Lauren Bacall, 1924-2014

Lauren Bacall has died:

Bacall, the Hollywood icon who taught Bogart how to whistle in the film that launched her career and turned “Bogie and Bacall” into one of the movie world’s most celebrated couples, died Tuesday in New York, where she had lived for several decades. She was 89.

Her death was confirmed by Robbert de Klerk, co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate with her son, Stephen Bogart. The cause of death was not disclosed.

In a statement released on social media, the Bogart Estate expressed deep sorrow and “great gratitude for her amazing life.” Her daughter, Leslie Bogart, said the family was not releasing any other details at this time.

There are only a few paths that women take to movie stardom: the theater, they can start as child performers, or they start as beauty queens or fashion models. Ms. Bacall took the latter path, going from an 18 year old New York fashion model to a major film star over a remarkably short period. She starred in a half dozen or so iconic movies, mostly opposite Humphrey Bogart, including To Have and Have Not (her first screen appearance), The Big Sleep, and Key Largo. I think Key Largo is one of her best performances.

The screen was her metier; I have a vague recollection of having seen her on stage in Applause, for which she won a Tony in 1981.

Her death marks yet another step in the passing of the Golden Age of Hollywood’s studio system. Now the only major stars left alive from that period that I can recall are Olivia de Havilland and Luise Rainer.

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