Hollywood has always had its share of cross-generational couples both on and off screen. The 1940’s film To Have and Have Not brought together one of Hollywood’s happiest and best known older man-younger woman couples of all time: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Bogart was smitten by the young actress with the older-than-her-years-sensuality making her big-time debut in the film. They would go on to make several more movies together in the following years.
Although Bogart was 25 years her senior, Bacall fell for him hard. The couple married not long after they met. During their “till death us do part” marriage the couple had two children—a son, Stephen and a daughter, Leslie. Interestingly, their daughter was named for a man, actor Leslie Howard.
The patrician Bogart, who had prepped at Andover, likely saw a younger wife as nothing out of the ordinary. Many successful men waited till their 40s to marry in the world of his childhood. Sadly this was not the case for Bogie who had tried marriage a few times before and was still married to an actress when he and Bacall met. Certainly she was what we’d call today “arm candy,” but there is no doubt that the couple was sincerely in love and very sincerely married, staying together happily until Bogie died.
In her autobiography, Lauren Bacall By Myself, we learn details of their life together. It was during their marriage that she was credited with naming the famous “Rat Pack,” after a night of partying.
I’ve often wondered, during my many viewings of Bogart’s movie Sarbrina, itself a movie of an older man—younger woman romance, if while filming it Bogart ever felt nostalgic for those early days of their relationship. He played driven business man Linus Larrabee to perfection. But then, how could he fail? He might have been playing himself.
Although Bacall dated and later remarried to actor Jason Robards, she did not have another lasting relationship after Bogart.
Although I’ve heard them mentioned often, I’ve never seen a film with either Bogie or Bacall, to my knowledge. I must fix that — this was fascinating!