On September 16th, Lauren Bacall would have been ninety years old; almost a century of viability, lusting and loving life, protected, enhanced by her inimitable intelligence and wit she was unequivocally the captain of her soul; archetypical woman of substance who did it her way; thrust into the lionizing limelight at nineteen (“To Have and Have Not”) she perpetually reiterated that “stardom isn’t a profession, it’s an accident”; she rose above her “Cinderella” marriage to Humphrey Bogart, widowhood, second foray into the marital realm with Jason Robards; raised three children; coveting her role as a mother and actor, she never compromised, lost her sense of humor or took herself too seriously; a personage deserving of the highest esteem.
As an addicted film devotee, I never become invested with “stars” personal lives; I pay to see them, they are in my debt; off the screen is none of anyone’s concern; but because of the public’s unquenchable thirst, and the paparazzi’s overwhelming zeal and tenacity, it is a challenge for them and us to escape the onslaught, invasion of their privacy. So inevitably through the years I watched Ms.Bacall’s dignified journey into her remarkable dotage; her engrossing and entertaining interviews with the king of interviewers, Charlie Rose, garnishing tremendous awe and admiration; an unusual specimen in the theatrical milieu.
With her passing goes the last vestige of old-time Hollywood glamour and mystique; an era where the foibles of celebrities were shrouded from their fans; unscathed by the human condition, they remained in a purified, rarefied state, frozen on the silver screen flawlessly, pristinely perfect.
Gone is the glory, sophistication of Ms. Bacall’s exhaling from the now terminally banned, maligned cigarette; no one smoked with her style, savoir faire, impervious, classic reserve; her voice, redolent of dusky corridors at sunset, smoky bars at midnight, intense assignations, anytime. She immortalized, epitomized, projected an aura, a time, almost messianic, in its resonance; she was “the look”, “Lauren Bacall” but most admirable, at her core she remained, never forgot, that she was Betty Joan Perske, a nice Jewish girl from New York.