This post is part of the Lauren Bacall Blogathon, hosted by me at my blog: In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood. Click here to view the other articles honoring Lauren Bacall. P.S: Scroll down to the bottom of the article to view photos of my Lauren Bacall autographs: Just in case: Here is a link for the album of the autographs: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200789553685221.1073741825.1354387245&type=3
For decades Lauren Bacall reigned as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. Ever since making her film debut in 1944, at the age of nineteen alongside Humphrey Bogart in “To Have And Have Not”, Lauren Bacall has been captivating audiences with her indelible talents, sultry looks and husky voice abounded with a story book romance with Humphrey Bogart, that would make for the screens most celebrated couple.
To many people she is remembered as Humphrey Bogart’s wife, while to others she is known for her immaculate presence and inimitable talents, but to our family she was much more than that.
It’s funny how a certain actress can hold such a distinguished existence in your family. For us it is Lauren Bacall, who with her impeccable charm and salient traits have impressed us for as long as we can remember. Though at first she started off an as eminent figure of the golden age, one who we have had dealings with, but as recently as four years ago and through sheer coincidence, she started to inhabit a special place in our circle.
Our adherence to Lauren Bacall can be traced as far back as my Great Grandma, Daphne Purvis, who was born in 1919. Being twenty five when Lauren Bacall first became an household name, my Grandma developed fond memories of the new star on the horizon, and was able to recall the day that the news spread about the romance between Bogart and Bacall.
Grandma had four children, the first child, a daughter who she named Patricia, being born in 1937. A year later in 1938, my Grandma, Audrey was born, with the other two making an entrance in the early 1940’s. Growing up each of the siblings made their round of the cinemas, often seeing double features at the same time. These were the days of cheap access into the movies, so with affordable admittance, the theater served as the primary source of entertainment. Since this was the era of quality films and stars, the movies being shown were all those perennial classics from the golden age.
During these visits to the cinema, one of the stars that captured my Grandma’s eye the most was Lauren Bacall. From the moment she witnessed her unique mastery on screen, she instantly became a fan, but little did she know then that her classy devotion to Lauren would be passed down through the family with her granddaughter ( Me ) inheriting the same penchant.
Sadly for Grandma, her daily admission to the cinema became a thing of the past when she gave birth to my mother, Linda in 1958. With a baby on her hands, things were rather hectic. Between work and trying to maintain a congenial environment for a child, it’s not easy to enjoy life’s pleasures. This profession known as motherhood wasn’t about to stop either. In 1964, my Uncle Jeffrey was born.
When my mother reached her teenage years, she would engage herself in movies, sometimes attending double features at the cinema, though many years later she has forgotten what films she seen at the theatre. Whether seeing it on the big screen or watching the Sunday sessions on television, she gained an appreciation for Lauren Bacall, but once observing her meritorious performance in “Key Largo” she immediately transformed into an avid fan, and would begin to explore Lauren’s life by reading movie magazines, and later advancing her knowledge by doing cryptic crosswords on classic Hollywood, where she would excel at questions relating to Lauren Bacall.
In the mid 1970’s, Jeffrey attended Mitchell High School, a secondary school situated in Blacktown in the western suburbs of Sydney. Around the time of his commencement it was announced that Lauren Bacall was coming to Australia, where she was going to grant a few interviews. Though when the news was first released, Mum and Grandma never heard it and remained incognizant of the whole tour until attaining an excursion notice from Mitchell High School.
The notice was more like an invitation, and far different than anything else you would usually receive from a school, but in a great way. Inside contained words that would excite the average human being. Whether or not you are a classic film enthusiast, it was enough to warrant a vigorous response, and that is exactly what it did for my Mum and Grandma, who automatically opened the envelope and jumped for joy at the contents of the letter. They couldn’t believe what they were reading, and were elated with the main component of the letter which stated that the school is inviting all parents of the student committee to attend their latest outing that was being held, and that event was no other but an exhilarating expedition of seeing Lauren Bacall live on the Mike Walsh Show.
Upon reading the letter they displayed such a jubilant nature and submitted an instantaneous response. This was Lauren Bacall, an actress who they have always admired, and they knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed. A lot of people would dream about seeing Lauren Bacall live, but for some people that possess these strong desideratum’s it is not easily achieved, but for Mum and Grandma, it was about to happen, and nothing was going to prevent it.
On a warm Autumns day in 1979, an assembled crowd of enthusiastic people waited impatiently outside the school for the bus to transport them to the Mike Walsh studios in Cremorne. At 9:30am, the bus arrived, and opened it’s doors to a sudden deluge of vivacious human beings, who were excited about the joy of witnessing the legend known as Lauren Bacall in real life up close and personal.
Chugging along Keyworth Drive, moving progressively past the still scenery outside, the bus filled with many euphoric faces and lively chatter, the time ticking swiftly as the vehicle approached each traffic light. Finally the bus reached it’s destination, and in an instant, the passengers disembarked, walking peacefully into the colossal doors of the studio.
Inside people flocked to obtain good seats. This proved to be a case of first in best dressed, and for Mum and Grandma things were propitious. As soon as they entered the building, Mum quickly pushed through the assembled crowd, attaining front row seats for her and Grandma. With the best seats in the house, they sat and waited contentedly for the moment that Lauren Bacall stepped out on stage.
Minutes later the clocked ticked to twelve, and out came Lauren Bacall who illuminated the whole auditorium as her presence swept across the stage, waving and smiling gracefully to the cheerful and spirited audience as she took to her seat, ready for the interview to begin.
Being fortunate enough to attain front row seats, Mum and Grandma were only inches away from Lauren Bacall, which meant that Lauren’s beauty and formal dress sense were perfectly captured, as well as getting a close glimpse of the star herself in the flesh. What a moment filled with many memories, and as the years progressed, those recollections from that magical moment has been shared with me numerous times.
With my families passion for classic cinema, it was only natural that I would inherit their fondness for movies. Growing up I have enjoyed hearing the stories from the “Mike Walsh Show”, while at the same time being jealous. Though it wasn’t until I was in year seven that I first became familiar with who Lauren Bacall was.
I was eleven years old when I first garnered an appreciation for Hollywood’s golden age, and the person to thank for that is Judy Garland, who became my stepping stone into the world of classic cinema after exploring her illustrious career.
Not long into the journey I discovered Lauren Bacall. With the amount of stories that I have received from Mum and Grandma during the years, I was eager to progress my way through her filmography, and needless to say I was immediately impressed.
Many years later in late 2011, after having viewed her entire filmography, I decided to write a letter to Lauren Bacall in the hopes of receiving a reply, but at the time the chances of that seemed very grim, especially to Mum who never held any faith in the whole idea. With perseverance, I wrote her a letter anyway and sent it to her home address in New York.
Four weeks later, to my surprise, I arrived home to discover a large white envelope in the letterbox. Intrigued with the size, I took it out, and the first thing I noticed was that the sender was Lauren Bacall, with her address printed on the back. I couldn’t believe it, and as the saying goes, I almost had a heart attack. As soon as I got inside, I opened the envelope, and was amazed to see a plethora of signed and personalized photographs from her. At the time I thought I was dreaming. I was in a state of shock not only from the amount of photos that I had received, but by her generosity, and her beautiful act of kindness.
Not long after, I wrote to her again, and within a few weeks, she replied back and signed another myriad of photos. For that, I will always be in debt to Lauren Bacall, and I will cherish those autographs for as long as I live.
Below is a tribute that my Grandma amassed on the week of Lauren’s passing last year on August 12th.
This week we lost another of our screen icons, Lauren Bacall. Lauren was an elegant and charming actress. She provided us with many hours of entertainment through her long resume of films, four of them being with her husband Humphrey Bogart. Apart from being headstrong, she knew what she wanted to achieve in life, and went on to accomplish those goals that she set for herself.
My daughter Linda and I were lucky enough to see Lauren being interviewed live on the “Mike Walsh Show” back in 1979. We were even more fortunate to attain front row seats for both of us, so we had a good view as we were right up the front, and we were able to witness Lauren’s beauty and intelligence in the flesh. It was an interesting interview. Lauren was ostentatious, but quite adamant in her beliefs. She had that certain aura about her which left us all intrigued by her. Seeing Lauren was an opportunity in a lifetime and we are both glad that we were present that day.
Lauren will be sadly missed, not only by those who knew her, but by her large plethora of fans world wide. Even though she is gone, her memory will live on through her large spate of films that she has starred in, and through her numerous interviews and guest appearances. Rest In Peace Lauren Bacall.
By Audrey Mayor.
Happy 91st Birthday Lauren Bacall. Thank you for a life time of entertainment.
Below are the photos of my Lauren Bacall autographs:
Below is a photo of me, your very trusted blogger at Lauren Bacall’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame:
Thank you for reading: