Showbiz legend continues to light up bigscreen

Betty Joan Perske developed “The Look,” she said, out of first-day nervousness on the set of “To Have and Have Not.”

Said Perske, who became Lauren Bacall, “I realized that one way to hold my trembling head still was to keep it down, chin low, almost to my chest, and eyes up at Bogart.” A career and a great love were born that day. In the words of her memoir, “No one has ever written a romance better than we lived it.”

The Den Mother of the Rat Pack became a showbiz legend who keeps returning to the screen between theater engagements to give a new generation tantalizing tastes of what vintage Hollywood glamour really meant. (And she doesn’t coast. How many Golden Age divas would sign up to work for Lars von Trier? Twice!)

Good friend Kate Hepburn sagely summed up Lauren Bacall’s appeal: “All that pure simplicity, unguarded modesty and boyish courage, poured into a frame of leonine splendor.” All you have to do is think about her, and you can’t help but whistle. Just put your lips together and blow.”

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