Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bogie & Bacall: A Hollywood Romance for the Ages

R.I.P. Betty Joan Perske.
“You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together, and…blow.” With that seductive line, delivered with a steely glare and husky voice, the world was introduced to a screen siren for the ages: Lauren Bacall. The line, later named the 34th greatest in the history of cinema by the American Film Institute, was delivered in Howard Hawks’s To Have and Have Not and written by none other than William Faulkner. And the dumbstruck man on the receiving end of the double entendre was Humphrey Bogart who, at 44, had a quarter of a century on this sultry, 19-year-old ingénue. It was the beginning of a beautiful romance—one that would become part of Hollywood lore.

Bacall, who passed away August 12 at 89 after suffering a stroke in her home, leaves behind a rich screen and stage résumé that includes two Tony Awards (for Applause in ’70 and Woman of the Year in ’81), an Academy Award nomination (The Mirror Has Two Faces, ’96), and a number of classic films, including To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and Key Largo. In addition to her stellar body of work, she will always be remembered for being the no-nonsense half of Bogie and Bacall.

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