Lauren Bacall, a bewitching actress whose husky voice and smoldering onscreen chemistry with her husband Humphrey Bogart made her a defining movie star of the 1940s and who decades later won Tony Awards in the Broadway musicals “Applause” and “Woman of the Year,” died Aug. 12 in New York at 89.
Robbert de Klerk, co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, confirmed the death in an e-mail.
Ms. Bacall was one of the last surviving major stars of the studio system, which flourished from the silent-movie era to the dawn of the television age. She was a willowy, ash-blond fashion model when veteran film director Howard Hawks plucked her from the pages of Harper’s Bazaar in 1943 and molded her seductive screen persona.
Hawks gave Ms. Bacall, then 19, an electrifying film debut: as a sexy and insolent woman of mystery in “To Have and Have Not” (1944), based on an Ernest Hemingway story and set in the Caribbean during World War II. The movie shaped her public identity: a woman as sexually confident as she was formidable, or, in Bogart’s words, “steel with curves.”
In the film’s best-remembered scene, Ms. Bacall sidles up to Bogart, who plays a hard-boiled charter-boat captain named Steve. She kisses him, then says, “It’s even better when you help.”
Rest in peace, Lauren. We love you.