NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Actress and longtime New York City resident Lauren Bacall has died at the age of 89.
CBS News confirmed Bacall’s death Tuesday night. The estate of her late husband and frequent co-star, Humphrey Bogart, also confirmed her death in a tweet.
With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall. pic.twitter.com/B8ZJnZtKhN
— BogartEstate (@HumphreyBogart) August 12, 2014
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx in 1924 — the daughter of a Romanian Jewish immigrant mother and a New Jersey-born father who was the son of Polish immigrants. Bacall was first cousin to Israeli statesman Shimon Peres.
PHOTOS: Remembering Lauren Bacall
As a teenager, Bacall became a model and caught the eye of director Howard Hawks. He changed her first name to Lauren; she took her mother’s maiden name of Bacal, adding an L — and her career took off.
WCBS 880 film critic Jeffrey Lyons looked back Tuesday night on Bacall’s unlikely road to celebrity.
“When ‘Tobacco Road’ was being prepared for Broadway, the producer came to Julia Richman High School and he asked a young student there if she could dance the Charleston, two days after the dance was popular. But she said yes,” Lyons said. “Of course, she couldn’t and everybody left, but he said, ‘She’s got a lot of nerve. I’ll give her the part.”
“Tobacco Road” ran briefly in 1942, but two years later, another producer found Bacall selling magazines outside Sardi’s Restaurant in Midtown and suggested Bacall had better things in store, Lyons said.
“Another producer said, ‘You’re too beautiful to be doing this. You should be in the show ‘Come See Me,’ and she got a job. The show closed out of town, but she then starred with Bogie in her screen debut,” Lyons said.