Entertainment News

  • 13 August 2014, 10:41

Bogie And Bacall: Hollywood's Great Love Story

There was a quarter of a century between them but the marriage of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart became one of Hollywood's most legendary.

"Bogie and Bacall" began their romance on their first film together, To Have Or Have Not.

It was in this 1944 classic that Bacall uttered to her husband-to-be one of the most seductive lines in Hollywood history: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

The age difference failed to deter the couple and after Bogart managed to persuade his third wife, actress Mayo Methot, to divorce him, they married on May 21, 1945.

Unlike Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, Bogart and Bacall were not a story of opposites attracting but of kindred, smouldering spirits. She was less than half Bogart's age, yet as wise, and as jaded, as he was.

They threw all-night parties, laughed at the snobs, socialised with Frank Sinatra and formed a gang of California carousers known as the Holmby Hills Rat Pack.

Bogart and Bacall made three more movies together, and bantered best in the adaptation of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.

She took time out to have two children, Stevie and Leslie, and to accompany her husband as they roughed it in Africa for The African Queen, co-starring Bogart and Hepburn.

She also became active politically, joining Bogart in protesting the Hollywood blacklist of suspected Communists and campaigning for Democrats.

But the party began to wind down in 1956, when Bogart was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.

For the next 10 months his wife rarely left home in the evening. She organised late-afternoon cocktail parties where such friends as Sinatra, David Niven, Hepburn and Tracy buoyed Bogart's spirits with jokes and gossip.

On the night of January 14, 1957, Bogart grabbed his wife's arm and muttered: "Goodbye, kid."

He died in the early morning at the age of 57.

"At the time of his death, all I wanted, I think, was to believe that my life would continue," she told The Guardian in 2005.

An after Bogart's death, Bacall did continue to forge her own distinct path.

She had a brief, disastrous engagement to Sinatra and a troubled, eight-year marriage to Jason Robards Jr, with whom she had a son.

On television, in films, in her books, she was blunt, sardonic, demanding and loyal and pity anyone who knocked Bogart, crossed one of her friends or voted Republican.

The Bogart estate announced the death of Bacall at the age of 89 on August 12.