In the spirit of the award season, I am counting down to the Oscars by honoring some of the strongest women in Classic Film. On and off the screen they all showed beauty, grace, talent and undying resolve. Today I honor Lauren Bacall.

Lauren Bacall

  • Married to Humphrey Bogart from 1945 until his death in 1957.
  • Best known for To Have and Have Not (1944), Key Largo (1948) and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953).
  • Won SAG Award, a Golden Globe award, the Cecile B. DeMille award, and an honorary Oscar.
  • Began her career as a model.

Did you know? Bacall and Bogart were among about 80 Hollywood personalities to send a telegram protesting the House Un-American Activities Committee’s investigations of Americans suspected of Communism. Bacall encouraged Bogart to establish the Committee for the First Amendment to denounce the blacklist and protect its victims (who were more Jews and liberals than “reds”).  CFA was a cross section of the plucky, upstanding Hollywood left: Danny Kaye, John Huston, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn etc.

Why I like her: “being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind.” This.

Favorite Quote

On Bette Davis – Well, I must say that I always loved her. And I think that she – for me – was the best actress and the most exciting female star on the screen. I think her work will live forever. I think it’s timeless. And as she got older, her talent did not diminish. I mean, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” – she – it was a wonderful job of acting that she did. She looked like a fright, but that was the part. But she could convey almost anything. She was quite an extraordinary talent. And unfortunately, she didn’t have an opportunity to do as much a she wanted to, but she was a woman who had to work. And I understand that better than most people do – that you have to work.

Want to read about the other women I feature in my countdown to the Oscars? Find them here:

Dorothy Dandridge:

Judy Garland:

Marilyn Monroe:

Joan Crawford:

Olivia De Havilland: