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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
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Lauren Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske (September 16, 1924 – August 12, 2014) was an American actress known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks. 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, To Have and Have Not alongside Humphrey Bogart, was one of the most successful of the year. She appeared in four movies in total with Bogart, whom she married despite being over 20 years younger than him.

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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.

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She died on August 12, 2014 at the age of 89 in New York City from a stroke.


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