Pop Culture

Hollywood Legend Lauren Bacall Dies at 89


Lauren Bacall, the husky-voiced actress whose marriage to Humphrey Bogart was the stuff of Hollywood legend, died Tuesday of a stroke in New York. She was 89.

Kathy Robinson, a spokeswoman for New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, told NBC News that Bacall died at 5:21 p.m. ET. Robbert de Klerk, co-manager of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, said she died quietly and suffered no pain.

"We're a little kind of shocked by the suddenness of it, and we're mourning her loss, and we're remembering all the good things about her," Jamie Bogart, Bacall's grandson, told NBC News. "She had a good long life and lived to 89. That's a hard thing to do these days, so we're cherishing the memories today."

Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske in New York in 1924, was a little-known 19-year-old fashion model when she was cast opposite Bogart in "To Have and Have Not" in 1944. Her impact was immediate, and with one memorable line — "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." — she became an instant star.

The following year, she and Bogart, 25 years her senior, were married. They remained a storybook couple until Bogart died in 1957, starring together in a series of film-noir classics that included "The Big Sleep" and "Key Largo."

Bogart won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Actor for his appearance in "The African Queen." In 1961, Bacall married another Oscar-winning actor, Jason Robards Jr. They divorced in 1969.


Bacall was also an activist, opposing the Communist witch hunts of the 1940s and '50s and hosting anti-witch-hunt fund-raisers as early as 1947.

Bacall — known almost universally as "Betty" — was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1996's "The Mirror Has Two Faces," and in 2009, she was given an honorary Oscar as one of the central figures of "the Golden Age of Hollywood."

She also had a long Broadway career, winning Tony Awards for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for "Applause" (1970) and "Woman of the Year" (1981).

- M. Alex Johnson and Sossy Dombourian

Tricia Culligan of NBC News contributed to this report.