By Chuck Ross
“Lauren Bacall, the smoky-voiced movie legend who taught Humphrey Bogart [and the world] how to whistle in ‘To Have and Have Not,’ has died at the age of 89, according to her family,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Bacall was only 19 years old when she met Humphrey Bogart, then 44, right before they filmed “To Have and Have Not” in 1944.
Says The Hollywood Reporter, “Bogart and Bacall were one of the most popular Hollywood couples, onscreen and off, and their 11-year marriage was the stuff of romantic lore. In 1981, their love provided the lyrics for Bertie Higgins’ 1981 pop hit ‘Key Largo’ — ‘We had it all, just like Bogie and Bacall.’ ”
Adds The Reporter, “Bacall died [this morning, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014] of a stroke in her longtime home in the Dakota, the famous Upper West Side building that overlooks Central Park in Manhattan.”
The Reporter also says: “After Bogart died at age 57 of esophageal cancer in January 1957, Bacall had a romance with Frank Sinatra. Days after she accepted his marriage proposal in 1958, The Los Angeles Herald reported on the impending nuptial on page 1 and Sinatra broke things off, refusing to speak to her for two decades.
“She then was married to Oscar-winning actor Jason Robards from 1961 until their divorce in 1969.”
Howard Hawks, who directed “To Have and Have Not,” told this story about Bacall in the 2006 book “Conversations With the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age”: “We had a party out at the house [on a] Saturday night, and I asked her to come out there. I said, ‘Can’t you get somebody to take you home?’ She said, ‘I don’t do too well with men.’ I said, ‘Well, try insulting them and see what happens.’
“So she came around the next Saturday and said. ‘I got a ride home.’ I said, ‘What happened? ‘Well, I insulted a man and he liked it.’ I said, ‘What did you do?’ She said, ‘I asked him where he got his tie, and he said, “What do you want to know for?” and I said, “So I can tell people not to go there.”‘ ‘Who’s the man?’ She said, ‘Clark Gable.’ ”
Hawks then adds, “So on Monday I went to the writer [of ‘To Have and Have Not’] and told him about this girl who could insult people and make them like her. Insolence, you know — that they liked. I said, ‘You know, Bogie is the most insolent man on the screen. Do you think we can write a girl that is as insolent as he is?’ The writer said, ‘It would be fun to try.’ ”
The rest is movie history.