Lauren Bacall, sultry-voiced actress, dead at 89

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Hollywood Icon Lauren Bacall Dies At 89

NEW YORK (AP) -- Lauren Bacall was a movie star from almost her first moment on the silver screen.

A fashion model and bit-part New York actress before moving to Hollywood at 19, Bacall achieved immediate fame in 1944 with one scene in her first film, "To Have and Have Not." Leaving Humphrey Bogart's hotel room, Bacall - a lanky figure with flowing blond hair and a stunning face - murmured:

"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."

With that cool, sultry come-on, not only was a star born, but the beginning of a legend, her title burnished over the years with pivotal roles, signature New York wit, and a marriage to Bogart that accounted for one of the most famous Hollywood couples of all time.

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Lauren Bacall, sultry-voiced actress, dead at 89
Actress Lauren Bacall posing in front of portrait drawing of herself in suite at the Gotham Hotel. (Photo by Nina Leen/Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2002: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall visit the Daily News. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
American actress Lauren Bacall, circa 1950. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 20: Married actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall pose for a portrait at the Academy Awards ceremony which was held at the RKO Pantages Theater on March 20, 1952 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frank Worth, Courtesy of Emage International/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall, US actress, and her husband, Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), US actor, support themselves by holding the mast on a small sailboat, circa 1950. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall, US actress, wearing a black jacket and top with a skirt with horizontal stripes, posing in a garden beside a display of daisies, circa 1950. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Actress Lauren Bacall poses for the April 24th cover of PIC Magazine, published by Street and Smith in New York, 1945. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)
circa 1945: American screen star Lauren Bacall, whose successful film career spans more than fifty years, endorses Royal Crown Cola. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
circa 1945: American screen star Lauren Bacall glowers over her shoulder. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
American actress Lauren Bacall (Betty Jane Perske) lying on an armchair and reading a magazine. 1940s. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Cinema Personalities, pic: circa 1940's, A portrait of American actress Lauren Bacall (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
American Film star Humphrey Bogart smiles with his actress wife Lauren Bacall at a press reception at Claridges in London, 1951 (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Portrait of American film actor Humphrey Bogart with his actress wife Lauren Bacall at the Savoy in London, 1951 (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
American Film star Humphrey Bogart lights a cigarette for his actress wife Lauren Bacall at a press reception at Claridges in London, 1951 (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)
'The Big Sleep' a 1978 film noir starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)
Actress Lauren Bacall photographed in 1966. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)
Portrait of American actress Lauren Bacall (Betty Jane Perske). 1970s. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall publicity portrait for the film 'Sex And The Single Girl', 1964. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall publicity portrait, 1958. (Photo by Cornel Lucas/Getty Images)
Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) and Lauren Bacall (b1924), American actors, 1946. Bogart and Bacall in a scene from The Big Sleep (1946). From the front cover of Picturegoer magazine (26 October 1946). Cropping restrictions are in place. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall is kissed by Gregory Peck in a scene from the film 'Designing Woman', 1957. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck poolside in a scene from the film 'Designing Woman', 1957. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall, circa 1955. (Photo by Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall, US actress, wearing a pink short sleeve jumper and a pink skirt, smiling as she poses beside a window, circa 1955. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Lauren Bacalll, US actress, in conversation with Frank Sinatra (1915-1998), US singer and actor, at a bar, circa 1955. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1955: Actress Lauren Bacall poses for a studio portrait circa 1955 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1955: Actors John Wayne and Lauren Bacall pose for a studio publicity Still to promote their movie 'Blood Alley' in 1955 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) and his wife, actress Lauren Bacall, pictured playing chess, USA, circa 1955. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) and his wife, actress Lauren Bacall, pictured on the steps outside the front door of a house, USA, circa 1955. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Married American actors Humphrey Bogart (1899 - 1957) and Lauren Bacall on board a yacht, circa 1955. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
BEL AIR, CA - CIRCA 1955: Actress Lauren Bacall poses for a portrait in the backyard of her home in circa 1955 in Bel Air, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
American actress Lauren Bacall, circa 1955. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1955: Portrait of American actor Lauren Bacall sitting on a metal bar outdoors in front of a swimming pool. She is wearing a green sweater and red pants. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1955: Portrait of American actor Lauren Bacall wearing a coral necklace and earrings and a gold satin jacket over a black velvet body suit, seated on an oriental carpet and leaning on an ottoman. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
4th March 1954: Film stars Lauren Bacall and, on right, Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) share a joke. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
25th January 1954: American film star, Lauren Bacall during a visit to London. (Photo by R. Mitchell/Express/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 24: Actress Lauren Bacall chats with TV show host Ed Sullivan in his office on May 24, 1954 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Steve Oroz/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1953: (L-R) Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable pose for a portrait on the set of the 20th Century-Fox film 'How to Marry a Millionaire' in 1953 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Theisen/Getty Images)
Actress Lauren Bacall pictured as a young child, aged ten, in her first professional portrait, taken by photographer John Robert Powers, USA, circa 1934. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
1999 Lauren Bacall stars in 'Diamonds.' Photo Miramax
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Jason Robards with Lauren Bacall and son Sam. (Photo by Dan Farrell/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Jason Robards and Lauren Bacall at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. (Photo by Bill Quinn/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 597 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Lauren Bacall, host Jay Leno on December 27, 1994 -- (Photo by: Alice S. Hall/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: Singer Whitney Houston and actress Lauren Bacall attend the Eighth Annual American Cinema Awards on January 12, 1991 Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: Sam Robards, Lauren Bacall, Stephen Bogart (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Lauren Bacall, host Johnny Carson on January 11, 1980 -- (Photo by: Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
FRANCE - MAY 11: Actress Lauren Bacall in the Apostrophes with Lauren Bacall in Paris, France on May 11, 1979. (Photo by Louis MONIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Lauren Bacall during 51st Annual Academy Awards at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the L.A. Music Center in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Lauren Bacall (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American actress Lauren Bacall (Betty Jane Perske) smoking. 1970s. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Actress Lauren Bacall arrives for the 2009 Governors Awards at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on November 14, 2009. The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is presenting the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to producer-executive John Calley, and Honorary Awards to actress Lauren Bacall, producer-director Roger Corman, and cinematographer Gordon Willis at the inaugural Governors Awards event. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)
THE DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK -- 'A Dozen Deadly Roses' -- Episode 20 -- Pictured: Lauren Bacall as Lorraine Boswell -- Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
FAMILY GUY: After Peter's mother passes away, he forms a special friendship with her longtime pal, Evelyn (guest voice Lauren Bacall), in the 'Mom's the Word' Time Period Premiere episode of FAMILY GUY airing Sunday, March 9, 2014 (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actress Lauren Bacall arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Inaugural Governors Awards held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Actress Lauren Bacall arrives to ELLE Magazine's 14th Annual Women In Hollywood at the four seasons hotel on October 15, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California.
DEAUVILLE, France: US actress Lauren Bacall poses at a photocall for 'Birth' which is being previewed at the 30th Deauville American film festival in Deauville, 09 September 2004. AFP PHOTO/JEAN PIERRE MULLER (Photo credit should read JEAN PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images)
US actress Lauren Bacall answers journalists' questions after the last ever Haute-Couture show of French designer Yves saint-Laurent 22 January 2002, at the Centre Georges Pompidou art gallery in Paris . Hours before unveiling his last collection, innovative designer Yves Saint-Laurent said his love affair with women was not over and hinted he had other cards up his sleeve. AFP PHOTO JEAN-PIERRE MULLER (Photo credit should read JEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/GettyImages)
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Bacall died Tuesday at the age of 89 in New York, according to the managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, Robbert J.F. de Klerk. Bacall's son Stephen Bogart confirmed his mother's death to de Klerk. She was pronounced dead at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center at 5:21 p.m. Tuesday, according to Kathleen Robinson, the hospital's media relations director.

The Academy-Award nominated actress received two Tonys, an honorary Oscar and scores of film and TV roles. But, to her occasional frustration, she was remembered for her years with Bogart and treated more as a star by the film industry than as an actress. Bacall would outlive her husband by more than 50 years, but never outlive their iconic status.

They were "Bogie and Bacall" - the hard-boiled couple who could fight and make up with the best of them. Unlike Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Bogart and Bacall were not a story of opposites attracting but of kindred, smoldering spirits. She was less than half Bogart's age, yet as wise, and as jaded as he was. They starred in movies like "Key Largo" and "Dark Passage" together, threw all-night parties, palled around with Frank Sinatra and others and formed a gang of California carousers known as the Holmby Hills Rat Pack, which Sinatra would resurrect after Bogart's death.

She appeared in movies for more than a half-century, but none brought her the attention of her early pictures.

Not until 1996 did she receive an Academy Award nomination - as supporting actress for her role as Barbra Streisand's mother in "The Mirror Has Two Faces." Although a sentimental favorite, she was beaten by Juliette Binoche for her performance in "The English Patient."

She finally got a statuette in November 2009 at the movie academy's Governors Awards gala.

"The thought when I get home that I'm going to have a two-legged man in my room is so exciting," she quipped.

Her persona paralleled her screen appearances: She was blunt, with a noirish undertone of sardonic humor that illuminated her 1979 autobiography, "By Myself" (she published an updated version in 2005, "By Myself and Then Some.")

Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx on Sept. 16, 1924 and was raised by her Romanian immigrant mother after her parents split when she was a child (her mother took part of her family name, Bacal; Betty added the extra L when she became an actress.)

"My childhood is a confusion," Bacall wrote in "By Myself," which made Bacall one of the rare celebrity authors to win a National Book Award. She told of nightmares over the arguments of her parents, of her mother's struggle to earn a living, of being sent off to boarding school.

As a young woman, Diana Vreeland, the famed editor of Harper's Bazaar, thought she was ideal for fashion modeling, and Bacall appeared regularly in the magazine. The wife of film director Howard Hawks saw her on a magazine cover and recommended her as film material, and she went to Hollywood under a contract.

Hawks became her mentor, coaching her on film acting and introducing her to Hollywood society. He was preparing a movie to star Bogart, based on an Ernest Hemingway story, "To Have and Have Not," with a script partly written by William Faulkner.

By this time she had acquired the professional name of Lauren, though Bogart and all her friends continued to call her Betty.

In "By Myself," she wrote of meeting Bogart: "There was no thunderbolt, no clap of thunder, just a simple how-do-you-do."

On her first day of shooting, her hands were shaking so much that she couldn't manage a simple scene of lighting a cigarette.

"By the end of the third or fourth take," she wrote in "By Myself," "I realized that one way to hold my trembling head still was to keep it down, chin almost to my chest and eyes up at Bogart. It worked, and turned out to be the beginning of `The Look.' "

Work led to romance. The 23-year age difference (he called her "Baby") failed to deter them, but they faced a serious obstacle: Bogart was still married to the mercurial actress Mayo Methot, with whom he engaged in much-publicized alcoholic battles. She was persuaded to divorce him, and the lovers were married on May 21, 1945.

"When I married Bogie," she remarked in a 1994 interview, "I agreed to put my career second, because he wouldn't marry me otherwise. He'd had three failed marriages to actresses, and he was not about to have another."

Still, she appeared in a few films without Bogart: "Confidential Agent" (with Charles Boyer) "Young Man with a Horn," (Kirk Douglas) and "How to Marry a Millionaire," with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.

She had son Stephen in 1949 and daughter Leslie in 1952. She also became active politically, joining her husband in protesting the Hollywood blacklist of suspected Communists and campaigning for Democrats. Few could forget the picture of her slouched on top of a piano, long legs dangling, while Harry Truman - then vice president - was seated in front of the keys.

But the party began to wind down in March 1956, when Bogart was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. On the night of Jan. 14, 1957, Bogart grabbed his wife's arm and muttered, "Goodbye, kid." He died in the early morning at the age of 57.

After a period of mourning, Bacall became romantically involved with Sinatra. When an "engagement" was mistakenly leaked by press agent "Swifty Lazar," the singer blamed her, and he terminated the romance.

"Actually, Frank did me a great favor - he saved me from the disaster our marriage would have been," she wrote in "By Myself."

Still mourning for Bogart, Bacall left Hollywood in October 1958. She made a film in England, and did a critically panned play that was significant because she would meet her second husband during her time on Broadway: Jason Robards Jr. He was similar to Bogart in that he was an accomplished actor, hard drinker - and married. After Robards was divorced from his second wife, he and Bacall married in 1961 but Robards' drinking and extramarital affairs resulted in divorce in 1969.

"Applause" in 1970 and "Woman of the Year" in 1981 brought Bacall Tony awards. Among her later movies: "Murder on the Orient Express," "The Shootist" and Robert Altman's "Ready to Wear." She played Nicole Kidman's mother in the 2004 film "Birth," and in recent years appeared as herself in a cameo for "The Sopranos."

For decades she lived in Manhattan's venerable Dakota, where neighbors included John Lennon and Yoko Ono. She was ever protective of the Bogart legacy, lashing out at those who tried to profit from his image.

Bacall became friends with Faulkner when he was writing scripts for Hawks. One of her prized possessions was a copy of Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech on which he wrote that she was not one who was satisfied with being just a pretty face, "but rather who decided to prevail."

"Notice he didn't write `survive,' " she told Parade magazine in 1997. "Everyone's a survivor. Everyone wants to stay alive. What's the alternative? See, I prefer to prevail."

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AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report. Biographical material in this story was written by The Associated Press' late Hollywood correspondent, Bob Thomas. AP reporter Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report.

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