And Now Lauren Bacall

Lauren BacallWell, it had to happen. Lauren Bacall died today. Now I know: she was 89. But I really expected her to make it to 90 at the very least. And she had only another month to go! Olivia de Havilland is still alive at 98! It isn’t fair. Really, I feel like Bogart has died again.

Obviously, Bacall became a star because she was beautiful with that amazing sexy petulance on the screen. But just like Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis, she aged really well. She didn’t grow out of the bad girl act, she grew with it. She became someone I enjoyed seeing in interviews, and that’s saying something because I generally find actor interviews incredibly boring. But she came across as enormously real but still with that bit of slyness that made you wonder if she wasn’t just making the whole thing up.

She was also a well know liberal. But I only just found this great quote from her in 2005 on Larry King Live. He asked her if she was a “big D Democrat.” She responded, “I’m a total Democrat. I’m anti-Republican. And it’s only fair that you know it. Even though…” He interrupted in mock surprise, “Wait a minute. Are you a liberal?” She said, “I’m a liberal. The L word! I love it. Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind. Little picayune things. You want to welcome everyone.” She continues on. It is quite delightful. “I hear anyone say anything about FDR…” How do you not love her? Unless you have a small picayune Republican mind!

The world, of course, will always remember one thing about Lauren Bacall:

You know you don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… Blow.

The whole scene has a few gems. “Who was the girl, Steve? The one who left you with such a high opinion of women?” And, after Bogart asks her why she kissed him, “I’ve been wondering whether I’d like it.” And then afterward, “It’s even better when you help.” She’s just great, and totally outclasses Bogart. But that’s much of the charm of the whole thing:

That was her first time on the screen as far as I can tell. And she had been working ever since—through this year. Goodnight princess, you should have died hereafter; there would have been a time for such a word; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

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