Lauren Bacall: Her best loved film moments from The Big Sleep to Howl's Moving Castle

The husky voiced actress died in her home in New York at the age of 89

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The Independent Culture

As the film world pays tribute to one of its most elegant yet rapier-tongued actors, the husky-voiced Lauren Bacall, we take a look at her career from the days of "Bogie and Bacall" to the 1996 role that earned the actress her first Oscar nomination.

Bacall died on Tuesday at her home in New York at the age of 89.

Born Betty Jean Perske in 1924 to a Romanian-Jewish mother and a Polish-Jewish father, Bacall grew up in the Bronx in New York. Working as a model, Hollywood’s soon-to-be next great femme fatale was discovered by director Howard Hawkes at the age of 19 and cast against her future husband, Humphrey Bogart.

They began their life together after meeting on the set of To Have and Have Not, in which Bacall utters the immortal line: “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow,” sealing her fate as one of the best-loved actresses of her time.

Bogart was 44 when he met Bacall, and married to his third wife, but the pair had an affair and were married a year after the film's release. Known for their hard-boiled on-screen double act, they sparred together in The Big Sleep, and went on to star alongside each other in Dark Passage and Key Largo. They became the toast of Hollywood and the epitome of the broody, cool world of film noir, leading glamorous lives with tales of all-night partying.

Bacall and Bogart had two children and were together until Bogart’s death in 1957. She later said he was the love of her life, though Bacall went on to have another child with her second husband Jason Robards, and even had a brief stint engaged to Frank Sinatra around 1958.

Bacall’s rich career saw her take on a variety of roles after she moved out of the noire genre, starring alongside Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire, and Paul Newman in Harper. She spent many years acting on the stage before returning to screens in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

In 1996, at the age of 72, Bacall received her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Mirror Has Two Faces playing Barbara Streisand’s mother. She lost out to Juliette Binoche, but was awarded an honorary Academy Award in 2010.

To Have and Have Not (1944)


The adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel is where Bacall taught Bogart to whistle, and where the pair’s on-screen romance translated into their off-screen lives. They were married a year later in 1945.

The Big Sleep (1946)

The difficult adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s crime novel, which for critics, is hampered by its baffling and over-complicated plot line, certainly did not dampen the razor-sharp performances of Bogie and Bacall, who bounce their lines off each other with tremendous ease and class.

Dark Passage (1947)

Here Humphrey Bogart plays an escaped convict who is wrongly accused of his wife’s murder, and it is Bacall who tries to help prove his innocence while she lets him hide in her apartment.

Key Largo (1948)

This thriller was the last film Bogie and Bacall starred in together, with the third star of the film played by Edward G Robinson in this deadly tale of the gangster-run area of Florida.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Moving from noire to romantic comedy, Bacall’s performance alongside Marilyn Monroe and  Betty Grable, as three women who set out to find millionaires to bag as husbands, but who end up finding love.

Harper (1966)

The 1966 film was a return to the crime genre for Bacall, starring alongside Paul Newman who played the private investigator Lew Harper. Bacall plays a woman with a missing husband, while the film pays tribute to the private eye films of Bogart’s career.  

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

After a period of time on the stage, in which Bacall won two Tony Awards for Applause in 1970, she returned to big on-screen roles with Murder on the Orient Express, the Agatha Christie adaptation brimming with big name actors of the day, from Sean Connery to Ingrid Bergman and Vanessa Redgrave.

The Mirror has Two Faces (1996)

Playing the over-bearing mother of Barbara Streisand, this film earned Bacall her first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress, but lost out to Juliette Binoche for her performance in The English Patient.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

In one of her more interesting roles in later life, Bacall took on the voice for the ugly and evil character of the Witch of the Waste in Howl’s Moving Castle. She later turned up as the voice of The Grand Witch in Scooby Doo and the Goblin King and even appeared in an episode of Family Guy, voicing the character of Evelyn, which aired this year.