Lauren_bacall_promo_photoLauren Bacall in the 1940s.

The Dakota, New York City, 1966: Two full-of-themselves recent private school graduates stagger home one summer night. The courtyard is lit in a whole new way. Has there been a change in the outdoor lighting for the dowager queen apartment building on Central Park West? Perhaps the full moon has slipped from its orbit and is angling in a novel way?

No, the light was emanating from the most stunning 41-year-old on the planet. Lauren Bacall was coming home on the arm of her husband, Jason Robards.

Lauren Bacall – Mini Biography (

Even if those boys had thought of themselves as college men just minutes before, they felt themselves reduced in stature and age by the elegance, poise, and incomparable beauty of the woman walking in front of them.

Decades later, one of them found himself at a gym and physical therapy palace on the west side of Manhattan. This is a home to celebrities wanting to work out with the celebrity trainer and to be healed by the incomparable therapists. Think private, low-key, and no one making eye contact with anyone else.

Trainer and client engaged in banter as one counted reps and the other grunted. Music played. Other clients and other trainers talked, counted, grunted. Phones rang ever so discreetly.

And then a voice inquired, “Where am I supposed to be going?”

836301Silence. The music most likely continued playing, but when that Dakota-experience boy-now-man tells this story he remembers only silence and glamour.

It was 78-year-old Betty Bacall, come for her first training session to cope with back pain, and it was show stopping. The show was real life.

Being real may have been Bacall’s greatest talent of all. She wrote two autobiographies that talk about what really happened and how she really felt. She was a 19-year-old girl who married a 45-year-old monument. Then she was a 32-year-old woman who had to live the rest of her life without him. And finally she was a woman who fought to be thought of as more than the woman whom he loved and lived with.

In By Myself, she wrote of how she coped with the struggles we all share. She wrote with the humor that must have helped her keep it real as well.

Dear Lord
I want to thank you, Lord, for being with me so far this day
I haven’t been impatient, lost my temper, been grumpy, judgmental or envious of anyone
But I will be getting out of bed in a minute, and I think I will really need your help then

We are so grateful that this lady was there to teach us grace for so long.  Amen again.


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  • Diane Vacca August 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    i enjoyed reading this. Too bad Bacall had the the misfortune to die in the same week as Robin Williams. Any other time she would have received much more attention.

  • Roz Warren August 15, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Nice tribute. I read and enjoyed BY MYSELF when it first came out. Didn’t enjoy the “sequel” quite as much. R.I.P, Lauren Bacall.