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Jewish-American Actress Lauren Bacall Dies at 89

Lauren Bacall, a first cousin of former President Shimon Peres, dies after suffering massive stroke.
By AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 8/13/2014, 4:15 AM

Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Reuters

Legendary Jewish-American actress Lauren Bacall, an icon of Hollywood's golden age who lit up the silver screen in a series of classic movies opposite her husband Humphrey Bogart, died Tuesday aged 89.

"With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall," the Bogart estate confirmed in a brief statement on Twitter and quoted by AFP.

U.S. media reports said Bacall died after suffering a massive stroke at her home in New York on Tuesday morning.

Born Betty Joan Perske, "a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx" as she later put it, Bacall electrified Hollywood in her 1944 screen debut "To Have and Have Not," when she famously met Bogart and "taught him how to whistle."

Bacall spent much of the rest of her life coming to terms with her early superstardom, which grew into a seven-decade screen and stage career.

Beginning in the Golden Age of Hollywood, it would include wartime dramas and film noir with Bogart, action movies with John Wayne, a romance picture with Gregory Peck and a comedy with Marilyn Monroe.

Born in New York on September 16, 1924, Bacall was the only child of a salesman and a secretary, Jewish immigrants from Poland and Romania who divorced when she was five.

She eventually took her mother's maiden name, Bacal, and modified it slightly when her acting career took off.

She initially dreamed of being a dancer, but it was her modeling career that helped her blossom into a stage and screen legend.

Bacall landed her breakthrough role in "To Have and Have Not" at age 19, starring opposite Bogart. She married Bogart a year later.

After Bogart’s death, Bacall moved back to New York and tried her hand at Broadway, where she was hailed by critics.

She sizzled on the stage, winning two best actress Tony Awards for her roles in "Applause" in 1970 and "Woman of the Year" in 1981.

Bacall had one child with her second husband, Jason Robards, during an eight-year marriage to the actor between 1961 and 1969.

Bacall, whose unflinching autobiography "By Myself" won the National Book Award in 1980, once said her "great luck in life was being surrounded by people who had goals."

She narrowly missed out on a first acting Oscar for her performance in 1996's "The Mirror Has Two Faces" but was presented with an honorary Academy Award in 2009.

Bacall was also the first cousin of former Israeli president Shimon Peres.