by Josie Joy Saldat
LAUREN BACALL SMART, SULTRY & BOLD BOMBSHELL
ith a trademark husky low voice, sultry appearance and feline like characteristics, Lauren Bacall was one of the most phenomenal talents in the Golden Age of Hollywood screen stars. Born as Betty Joan Perske in 1924 in New York City, Bacall was the daughter to Natalie, a Romanian Jewish immigrant who worked as a secretary and William a Polish Jewish immigrant from New Jersey who worked as a salesman. With the divorce of her parents at a young age, Bacall clung to her future of becoming a dancer. Later switching to acting, Bacall studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Bacall’s natural mystique and radiating glamour landed her on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 1943. Landing a cover on the most famous US magazine was a turning point in Bacall’s career as it resulted in her first screen role. Famed Director’s Howard Hawks wife, Nancy Hawks spotted Bacall in the fashion publication and called her in for a screen test. Bacall flew to Hollywood for the audition and director Howard Hawk instantly signed Bacall to a seven-year contract. Bacall’s first role, at the tender age of 19, was playing Marie Browning in an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not (1944) a thriller where she starred opposite Humphrey Bogart. This film launched more than her career; it was the beginning of a love affair with Bogart. The couple met while Bogart was still married, but he left his wife, and Bacall and Bogart wed in 1945. Bacall gained the nickname, “Baby” because of the 25-year age gap between her and Bogart. The couple starred in many films together and had two children together, a son, Stephen and daughter, Leslie.