One of the screen’s most independent women, Lauren Bacall grew up in a middle-class family in the Bronx. Her childhood interest in dance gave way to a passion for acting early on, and she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where the young Kirk Douglas became a lifelong friend.. Her first stage shows didn’t do well, so to make ends meet she turned to modeling. A Harper’s Bazaar cover caught the eye of producer-director Howard Hawks’s wife, Slim, leading to a screen test for Bacall and the chance to make her screen debut as the star of To Have and Have Not (1944). An attack of the jitters forced her to hold her head down to keep it from shaking. But somehow all that came together to turn her into one of the sassiest, sexiest creatures ever to stalk the screen. Lauren won a horde of fans, not the least of them her leading man, Humphrey Bogart. Bogie and Baby, as they called each other, married a year later, while working on their second film with Hawks, The Big Sleep (1946). They would team up twice more before Bogart fell victim to cancer in 1957. On her own, Bacall moved to New York and reestablished herself as a stage star, first in the comedy Cactus Flower (1965), and later as the Tony award-winning star of the musicals Applause ((970), based on the classic film All About Eve, and Woman of the Year (1981). She also penned a best-selling 1979 autobiography, By Myself, which won a National Book Award. With her star persona intact, Lauren managed to make her screen appearances notable events. She joined an all-star cast for the Agatha Christie thriller Murder on the Orient Express (1974), comforted a dying John Wayne in The Shootist (1976) and capitalized on her Broadway fame as a musical star stalked by The Fan (1980. More recently she won an Oscar nomination (after over fifty years in films) for her role as Barbra Streisand’s glamorous mother in The Mirror Has Two Faces ((996) and has joined rising star Nicole Kidman in a pair of dramas, Dogville (2003) and Birth (2004). Even in her eighties, Lauren continues to possess one of the sexiest voices in the business, putting her in demand for commercial voice-overs for everything from cat food to luxury cruises.
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