Lauren Bacall, Actress and Model, b: 16 September 1924 – d: 12 August 2014
I was very sorry to hear that Lauren Bacall had died last month, at the age of 89. She would have celebrated her 90th birthday today. The news of her passing came to my attention many days after the event, as I had been on holiday in Scotland when the news of her death had broke. I had seen her picture on the front of a newspaper in Scotland and assumed it was something to do with her approaching 90th birthday.
Lauren Bacall was another one of my favourite actresses and had been since I was a teenager. It was the sultry voice, the arch of her eyebrow and her panther-like way of moving that had attracted my attention. She had an amazing look of intelligence and sophistication, which was enhanced by the roles she played, often as a wisecracking woman of the world.
Like Ingrid Bergman, as mentioned in my post last month, I remember Lauren Bacall’s starring role in Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder On the Orient Express’ (1974). She played the part of the garrulous Harriet Belinda Hubbard. She always amuses me in this role, as the gum-chewing, non-stop-talking former actress, who seemed to fluster Hercule Poirot with her incessant chatter and the mention of her multiple husbands! However, it will be ‘The Big Sleep’ (1946), that I will vividly remember her for – her beauty and sophistication were very prominent, in her role as Vivian Rutledge, in this film noir classic, which starred Humphrey Bogart.
When I was younger my hobby was collecting autographs. I remember getting the address of Ms Bacall’s agent and writing her a fan letter, with my autograph request. It was an exciting day when the autograph arrived, with a personal letter. So many of the ‘BIG’ stars of the silver screen would not have bothered, but she wasn’t a person who forgot her fans. I still collect autographs now (only of the actors and actresses I personally like), but the autograph from Lauren Bacall will always hold a special place in my collection…
This portrait I produced of Lauren Bacall, created by using very small dots, was done by-hand and took many hours of patient and careful work. It was one of a number of movie star portraits that were featured in a small, private exhibition in Liverpool. The feedback of the portraits was very good at a time when I was just trying new techniques. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that I couldn’t quite bring myself to sell the majority of the pen-and-ink originals…
You don’t always win your battles, but it’s good to know you fought.