Creator / Lauren Bacall

"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, born Betty Joan Perske (September 16th 1924 — August 12th 2014) 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).

Bacall's acting career could be best described as "right place, right time" or the idyllic lifestyle that any aspiring actor would want. After her parents separated when she was a child, her mother encouraged her to make it big in show business. Her name was changed and hair was dyed (the name "Perske" sounded too Jewish, apparently) and her film debut was one of the most successful of the year. She 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.

Partial filmography:

Lauren Bacall displays examples of:

  • Deadpan Snarker: In and out character.
  • Femme Fatale: She played this character a lot.
  • Film Noir: The genre she is closely associated with.
  • Last of Her Kind: She was one of a very select few members of The Golden Age of Hollywood who lived well into the 21st century. More specifically, of the 15 giants of Old Hollywood that Madonna name checks in the Dick Tracy-inspired song "Vogue," she was the last one to pass away.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Was often the eye candy on the screen. Bacall herself didn't understand the attention she received because she saw herself as plain-looking and too tall with large feet.
  • Nice Jewish Girl: Stated that she constantly struggled to fit this archetype throughout her life.
  • Promoted Fangirl: Bacall states that her marriage to Bogart helped her to mingle with many famous actors and celebrities that were eventually referred to as legends, despite being years younger than them. Some of them she'd even admired when she was a teenager in drama school.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: One of the iconic cigarette smokers in Hollywood.
  • Stage Name: Given to her by Howard Hawks. Her close friends called her "Betty," though, and Bogie called her "Baby."
  • Tsundere: Her screen persona.
  • WASP: Born and raised Jewish, but chose her mother's maiden name "Bacal" and added another L to change this, and then Hollywood gave her the stage name "Lauren".