated, her mother encouraged the young Betty to make it big in show business. After a name change and hair coloring (the name "Perske" sounded too Jewish, apparently), she did. Bacall appeared in four movies with Humphrey Bogart, whom she married despite being over 20 years younger than him.

Starting in The '60s, she stopped really appearing in films, but had a rather successful career on Broadway, starring in production such as Cactus Flower and Applause, and as a liberal activist. She also voiced the idents for PBS from 1996 to 2003 (in one version, Bacall herself appeared, as that set of idents had people like Chris Rock lifting a disc with the 'P-Head' symbol over their faces as small acrobats appeared around them). She lived for 53 years in the Dakota Apartments in New York City, and thus was John Lennon's neighbor before Lennon's murder.

Incidentally, Bacall was a first cousin of Shimon Peres, former Israeli president and prime minister, who won the Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and Arafat for trying to fix the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Peres was born Szymon Perski. One wonders what their family reunions (if any) are like.

Bacall died on August 12, 2014 at the age of 89 in New York City from a stroke (though news of her death was overshadowed with news of another celebrity death: Robin Williams' suicide, which happened the day before). She will be missed.


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