In April 1943, still a teenager, Lauren Bacall set out for Hollywood to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress.
These experimental hair and make-up looks were for her first starring role as ‘Slim’ in the film ‘To Have and Have Not’. This role would not only begin her career but also introduce her to “the first and most electrifying love of her life”, Humphrey Bogart.
THE NAME – Born Betty Joan Perske her name went through various transformations before it became Lauren Bacall. Firstly, after her parents divorced she took her mother’s last name ‘Bacal’ which in later years she would add an extra ‘L’ to the end of to take away confusion over pronunciation and it was the decision of her Warner Bros. manager, Howard Hawkes, to adopt the name ‘Lauren’. He promptly spread the story that it was her grandmother’s name, and thus a star was born.
Lauren Bacall began her career in the days of the rigid Hollywood studio system. Major studios such as MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros. and others like them owned their actors and actresses and the stars had little say over what was done to them.
Lauren’s first meeting with the make-up team for this test was less than encouraging. Lauren said of the encounter, “Perc Westmore, the make-up artist, examined my face and said ”Ummhmm, we can pluck your eyebrows, shave your hairline and straighten your teeth.” I was terrified and upset.” Fortunately for Lauren, having quickly spoken to her manager, Howard Hawkes, he reassured her that he had chosen her for her thick eyebrows and crooked teeth and that’s the way they would stay.
- Lauren Bacall, By Myself and Then Some (Autobiography).
Related Capsules: Humphrey Bogart in the Navy, 1918
What happened next? – Lauren Bacall’s IMDb profile