(JNS.org) Jewish-American actress Lauren Bacall died Tuesday, August 12 from a stroke. She was 89. Bacall was a successful star with a femme fatale image in 1940s Hollywood. She was married to actor Humphrey Bogart.
Born Betty Joan Perske in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Jewish immigrants from Poland and Romania, Bacall changed her name when she arrived in Hollywood to pursue a film career in the 1940s. Though she claimed to be proud of her Jewish heritage, she bowed to Bogart’s wish to baptize their two children, Leslie and Stephen.
“Bogie’s feeling was that the main reason for having the children christened was that, with discrimination still rampant in the world, it would give them one less hurdle to jump in life’s Olympics. I, with my family-ingrained Jewish background, bucked it – it felt too strange to me,” she wrote in her autobiography, By Myself.
Later in life, Bacall met her first cousin, former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who was born Szymon Perski in Poland. She met Peres in 1987 in Jerusalem.
In addition to her two children with Bogart, Bacall leaves behind a son, Sam, from an eight-year marriage to the actor Jason Robards.