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R.I.P. Lauren Bacall

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I heard the old, old men say,
‘Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away.’
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.
‘All that’s beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.’

Yeats, The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water

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  • KmCO

    First Robin Williams, now Lauren Bacall. :'(

    • There is no good news anymore.

    • Halloween Jack

      Makes me worried about who will complete the trifecta.

  • To square the circle: she gave a memorable performance on the Rockford Files.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    Bacall: “*this* is the President?”

    Truman: “damn but this job *does* have an upside”

    • wjts

      What the fuck is up with Truman’s arm?

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        I suspect Ms Bacall had a better-tailored jacket than Mr Truman

        • Ahuitzotl

          everyone had a better-tailored jacket than Mr Truman – for a former haberdasher he was surprisingly careless of himself

          • rea

            Well, there was a reason he went bankrupt.

      • McAllen

        It looks like there’s some weird foreshortening going on. I’ve seen stuff like that in bad drawings, but never in a photograph.

        • John Revolta

          Yeah- his arm is bent at the elbow but it looks like it’s not.

        • Autonomous Coward

          This looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            I’m curious: do you mean the photo looks faked- or just tweaked?

            it was kind of a famous event in its day – google images has several variations on the basic pose

            • Autonomous Coward
              • jim, some guy in iowa

                the link doesn’t work but i get the point: I tripped over another unfamiliar internet tradition. d’oh!

      • keta

        Uh, it’s not Bacall’s legs, is wtf is up with Truman’s arm.

        Perspective, people. It’s a thing good photogs innately know.

        • CD

          Plus, as other pix show, his arms were not exactly simian.

  • Hogan

    That’s some good Yeats.

    • Ahenobarbus

      Thank Paul for not quoting Bertie Higgins.

      • prufrock

        A good friend of my dad’s was friends with Bertie Higgins. He said he snorted all the proceeds from “Key Largo”. He always finished the story with the line, “Now he’s eking out a living by performing in small clubs, playing his medley of hit.”

    • bad Jim

      Never shall a young man
      thrown into despair
      by the honey-colored ramparts
      gathered at your ear
      love you for yourself alone
      and not your yellow hair.

      But I can get a hair-dye
      and set such color there
      as black or brown or carrot
      that young men in despair
      shall love me for myself alone
      and not my yellow hair.

      I heard an old religious man
      but yesternight declare
      that he had found a text to prove
      that only God, my dear,
      could love you for yourself alone
      and not your yellow hair.

      • Manju

        I thought I saw Lauren Bacall…In a car jam… positivally absolutally.

        • Brutusettu

          Yeah I don’t believe it.

  • KarenJo12

    She’s #3. James Garner, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall. This month has been hell on my childhood heroes.

    • Ann Outhouse

      Also liberal heros (Garner and Bacall, anyway — not sure about Williams, although Wikipedia says he drove a Prius).

      • rickhavoc

        Williams scored enough hits on Ann Coulter to rate.

    • Halloween Jack

      Ah, that answers my quasi-question above.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    if nothing else I think I know the hook for the next Maureen Dowd column- she can use this pic as a way of busting Obama’s chops for not being alpha enough, as she just used Robin Williams to bust H Clinton for being too alpha- or something. i had to quit reading

    • wjts

      …she can use this pic as a way of busting Obama’s chops for not being alpha enough…

      On the other hand, imagine the shitfit the wingnuts would pitch over a similar photo of Obama and Beyonce.

  • that kid in the corner

    I’m gonna try to blow a Loomis-gasket and say that I’m very fond of her spokeswork for Tuesday Morning.

  • mch

    Could I just say, as a 63-year-old woman?

    You younger “guys and dolls” (I do love that musical) have difficulty imagining, perhaps. I am not sure when I became aware of Lauren Bacall (a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx, of course), but I was very young. The wonders of NYC-area channels 5, 9, and 11 (some of us have discussed this before here) in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, when television sets were still big pieces of furniture that not everyone owned and, when you did own one, they broke down a lot….

    And she has stayed with me. A model more important than Gloria Steinem or whoever today’s world imagines as that phase of feminism’s models. She wasn’t the only one (I had TEACHERS, for instance, in school and elsewhere, like my violin teacher, and my own independent-minded mother and grandmothers, for instance). But a really important model. She usually played some man’s daughter. (Effective mothers don’t seem to have played into her movie roles’ formation — interesting! Not my experience, much as a I loved and was close to my own father. Something to investigate further — why did Hollywood like to omit her mother?) A model because she had her own point of view, her own desires, and she negotiated from those positions. It ain’t about domination, but it ain’t about being dominated, either.

    Much more interesting, her post-Bogart history with Robards, than Hepburn’s Stacey Catholic thing.

  • If any Front Pagers are reading, I have a suggestion for a new Asshole of the Year nominee: Todd Starnes. Check out his comments from Tuesday, exceptionally vile.

  • keta

    I never considered Bacall a real beauty and her acting, for me, was mostly pedestrian, but after reading her autobiography, By Myself, I was struck by her immense self-awareness and intelligence. There was a lot more bubbling under the surface than most realized, and she always handled herself with elan and sophistication that belied her age. In an industry that swallows whole attractive young women she more than held her own, and the dignity she exhibited through the courtship, marriage, family years and sad untimely death of Bogart is perhaps her greatest legacy. She wasn’t the young lady draped on the leading man’s arm – she was half of a whole and damned sure you knew it.

    I’d like to think her integrity and self-determination influenced many people over her lifetime, and what better legacy than that?

  • That picture with Bacall and Truman is great. Rachel Maddow used it on her show tonight as well.

  • Lee Rudolph

    I suppose I was the only one here who didn’t realize she was still alive?

    Oh, and while we’re on a Yeats kick…

    =====

    Why should not old men be mad?
    Some have known a likely lad
    That had a sound fly-fisher’s wrist
    Turn to a drunken journalist;
    A girl that knew all Dante once
    Live to bear children to a dunce;
    A Helen of social welfare dream,
    Climb on a wagonette to scream.
    Some think it a matter of course that chance
    Should starve good men and bad advance,
    That if their neighbours figured plain,
    As though upon a lighted screen,
    No single story would they find
    Of an unbroken happy mind,
    A finish worthy of the start.
    Young men know nothing of this sort,
    Observant old men know it well;
    And when they know what old books tell
    And that no better can be had,
    Know why an old man should be mad.

  • The Revel
    Bartholomew Dowling

    East India

    WE meet ’neath the sounding rafter,
    And the walls around are bare;
    As they shout back our peals of laughter
    It seems that the dead are there.
    Then stand to your glasses, steady!
    We drink in our comrades’ eyes:
    One cup to the dead already—
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

    Not here are the goblets glowing,
    Not here is the vintage sweet;
    ’T is cold, as our hearts are growing,
    And dark as the doom we meet.
    But stand to your glasses, steady!
    And soon shall our pulses rise:
    A cup to the dead already—
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

    There ’s many a hand that ’s shaking,
    And many a cheek that ’s sunk;
    But soon, though our hearts are breaking,
    They ’ll burn with the wine we’ve drunk.
    Then stand to your glasses, steady!
    ’T is here the revival lies:
    Quaff a cup to the dead already—
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

    Time was when we laugh’d at others;
    We thought we were wiser then;
    Ha! ha! let them think of their mothers,
    Who hope to see them again.
    No! stand to your glasses, steady!
    The thoughtless is here the wise:
    One cup to the dead already—
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

    Not a sigh for the lot that darkles,
    Not a tear for the friends that sink;
    We ’ll fall, ’midst the wine-cup’s sparkles,
    As mute as the wine we drink.
    Come stand to your glasses, steady!
    ’T is this that the respite buys:
    A cup to the dead already—
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

    There ’s a mist on the glass congealing,
    ’T is the hurricane’s sultry breath;
    And thus does the warmth of feeling
    Turn ice in the grasp of Death.
    But stand to your glasses, steady!
    For a moment the vapor flies:
    Quaff a cup to the dead already—
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

    Who dreads to the dust returning?
    Who shrinks from the sable shore,
    Where the high and haughty yearning
    Of the soul can sting no more?
    No, stand to your glasses, steady!
    The world is a world of lies:
    A cup to the dead already—
    And hurrah for the next that dies!

    Cut off from the land that bore us,
    Betray’d by the land we find,
    When the brightest have gone before us,
    And the dullest are most behind—
    Stand, stand to your glasses, steady!
    ’T is all we have left to prize:
    One cup to the dead already—
    Hurrah for the next that dies!

  • Srsly Dad Y

    And the years just flow by like a broken down dam.

  • bobbo

    If you haven’t seen “To Have and Have Not,” it’s an absolute must. Not just for the famous “you know how to whistle, don’t you” line, but for her amazing presence and humor, and for her wonderful little jig at the very end of the movie. Also, too, “The Big Sleep.”

    • Jestak

      Those are still my two favorite Bacall performances to this day.

  • rewenzo

    In a funny coincidence, Lauren Bacall is Shimon Peres’ first cousin.

  • CJColucci

    Having been a somewhat sickly child, I spent many school day afternoons at home watching Ed Murphy’s Hollywood Matinee, the local movie showcase. At the age of 11, I fell in love with Lauren Bacall — I believe it was To Have and Have Not, but I’m not sure — though it would be years later before I understood why.
    Fast-forward 20 years. A co-worker had a spare ticket to a charity function and invited me along. Suddenly, from across the room, I saw Lauren Bacall. I pointed her out to my co-worker, who said, “I roomed at prep school with her son. Let me introduce you.” At 31, I had been places and et in ho-tells (though I hadn’t gone to prep school), but the thought was intimidating. Nevertheless, I allowed myself to be dragged along.

    Co-worker: “Ms. Bacall…”
    LB: “Hello, Jeffrey, how are you?”
    Jeffrey: “Fine thank you. How’s Stephen?”
    LB: “Well, thanks.”
    Jeffrey: “I’d like to introduce you to a colleague of mine…”

    My best recollection is that I did my best Ralph Kramden hummana hummana impression. Ms. Bacall gave me a look that seemed to say, “Jeffrey, I’m glad to see that you still do volunteer work with the mentally challenged.”

    I saw her at another function a few years later. She lived a few floors above the apartment where it was being held, and stopped by briefly. I couldn’t get across the room before she had to leave, so I never got a chance to make up for that first impression.

    • Barry Freed

      Great story, thanks for taking the time to share it. She was one of a kind.

      RIP.

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