Farewell to a Screen Legend

In the wake of the stunning news of Robin Williams’ death this week, the passing of screen legend Lauren Bacall went virtually unnoticed. Maybe because she was 89 and died of a stroke, or maybe because so many of her fans have also passed away. But I felt a real sense of loss at her passing.

Bogart and Bacall. Timeless glamour.

Bogart and Bacall. Timeless glamour.

I grew up in the 50’s when Hollywood was synonymous with glamour. Magazines such as Photoplay printed hundreds of thousands of images of the biggest stars of the time–Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner. No stars were bigger or more admired than Lauren Bacall and her real life husband, Humphrey Bogart. He was twice her age when they married at the Ohio farm of a friend, and soon she became “Baby” to his “Bogey.”

Even after fifty years, the movies they made together still seem relevant and fresh. The chemistry between the Bogarts was palpable on the screen. Which is part of what made them such fun to watch. After Bogey’s death from cancer in 1957 at the age of only 57, Lauren Bacall remarried and went on to a distinguished career in film and on stage. She once said she hated that the rest of her career was overshadowed by her years with Bogey. I hope she knew how much pleasure she brought to those who saw her movies so often they could recite the lines along with her. “You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”

I like to think of them reunited in Heaven, once again a team whose talent, wit, and glamour helped define a generation.

Rest in peace, Lauren Bacall. You will never be forgotten.