It’s official, amigos, the golden age of Hollywood glamour is gone forever with the passing of Lauren “Betty” Bacall today at the age of 89. Truly one of a kind, Bacall’s smoldering beauty lit up the screen for over 70 years but the thing she’ll probably most be remembered for is her voice. Oh, that voice!
I think my favorite Lauren Bacall movie is probably Key Largo, but I will always have a soft spot for that big ball of convulated craziness that is The Big Sleep. Even Raymond Chandler (who wrote the novel) used to joke that he couldn’t make heads or tails of that story. But when you’ve got a 19-year old Lauren Bacall making her screen debut opposite Humphrey-flicking-Bogart, who cares?! A true classic in every sense of the word!
I’m just glad old Betty finally got an Oscar before she died too. It might not have been the one she was hoping for — Bacall’s Best Supporting Actress loss to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient in 1996 is still considered one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history — but Bacall did take home a richly-deserved honorary Academy Award in 2009. So, rock on classy lady…and please give my regards to Bogey!
I don’t know about you guys, but, I’m still kind of reeling from the death yesterday of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not only was he one of my all-time favorite actors, but he was also the kind of reliably brilliant character actor (like John Goodman) that you’d hope to see onscreen in killer parts large and small for years to come. Sadly, that was not to be…
Although it’s little comfort right now, the fact that Hoffman left behind such a remarkable and diverse body of work is pretty awesome. He was usually my favorite character in anything he was in, and I loved him in everything, but, my favorite role of Hoffman’s is probably his turn as a home health care nurse in Paul Thomas Anderson’s crazy masterpiece Magnolia.
It’s not Hoffman’s showiest role and he could easily be eclipsed by the onscreen theatrics of his co-stars Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore, but there is a quiet grace in his performance that just kills me every time I see it. It’s like you can actually feel the things he is going through. Really amazing work in a movie busting at the seams with great actors.
I also loved him in Happiness, Boogie Nights, The Savages, Doubt, The Big Lebowski, Almost Famous, Moneyball and Pirate Radio, a movie I missed the first time around and finally saw (and loved!) this past summer. The funny thing is that when I looked up his filmography just now, some of the best stuff Hoffman did onscreen was in tiny parts in big movies that I barely remember seeing. And if you ask me, that’s the mark of a truly great actor.
Rest in peace, PSH. You left us way too soon…