On this day: Lauren Bacall is born

September 16 1924: The American stage and film star is born as Betty Joan Perske

By Jennifer Lipman, September 16, 2010
Lauren Bacall with Humphrey Bogart

Lauren Bacall with Humphrey Bogart

At the age of 86 Lauren Bacall remains one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. Born in New York to European immigrants, her father left the family when she was five.

At 19 she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and caught the attention of director Howard Hawks, who cast her in To Have and Have Not.

Like many Jewish actors of the time, she changed her name as she launched her career. Ms Perske became the less-overtly Jewish Ms Bacall, star of How to Marry a Millionaire and The Big Sleep.

Off-screen, the actress – a first cousin of Israeli President Shimon Peres - is notorious for her liberal political leanings. She kept gossip columnists busy for decades with her colourful personal life, including a marriage to Humphrey Bogart and an alleged affair with Frank Sinatra.

She was nominated for an Oscar for her 1996 performance as Barbra Streisand’s mother in The Mirror Has Two Faces but has never won the prestigious award.

What she told the JC: “I was never in the beautiful category, that’s what I cannot make people realise. Fabulous, yes, but beautiful? When you see great beauties listed, my name is never in there.” – February 1997

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Last updated: 2:59pm, January 28 2011