Today I honor the life of one of my favorite Bad Girlz—Lauren Bacall. I can’t tell you everything about her amazing life in this blog, but I can touch on a few high-lights.
She was born Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx of New York on September 16th.Coincidentally, we share the same birthday. I won’t say the year. :)
Even though Lauren Bacall was absolutely gorgeous, she wasn’t exempt from insecurities. She felt her chest was too flat, her height too tall and was extremely self-conscious of her shoe size. However, she didn’t let her insecurities stop her from achieving her dreams.
At seventeen, she took acting lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. One of her classmates, Kirk Douglas, eventually became a co-star. Small world, right?
As a teenage fashion model, she was featured in Vogue and graced the cover of Harpers Bazaar. Her issue was referred to as “Iconic.” That cover would ultimately lead to her big break into Hollywood. Nancy Hawks showed the picture to her husband, Howard. He decided to have his secretary put Lauren on his girl-to-watch list. (Way to go Nancy!)
Fortunately for us, his secretary misunderstood and sent Lauren a ticket to Hollywood for a screen test instead. (Thank you Secretary!) After that test, Hawks recognized her talent and signed Lauren to a seven year contract.
Lauren Bacall was famous for her husky voice and stylish grace. Interestingly enough, she was trained by a voice coach to make her voice even lower, deeper, sexier. Her signature move of holding her chin down and eyes up, came from a drastic attempt to keep her head from shaking with nerves.
At nineteen, she was cast in the movie To Have or Have Not, where she fell hard for her leading man, Humphrey Bogart. They were married a year later when she was only 20. Bogart 45. Lauren didn’t let a 25 year age difference keep her from true love. (You go Bad Girl.) They were blissfully happy until death did them part, when her “Bogie” died of cancer in 1957.
“I was so blinded by Bogie, I couldn’t think of anything else.”
Lauren had a reputation in Hollywood as being difficult. Do you know why? Because she only took parts she considered interesting. I wouldn’t call that difficult. I would call that standing up for what you believe in.
She co-starred with some of the greats: Kirk Douglas, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Doris Day, Rock Hudson, the man himself—John Wayne. And the list goes on and on.
The Big Sleep, Key Largo, Murder on the Orient Express, The Mirror Has Two Faces, How to Marry a Millionaire (Love this one!) were only a few of the movies she’d starred in.
Lauren was also known for her quotes. Below are a few of my favorites:
“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”
“Imagination is the highest kite that can fly.”
“You don’t always win your battles, but it’s good to know you fought.”
Who can forget her most famous movie line? “You know how to whistle don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.”
Lauren was truly an Icon on the Silver Screen and off, known for her strength, beauty and talent. She wasn’t scared to speak her mind, and her passion for life was never ending. That’s why I’m honored to have her as my guest Bad Girl today.
Thank you Lauren Bacall for your tremendous contribution to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Lucky for us, we can watch your movies for years to come.
Remember to Dream Big!