Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall Photo


Date of Birth: September 16, 1924

Born in New York City as Betty Joan Perske and raised in Brooklyn for the first five years of her life, Lauren Bacall moved to Manhattan with her mother when her parents divorced. Bacall went to an all girls boarding school and excelled at dance and sports.

While attending Julia Richmond High School in New York City, Bacall took an interest in drama and attended the New York School of the Theatre once a week for four years. After graduating from high school, Bacall went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts with some financial assistance from her family.

After the Academy, Bacall did various jobs. She modeled clothes for boutiques, was a theater usher and landed small parts in various plays. Bacall got a job modeling for the magazine Harper's Bazaar. After Bacall was featured in a few issues, she appeared on the cover of the March 1942 issue.

Bacall received offers from Hollywood as soon as Harper's was seen throughout the nation. She decided to take a chance with director Howard Hawks. Howard signed her to a seven-year contract and took Bacall in as his protégée, teaching her how to be a star while he waited to find the right movie to introduce her to the world. That picture was Hemingway's To Have and Have Not (1944), starring Humphrey Bogart.

Soon after Bacall and Bogart began working on the picture, they fell in love. A year later, Bogart divorced his third wife and married Bacall. She did another picture with Bogart that was directed by Howard Hawks called The Big Sleep (1946).

Bacall had made a place for herself in California. Happily married and successful, She and Bogie enjoyed sailing, and leading a comfortable home life with their dog, Boxer. In 1949, they started a family with the birth of their son Stephen. A daughter, Leslie, was born soon after.

Although she was making one film a year, each production was eagerly awaited by the public. In 1947, again with her husband, Bacall starred in the thriller Dark Passage. The film kept movie patrons on the edge of their seats. The following year, she starred with Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and Lionel Barrymore in Key Largo. The crime drama was even more of a nail biter than the previous film.

In 1953, Bacall appeared in her first comedy as Schatze Page in How To Marry a Millionaire. The film, with co-stars Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, was a smash hit all across America.

After she filmed Designing Women (1957), Humphrey Bogart, a heavy smoker both on and off the screen, died on January 14, 1957 from throat cancer. Devastated, Bacall returned to work with The Gift of Love (1958) opposite Gregory Peck. The production turned out to be a big disappointment, and after filming one more film, North West Frontier (1959), Lauren took a five-year hiatus from the screen, performing in several Broadway plays back in New York. In July 1961, she married actor Jason Robards, and in December 1961 they had a son, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1969.

In 1964, she returned to the big screen, appearing in Shock Treatment and Sex and the Single Girl. Alternating her time between films and the stage, Bacall returned in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express. The film, with a little help from its star-studded cast, became a huge hit.

In 1981, Bacall played an actress being stalked by a crazed admirer in The Fan. The thriller was absolutely fascinating with Bacall in the lead role. After that production, Bacall returned to stage and avoided film for seven years.

Bacall has won two Tony Awards for her starring Broadway musical performances in Applause and Woman of the Year. She starred for a year in the London run of Applause as well, which earned her Britain's Evening Standard Award. Bacall has also starred on Broadway in Cactus Flower and Goodbye Charlie; in London and on tour in Australia she starred in Sweet Bird of Youth.

When she returned, it was for the filming of 1988's Mr. North. The year 1996 was her best to date. For her performance in The Mirror has Two Faces (1996), Bacall received her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. During the '90s, she also appeared in such films as Misery (1990), My Fellow Americans (1996) and Diamonds (1999). After a short break from movies, she returned with a vengeance, playing roles in five films within two years.

In addition to her acting career, Bacall has authored two books: one, her autobiography, By Myself, which won the National Book Award, and the other, a non-fiction book entitled Now. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street.


These Foolish Things (2005)
Manderley (2005)
Howl's Moving Castle (2005) (voice)
Firedog (2004) (voice)
Birth (2004)
The Limit (2004)
Dogville (2004)
Diamonds (1999)
The Venice Project (1999)
Johnny Hit and Run Pauline (1999)
Presence of Mind (1999)
Le Jour et la nuit (1997)
My Fellow Americans (1996)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
The Line King: Al Hirschfeld (1996)
Prêt-à-Porter (1994)
A Foreign Field (1993)
All I Want for Christmas (1991)
Misery (1990)
Innocent Victim (1990)
Mr. North (1988)
Appointment with Death (1988)
John Huston (1988)
Fan, The (1981)
H.E.A.L.T.H. (1979)
The Shootist (1976)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Applause (1973)
Harper (1966)
Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
Shock Treatment (1964)
North West Frontier (1959)
The Gift of Love (1958)
Designing Woman (1957)
Written on the Wind (1956)
Blood Alley (1955)
1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955) (uncredited)
The Cobweb (1955)
Woman's World (1954)
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Bright Leaf (1950)
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
Key Largo (1948)
Dark Passage (1947)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Two Guys from Milwaukee (1946) (uncredited)
Confidential Agent (1945)
To Have and Have Not (1944)