Seldom in Hollywood has a star risen from obscurity to headliner with such rapidity as Lauren Bacall.
Ms. Bacall, who died Tuesday at age 89 in New York, was among the last of the golden age screen goddesses, despite having appeared in relatively few films. She went on to star in Broadway plays and musicals.
Part of the reason for her legend was that she was Mrs. Humphrey Bogart—Hollywood royalty almost from the start.
In an early scene in "To Have and Have Not" she fixed Mr. Bogart with a smoldering gaze that became known as "the Look."
"You know how to whistle, don't you Steve?" she said. "You just put your lips together and blow." Audiences never recovered.
That her chin-down posture was required to control the 19-year-old film rookie's nerves wasn't apparent. Walter Winchell welcomed her with a column headlined "The Bacall of the Wild." Life magazine put her on the cover and wrote, "Her simplest remarks sound like jungle mating cries."
(CNN) -- She was bold, even brash.
With her alluring looks and smoky voice, Lauren Bacall delivered classic lines, both on and off screen.
Her most famous line:
"You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. 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," Lauren Bacall as Marie Browning in "To Have and Have Not."
Why will people doubt you wrote it?
They think actors are freaks—that we're a lot of drunks who party all the time and never work. Well, I for one work my tail off.
You were brought up to be a "nice Jewish girl," as you put it, but in Hollywood you hid that fact. Why?
So much more was made of my concealing it because I didn't "look" Jewish. There was anti-Semitism in Hollywood and I was terribly frightened. Remember, I was 19 and wasn't exactly swimming in self-confidence. It's one area of my life I am not proud of.
When you were going with Bogart, did you tell him you were Jewish?
Yes. I had once been asked out by a West Point cadet and the subject of religion came up. He never called back, and I was sure it was because I was a Jew. So when I fell in love with Bogie, I knew I had to damn well get it straight. Of course, he was the last man on earth it would have bothered.
Were you a great fan of Bogie's before you met him?
Howard Hawks said he'd like to put me in a film with Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart. I thought, "Cary Grant—terrific! Humphrey Bogart—yucch."
Didn't Howard Hawks help create your famous voice?
You can't acquire a voice. Either you have it or you don't. But Howard wanted me to be insolent with men on the screen, and that meant training my voice so it would remain low. I would park on Mulholland Drive—so as not to disturb the neighbors—and read The Robe aloud in a low, low voice. I was never much of a screecher anyway.
How did the Bacall "look" come about?
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. I still get the shakes from time to time.
Are you the tough cookie most people think you are?
I never thought I was a tough cookie at all. When I was making To Have and Have Not Howard Hawks wanted an attitude of worldliness. At the time I was trying to figure out how a kid with absolutely no sexual experience could convey worldliness. The biggest misconception people have about me is that I'm in control of every situation. I'm rarely in control of any situation.
A love story for the ages; quite atypical for Hollywood
WHAT? She was 19 for Gods sake, he was 44...and fricken powerful. According to feminist theory on power imbalances in relationships she was a classic victim.
I haven't heard any women hating on Bacall. She was elegant, refined, sophisticated. She taught millions of women how to be sexy without looking desperate. I think Kathryn Hepburn, Garbo, Marlena D., Myrna Loy, Rosalyn Russell, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball and others broke the mold. Women loved them.
As for Key Largo and The Petrified Forest, both were originally stage plays and the film-scripts stay fairly close to the original story lines, so I don't see how you can say that one is a remake of the other.