The first time that I ever saw Lauren Bacall in a film, it was with Humphrey Bogart in, “To Have or Have Not.” She had an intensity in her eyes that I had never quite seen before, and she used them so effectively that she created a signature pose called, “The Look.” It created a sultry appearance, with her chin practically touching her neck, with those penetrating eyes staring straight up at the camera. Very few people realized that this was not a look that she had intended for superficial reasons, but rather it was due to her nerves. It was the only way that she could keep from trembling in front of the camera.
Below is a clip that shows off Lauren singing during the film “To Have and Have Not.” It is not the best voice ever recorded, but she performs with such confidence and grace that the viewer becomes entranced in her performance. When they flash to Bogie’s face periodically during the song, one cannot help but take not of the chemistry that occurs when they merely glance at one another.
Becoming a star did not happen easily for Bacall. While living in New York, her entire life revolved around trying to get various acting parts in plays. The number of rejections she got are innumerable. Despite those setbacks, she never let that break her spirit. It was when she appeared as the cover model on a Harper’s Bazaar magazine that she got offers from some of the most influential moguls in Hollywood.
As many people know, while maintaining her career as an actress in Hollywood, she married Humphrey Bogart, and had two children; Stephen and Leslie. And yes, their first child Stephen was named after the character played by Humphrey Bogart in “To Have and Have Not,” the movie during which they first met.
In addition to all of her commitments and being politically active, she enjoyed writing poetry when she had the time. I was fortunate to come across one such poem in her biography, “Lauren Bacall: By Myself and Then Some.” It is only three lines, contains very simple language, but creates an image that everyone can relate to.
How beautiful it was—
A perfect moment
But alas! It was a dream
A beautiful poem by an equally beautiful woman. Even though she and Bogie were madly in love, their time together was short. He died at the young age of 57 from esophageal cancer, after twelve years of marriage. Despite being the love of her life, she held strong for herself and her children, while continuing to have a prominent movie career. The following are some inspiring quotes by her in addition to just a few of the many stunning photos of her that have been taken over the years.
“I am not a has-been. I am a will be.”
“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”
“I used to tremble from nerves so badly that the only way I could hold my head steady was to lower my chin practically to my chest and look up at Bogie. That was the beginning of The Look.”
“You can’t start worrying about what’s going to happen. You get spastic enough worrying about what’s happening now.”
“Stardom isn’t a profession; it’s an accident.”