10 Things You Didn’t Know About Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall

This week we heard the sad news that Lauren Bacall died aged 89. Famous for her husky voice and relationship with Humphrey Bogart (both on and off-screen) she was one of the most iconic screen presences of the 40s and 50s.

Above: Armed Forces Radio Services broadcaster Jack Brown interviews Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall for broadcast to troops overseas during World War II.

Here are some things you might not know about Bacall:

  1. She was christened Betty Joan Perske, and later changed her name to the Romanian version of her mother’s maiden name: Bacall.
  2. She started out as a model, and posed for the cover of Harpers Bazaar and Vogue during the mid 1940s. It was on the cover of the March 1943 edition of Harpers Bazaar that she was spotted and urged to take a screen test.
  3. Lauren Bacall was related to Shimon Peres (President of Israel).
  4. She didn’t naturally have the deep sexy voice we associate her with, she was trained to speak like this as part of her Hollywood makeover.
  5. Her famous cinematic ‘look’ (chin down, eyes tilted up at the camera) came from her screen test for her first movie To Have and Have Not in 1944. She was so nervous that pressing her chin into her chest was the only way to stop herself shaking.
  6. Bacall had a small part in the (horrible) 1990 Stephen King movie Misery.
  7. She also featured in an episode of The Sopranos in 2006.
  8. There was a 25 year age-gap between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. When they married in 1945 she was 20 and he was 45.
  9. Shortly after Humphrey Bogart died of esophageal cancer in 1957 she had a fling with Frank Sinatra.
  10. Of all the celebrities mentioned in Madonna’s song Vogue, Lauren Bacall was the last to die.

Lauren Bacall Lauren Bacall

Image source and copyright: 1This image is a work of a U.S. military or Department of Defense employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain. 2, 3, This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.

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  • Jill Johnson Jackson

    One of my all-time favorites. Not for her acting, but simply for her presence. She was also married to Jason Robards, and their son Sam is also an actor.