20 Stunning Black and White Portraits of Lauren Bacall From the 1940s

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Lauren Bacall was a bewitching actor whose husky voice and smouldering onscreen chemistry with her husband Humphrey Bogart made her a defining movie star of the 1940s and who decades later won Tony Awards in the Broadway musicals Applause and Woman of the Year.

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She was the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary. They divorced when she was five and she rarely saw her father after that.

As a school girl, she originally wanted to be a dancer, but later switched gears to head into acting. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, after attending She was educated at Highland Manor, a private boarding school in Tarrytown, New York (through the generosity of wealthy uncles), and then at Julia Richman High School, which enabled her to get her feet wet in some off-Broadway productions.
Out of school, she entered modeling and, because of her beauty, appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, one of the most popular magazines in the US. The wife of famed director Howard Hawks spotted the picture in the publication and arranged with her husband to have Lauren take a screen test. As a result, which was entirely positive, she was given the part of Marie Browning in To Have and Have Not (1944), a thriller opposite Humphrey Bogart, when she was just 19 years old. This not only set the tone for a fabulous career but also one of Hollywood’s greatest love stories (she married Bogart in 1945). It was also the first of several Bogie-Bacall films.
After 1945’s Confidential Agent (1945), Lauren received second billing in The Big Sleep (1946) with Bogart. The mystery, in the role of Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, was a resounding success. Although she was making one film a year, each production would be eagerly awaited by the public. In 1947, again with her husband, Lauren starred in the thriller Dark Passage (1947). The film kept movie patrons on the edge of their seats. The following year, she starred with Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, and Lionel Barrymore in Key Largo (1948). The crime drama was even more of a nail biter than her previous film.
Below is a selection of 20 stunning black and white portraits of Lauren Bacall from the 1940s:

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