Lauren Bacall: The Death of A Great New Yorker Ironically Signals The True End of Hollywood’s Golden Era

Right on the heels of Robin Williams’ suicide, Lauren Bacall’s death from a stoke on August 12th is, indeed, very representative of the ever-waning Hollywood that the film industry once enjoyed. Emerging onto the scene in 1944, Bacall delivered one of the greatest innuendos of all time in Howard Hawks’ To Have and Have Not, in which she “innocently” asks Humphrey Bogart’s character, “You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

Bacall's signature expression
Bacall’s signature expression
Bacall’s instant attraction to Bogart didn’t hurt in terms of helping her meteoric rise to stardom. After all, fame is 50% looks and 50% who you’re dating (a concept Kim and Kanye seem to think they’ve pioneered). After To Have and Have Not, she would soon star in another movie with Bogie, The Big Sleep. Other notable films would come in spades throughout the 50s as well, including How to Marry a Millionaire and Designing Woman.
The only girl who could keep Bogey's attention
The only girl who could keep Bogey’s attention
Even after the devastation of Bogart’s death from esophogeal cancer in 1957, Bacall continued to work (with the occasional distraction of an affair with someone like Frank Sinatra, who she deemed a “shit” in her autobiography, Lauren Bacall: By Myself, released in 1985) well into the 90s, still acting in mainstream movies like Ready to Wear a.k.a. Prêt-à-Porter and The Mirror Has Two Faces.

In spite of being the embodiment of Golden Age Hollywood, solidified by her name check in Madonna’s homage to studio system glamor, “Vogue,” Bacall was a New Yorker through and through. A longtime resident of the Upper West Side, Bacall was born in New York and died in New York, making her one of the few actresses to bridge the barrier between the East and West coasts.

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  1. Pingback: Ghost of Humphrey Bogart Caught Canoodling With the Ghost of Maria Hernandez on Bogart Street | The Burning Bush

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