Friday, September 16, 2011

You Know How To Whistle, Don't You, Steve? You Just Put Your Lips Together & Blow

It is my all time favorite movie quote & for a decade, I had it as my outgoing message on my answering machine (do you remember answering machines?), until I got too many complaints that it was salacious.

Betty Joan Perske was born on this day in 1924… & what a classy broad little Betty turned out to be. She began her career as a model, gracing the cover of Harper's Bazaar at age 19, before moving on to acting. Lauren Bacall landed a starring role in To Have & Have Not (1944) opposite Humphrey Bogart. The pair married a year later, & went on to make 5 films (& 2 children) together, including The Big Sleep (1946) & Key Largo (1948). She was with him until his death in 1957.

Her movie career slowed down in the 1960s and 1970, she turned to Broadway, winning Tony Awards for her roles in Applause (1970) & Woman of the Year (1981). She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Barbra Streisand's mother in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) & in 2009 she was be honored with a special Oscar for a lifetime of superior work in films. I love that she continues to work. Ms. Bacall appeared with Nicole Kidman in 2 films: Dogville (2003) & Birth (2004). She was also married to actor Jason Robards (1961–69) & is the mother of actor Sam Robards.

Recently, her granddaughter insisted that she watch the movie- Twighlight, declaring it the greatest vampire film of all time. Bacall: "After the 'film' was over, I wanted to smack her across her head with my shoe, but I do not want a book called Grannie Dearest written on me when I die, so instead I gave her a DVD of Murnau's 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu & told her, now that's a vampire film!" On Twitter, she raved about the wonders of the musical- Nine, & Fellini's classic 8½, saying: "Almost forgot if you have not seen 8½ I suggest you do or else be condemned to hell."

When I was living in NYC in the 1970s, I once followed her for 14 blocks, but couldn't bring myself to say something to her. Just as I got the nerve, she stopped in front of The Russian Tea Room, where she greeted Liza Minnelli with a kiss & they went inside. A truly NYC gay moment.

"I think your whole life shows in your face & you should be proud of that."

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