NEW YORK: Tributes flowed for screen legend Lauren Bacall on Wednesday, a day after the iconic star of Hollywood’s golden age died aged 89.
Bacall, famed for her on and off-screen romance with Humphrey Bogart, died after suffering a stroke at her home at New York’s exclusive Dakota apartments, where fans converged Wednesday to lay flowers.
Her death came only a day after the death by suicide of another Hollywood great, Robin Williams, 63, which also stunned movie lovers worldwide.
“First Robin, who was a genius, and now Lauren,” said Barbra Streisand, who starred with Bacall in the 1996 film “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” which the singer and actress also directed.
“It was my privilege to have known her, to have acted with her, and to have directed her. And, most of all, to have had her as a wise and loving friend,” she told Entertainment Weekly magazine.
“Thank you, Lauren, for teaching us all how to whistle,” added comedian Seth McFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” on Twitter. Her vocal appearance on the edgy animated TV series last March was among her final acting credits.
Outside the Dakota apartments, best-known as the place where John Lennon was murdered in 1980, neighbors remembered Bacall fondly.
“It was always fun to see her,” Patti van Dyke told AFP as she walked her dog past the neo-Gothic residence by Central Park.
“She would always remember my name and ask about my career.”
“She had the most beautiful laugh I’ve ever experienced,” added Claire Hogenauer, a lawyer who regularly saw Bacall out and about.
New York-born Bacall electrified Hollywood in her 1944 screen debut “To Have and Have Not,” when she famously met Bogart and “taught him how to whistle.”
With her smoldering gaze and deep, husky voice, she soon became a scorching-hot property both in Hollywood and on Broadway.
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.
She cemented her sultry bombshell status in “To Have and Have Not,” when she purred to Harry “Steve” Morgan, played by Bogart: “You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”
When Bogart died from throat cancer in 1957, Bacall, who had two children with the legendary actor, poignantly placed a whistle in his coffin.
Bacall initially dreamed of being a dancer, but it was her modeling career — including an appearance on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar — that helped her blossom into a stage and screen legend.
She landed her breakthrough role in “To Have and Have Not” at age 19, starring opposite 45-year-old Bogart, who she married the following year.
She went on to feature with Bogart in “The Big Sleep” in 1946, “Dark Passage” in 1947 and “Key Largo” in 1948.
And she starred opposite Monroe and Betty Grable in 1953’s “How to Marry a Millionaire.”
But the Bogart-Bacall fairytale had an abrupt ending, as Bogart died of throat cancer in January 1957.
After her next film flopped a year later, the young widow moved back to New York and found success on the Broadway stage.
Bacall had one child with her second husband, Jason Robards, during an eight-year marriage to the actor between 1961 and 1969.
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.