Tuesday, August 12, 2014

my first love, Lauren Bacall

Lauren "Betty" Bacall, 1924 - 2014

This has truly been a week of tragedies.  Today, my first love, Lauren Bacall, has died.

She was a figure of inspiration and admiration for as long as I can remember.  Since the age of 10, when I carried a large, hardbound copy of Humphrey Bogart's biography around my 5th grade class for 2 weeks straight... she has been a part of my life.
I'm sort of at a loss for words.  She wasn't young.  At 89, she (along with Mickey Rooney, who passed earlier this year) was one of last remaining icons of the Classic Hollywood era.  Her passing marks the end of that chapter in our film history, and something about that truly brings me to tears. 

When I was a child, and my father showed my sister and I a series of Bogart movies, I was immediately taken with To Have and Have Not.  The reason had everything to do with Bacall's presence.  Her first movie.  She was 19 - he was 44;  and they fell in love.  I fell in love with both of them.  It took me a long time to understand the crush I had on her.  But not long at all to truly embrace it.

Her beauty was like nothing I'd ever seen before.  For my young mind, it was like seeing a real life Sleeping Beauty, because no living person had ever been so beautiful.  She was captivating, and to read about her life is to see evidence of just that;  just how enamored everyone was with her. 

I could talk about her movies.  About how my essay on To Have and Have Not changing my life is what [probably] got me into college.   About how I would watch this scene from The Big Sleep every day before walking to school in the 5th grade.  Or about how this scene was my study on how to really kiss.

But no, it wasn't her movies.  It was her.  It was her husky voice; as a husky-voiced girl, myself, I learned early on that having a deep voice could be sexy.  Her presence, the way she walked into a room and commanded all the eyes to turn.  Throughout her entire life, she was magnetic.

The world lost a true legend today.  My heart goes out to her children, family, and friends. Bogart and Bacall are once again together.

Goodbye Betty.  I can only lament that I never met you to thank you for all that you've done for me; more than anyone will ever know.  

I will never forget you for all the rest of my days.  xx

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