Legendary actress Lauren Bacall dies at 89

Posted at 8:27 PM, Aug 12, 2014

(CNN) – Actress Lauren Bacall, known for her distinctive, husky voice and sultry sensuality, died Tuesday, according to a family spokesman. She was 89.

Robbert de Klerk, co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, said Bacall died in New York.

Friend Dick Cavett, a former TV talk show host, said he and his wife were in a cab just 36 hours ago, driving by where Bacall lived and wondering aloud how she was doing.

“Her presence was tangible,” Cavett told CNN. “There was no nonsense, no affectation. She wasn’t tough. But she could play tough.”

Cavett added: “She just was what a lot of young women would like to be. Someone that can’t be pushed around. Someone that could tell you where to head in … with a colorful, vile vocabulary if she needed to fall back on it.”

Bacall shot to international fame in 1944 with her first film, “To Have and Have Not,” which she made with future husband Humphrey Bogart.

They married in 1945, had two children and went on to make four more films together, including “The Big Sleep” (1946), “Dark Passage” (1947) and “Key Largo” (1948). Bogart died in 1957.

“He was an extraordinary, extraordinary man. I mean, I’ve been extremely lucky. God, I have no complaints at all,” Bacall said of Bogart during a 2005 interview with CNN’s Larry King.

A marriage to Jason Robards, which produced another child, ended in divorce. She was engaged to Frank Sinatra, briefly, between marriages.

Bacall won two Tony Awards and an honorary Oscar; she was nominated for three Emmy Awards.

During the interview with King, Bacall said working on stage was her original dream.

“When the curtain goes up, [the stage is] ours. It’s ours to project what the playwright wants to say to an audience, what to convey and to get a response from the audience immediately.

“Movies are great fun and wonderful when they’re good. But you never get to see them till six months after they’re finished.

“So you never get a sense of whether they’re really well liked or how good they are. And you don’t really know what the finished product is going to be like, because it’s a director’s medium.”

Bacall was discovered by the wife of American film director Howard Hawks after she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

Hawks later gave Bacall, who was born Betty Joan Perske, the name Lauren. Her last name, Bacall, came from her mother’s maiden name.

Her first autobiography, “Lauren Bacall: By Myself,” won the National Book Award in 1980. “By Myself and Then Some,” her updated autobiography, was published in 2005.