Legendary Actress, New York City Native Lauren Bacall Mourned

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Lauren Bacall, the sultry-voiced Bronx-born actress who lit up the silver screen during Hollywood's golden age and famously starred in roles with husband Humphrey Bogart, died Tuesday in New York City at the age of 89, her family's estate says. Ida Siegal reports.

    Lauren Bacall, the sultry-voiced Bronx-born actress who lit up the silver screen during Hollywood's golden age and famously starred in roles with husband Humphrey Bogart, died Tuesday in New York City at the age of 89, her family's estate says.

    Bogart's estate said in a tweet, "With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall."  

    Robbert de Klerk, a co-managing partner of the estate along with Stephen Bogart, Bacall's son, told NBC she had a stroke Tuesday morning and later died "peacefully."

    Officials at NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center confirmed Bacall died there shortly before 5:30 p.m.

    Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, according to a 2011 Vanity Fair profile. She lived in the famed Dakota building on the Upper West Side. 

    The actress starred with Bogart in movies such as "The Big Sleep," "The Mirror Has Two Faces," for which she was nominated an Academy Award, "How to Marry a Millionaire," "Designing Woman" and "Key Largo." 

    They married in 1945, when she was 20 and he 45, had two children and were together until Bogart died from esophageal cancer in 1957. Bacall later had another child with Jason Robards, whom she married in 1961 and divorced in 1969. 

    She won two Tony awards and received an Academy Honorary Award in 2009 "in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures." 

    "She was probably the most gorgeous, seductive actress in films of that genre -- but always maintained a certain look and toughness," said Dennis Regan, one of Bacall's neighbors. 

    Regan said a former partner once worked as a limo driver for the actress while she was doing plays in Manhattan.

    "He said listening to her talk in the backseat was a hoot -- she was a New York woman," he said.

    Another neighbor recalled being dazzled by her glamour during his first interaction with her while he was walking his dog.

    "She said to me, in this deep voice, 'What's your dog's name?'" said Bill Karam. "I said, 'Blanche.' And she said, 'Miss Dubois?'"

    "She had on her large sunglasses and I didn't know who it was, and she took off her glasses and I went, 'My God, it's Lauren Bacall.'" 

    Karam said he last saw her about three months ago and she immediately recognized his dog.

    "She was always engaging with the dogs. She loved her dogs," he said. 

    Upper West Side resident Clare Hogenauer recalled watching her in a play several years ago. 

    "I remember being amazed by her laugh," she said. "She had some very special quality. I was so impressed by her presence." 

    Bacall told Vanity Fair in the 2011 piece, "My son tells me, 'Do you realize you are the last one? The last person who was an eyewitness to the golden age?' Young people, even in Hollywood, ask me, ‘Were you really married to Humphrey Bogart?’ ‘Well, yes, I think I was,’ I reply.

    "You realize yourself when you start reflecting—because I don’t live in the past, although your past is so much a part of what you are—that you can’t ignore it," she said.

    -- Ida Siegal contributed to this report.

    Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anywhere, anytimeiPhone/iPad App | Twitter | Facebook | Email Newsletters Send Us News Tips | Google+ | Instagram | RSS