By Myself and Then Some

( 25 )

Overview

The epitome of grace, independence, and wit, Lauren Bacall continues to astound generations with her audacious spirit and on-screen excellence. Together with Humphrey Bogart she produced some of the most electric scenes in movie history, and their romance on and off screen made them Hollywood's most celebrated couple.

But when Bogart died of cancer in 1957, Bacall and their children had to take everything he had taught them and grow up fast. In a time of postwar communism, ...

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By Myself and Then Some

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Overview

The epitome of grace, independence, and wit, Lauren Bacall continues to astound generations with her audacious spirit and on-screen excellence. Together with Humphrey Bogart she produced some of the most electric scenes in movie history, and their romance on and off screen made them Hollywood's most celebrated couple.

But when Bogart died of cancer in 1957, Bacall and their children had to take everything he had taught them and grow up fast. In a time of postwar communism, Hollywood blacklisting, and revolutionary politics, she mixed with the legends: Hemingway, the Oliviers, Katharine Hepburn, Bobby Kennedy, and Gregory Peck. She was engaged to Frank Sinatra and had a turbulent second marriage to Jason Robards. But Bacall never lost sight of the strength that made her a superstar, and she never lost sight of Bogie.

Now, on the silver anniversary of its original publication, Bacall brings her inspiring memoir up to date, chronicling the events of the past twenty-five years, including her recent films and Broadway runs, and her fond memories of many close lifelong friendships. As one of the greatest actresses of all time turns eighty, By Myself and Then Some reveals the legend in her own beautiful frank words -- encapsulating a story that even Hollywood would struggle to reproduce.

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Editorial Reviews

Meryle Secrest
Bacall reveals herself as someone with the same kind of inner resilience and resourcefulness, even if the later pages of her book are shadowed by the loss of many people she has loved. And those who see her as a model of evolved womanhood, a questioning, self-realizing person who also understands the role she plays in the lives of her family and children, will find much to admire. She herself wrote, "The climb has been mostly upward, and I'm still climbing." What a treasure.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Raised by her wise and loving immigrant mom and uncle, Lauren Bacall (b. 1924) knew, even in high school, that she wanted to be an actress. She took acting classes, modeled clothes, sold industry papers in the theater district, ushered at shows, danced at the USO-anything to get a break. Barely 18 when director Howard Hawks brought her to Hollywood for a screen test, she soon fell in love with Bogart, married and started a family. After Bogart's death a decade later, she rebounded with Sinatra, but tied the knot with Jason Robards before finding her way as a single woman, with friends and work as her passion. Bacall's intimates-from Katharine Hepburn to Adlai Stevenson-weren't the standard air-kissing, gossip-column regulars, but people who loved and respected each other for their work and their values. Sadly, like Bogart, they're also of a generation older than Bacall, so there's a lot of dying in these pages. Indeed, this sequel to 1978's By Myself is mostly a discussion of the deaths of some great friends: Roddy McDowall, John Gielgud, Gregory Peck and many more. Bacall does discuss the roles she's played as an older actress, but this work's real theme is the experience of surviving the death of so many wonderful friends. Readers looking for basic Hollywood romance and drama can stick to the first 400 pages; those seeking a more mature portrait can brave the final 100. Either way, Bacall's a class act. Color, b&w photos. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Boston Globe
“In a word Lauren Bacall By Myself is terrific...and she wrote this book as she lived it.”
Washington Post
“What a treasure.”
Sunday Times (London)
“...[Bacall’s] wit and feisty resilience endures.”
Associated Press
“Backstage Hollywood takes center stage in BY MYSELF AND THEN SOME.”
Mosman & Lower North Shore Daily (Australia)
“...an enthralling account of her life...it is a book many people are sure to enjoy.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“...this new version of her life is as stimulating as it was when it first appeared in 1978.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“...Bacall...always made the most of what she had, as this memoir proves for the second time.”
BPI Entertainment News Wire
“The book’s a must-read. The lady’s a class act.”
Time Out New York
“...her fans will not be disappointed.”
Providence Journal
“Bacall writes eloquently... The actress comes across here as fair-minded and independent.”
Booklist
“...Bacall entertains with her signature breathy prose, straightforward manner, and unmatchable style.”
Daily Mail (London)
“What amazing memories of and links to a glamorous and vanished era.”
Magill Book Reviews
“...Perceptive and penetrating.”
Denver Rocky Mountain News
“The back story of Bogie and Bacall is just one of the many reasons to pick up a copy...
Chicago Sun-Times on Now
“Her writing echoes her deep, sardonic, no-nonsense timbre and jazzy tempo.”
Associated Press Staff
“Backstage Hollywood takes center stage in BY MYSELF AND THEN SOME.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780755313518
  • Publisher: Gardners Books
  • Publication date: 2/6/2006

Meet the Author

Lauren Bacall was spotted by Howard Hawks when she was on the cover of Harper's Bazaar at eighteen. Her distinctive title — The Look — followed her first film To Have and Have Not with Humphrey Bogart, and together they had one of the greatest love affairs of all time. Bacall went on to make more than fifty films and continues to be a major presence in the industry. She is the recipient of many lifetime achievement awards, two Tony awards, two Golden Globes, and an Oscar nomination. She is the mother of Stephen, Leslie, and Sam, and continiues to live in New York City with her beloved papillon, Sophie.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Betty Joan Perske
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 16, 1924
    2. Place of Birth:
      The Bronx, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      August 12, 2014
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, NY

First Chapter

By Myself and Then Some

Chapter One

All I had known of films was Bette Davis and Leslie Howard. (I was in love with him -- alas, was never to meet him.) She was my fifteen-year-old idea of perfection -- fine actress, dramatic bravery, doomed tragedy, sardonic wit -- all an actress should be, and when I cut school I would sit all day in a movie house sobbing through Dark Victory or Jezebel or The Old Maid, smoking in the balcony (I paid for a whole package, so I had to finish it). Forbidden at home, of course -- getting sick on tobacco, and Sen-Sen to get the stench out of my mouth so as to go undetected by Mother and Uncle Charlie. One morning my uncle came in to kiss me goodbye before leaving for work and said, 'Have you been smoking?' Shaking, I replied, 'Of course not.' Whereupon he went into the next room to tell my mother he was certain I was smoking -- whereupon they both faced me, trembling in my bed. 'We know you have been, we can smell it on your breath.' What had happened to Sen-Sen? -- it had failed me for the first time. In a flood of tears I confessed -- I had, but I would never do it again! 'Please forgive me -- I promise.' Mother: 'You'd better not, a girl your age -- disgusting -- what kind of a girl do you want to become -- nice girls of fifteen don't smoke!' Oh God -- would I survive this humiliation!

Tail between the legs for days afterward -- Charlie and Mother sniffing daily, trying to detect the evil weed. My first confrontation with the Sam Spade syndrome. Wouldn't I ever grow up -- be on my own, free to do what I wished? Wouldn't I ever live alone? The purity of Jewish upbringing -- the restrictions that one carries through life being a 'nice Jewish girl' -- what a burden. But if you were -- and I was -- you had it drummed into your head from childhood by your mother, grandmother, uncles, that nice Jewish girls didn't smoke -- weren't fast -- nice Jewish girls had character. 'Don't chase a boy, ever -- if he wants to see you, he'll call; if not, forget him.' But what were you to do if your head was filled with dreams of beauty, glamour, romance, accomplishment, and if you were stuck with being tall, ungainly (I didn't know I was 'colt-like' until a critic said I was), with big feet, flat chested -- too young to have finished high school at fifteen, too inexperienced, shy, frightened to know what to do with a boy when I did have a date? If my dream would only come true, then I would know how to behave, then things would fall into place -- wouldn't they?

I wouldn't always be a wallflower. Already there was one boy who had a fantastic crush on me. I went out with him because there was no one else, and I tried to make him part of my romantic dream. He'd kiss me goodnight. He was sweet to me, he was boring, but he did call -- I'd better be nice to him. It was soon Christmas, then New Year's, and I didn't want to be alone New Year's Eve -- not when my friends had dates -- so I went to a party with him on New Year's Eve -- just sixteen, sweet sixteen -- and we danced to 'Deep Purple' while I pretended he was Leslie Howard. Pretending started early. What a fantasy world -- so much better than the real one. We sat on a sofa in the darkened room, he had his arm around me -- he kissed me, I guess -- all the kids were doing the same thing -- 'Happy New Year!' Why wasn't he Leslie Howard just for that moment I looked at him? It wasn't good enough, I thought, to have someone crazy about you if you felt nothing. No -- it would not do. I couldn't stand him, couldn't bear to let him touch me. I should have known right then that it would always be the same -- I had to be madly in love or utterly revolted. No happy mediums for me! So I started that year -- 1941 -- deciding not to see him again. I always made out a list of New Year's resolutions and that was one of them. I didn't keep the others, but I did keep that one. No compromises in life for me -- I wouldn't settle -- I'd rather not go out, just live with my dreams.

Each time I was in love -- this was it. The hunger to belong. Imagination is the highest kite that can fly. When you have nothing but dreams, that's all you think about, all that matters, all that takes you away from humdrummery -- the fact that your mother was working too hard and didn't have enough in her own life, that your grandmother, loving though she was, wanted you to get a decent job to help your mother, that you didn't have enough money to do anything you wanted to do, even buy a lousy coat for $17.95. Dreams were better -- that was where my hope lay -- I'd hang on to them, never let go. They were my own.

It wasn't that I was deprived -- we just had to live on a strict budget. No, it was that everything I fantasized about had nothing to do with everything I lived. Not a thing! Yet Mother gave me everything -- everything she could -- more. She was a decent, proud, honorable woman who despite her struggles never lost her sense of humor. She just wanted me to be perfect. She wanted me to have it all, but to know and to learn while the search was on; to realize that there were other things not to lose sight of. She wasn't proud of having to count the pennies -- not resentful -- just very private about that and everything else to do with family ...

By Myself and Then Some. Copyright © by Lauren Bacall. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Life-affirming & worthwhile

    Not your typical celebrity bio. Like its author, this book is elegant, wise and spirited. Bogart, Huston, Slim Hayward, Hawks, Robards, Streisand, Bernstein, RFK - they are all here. My favorite character: the author's wonderful mother.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A love for Classic Hollywood

    This book is a wonderful read for anyone who is a fan of old "Tinsel Town". Reading this book feels as though you were sitting having coffe with the incredible Bacall herself. It offers insight into her life, as a starting actress, when she meets her great love, Bogart, and her life after his death. It keeps you going as it casually mentions many of the Hollywood Greats; Bogart, Monroe, Sinatra, Leigh, Gable, and so many more. It is a book that makes you travel back to a simpler life, and leaves you feeling as though you have had a peak into Bacalls own personal Diary. Bacalls allows you to laugh with her, and cry with her as she recalls her most personal moments.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2005

    Half Great and Half Really Bad

    Please don't get me wrong about this book BUT my wife and I both read it and essentially had the same opinion. The first half of the book, up until Bogart's death, is GREAT. It's fast paced, reveals interesting facts and insights, and is immensely enjoyable. But after his death the book becomes a never ending, over done discussion of all her friends dying. It becomes tedious and depressing reading that meanders all over the place. Read the first half of the book and then stop. I bet you'll find it more enjoyable than finishing it, strange but true.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Like sitting down to an afternoon lunch with Ms. Bacall.

    I've just finished the sample of this book, and although she is clearly not gifted as a writer, you definitely get the sense that you are reading Ms. Bacall's very own thoughts, and not the idealized spin of a ghost writer. Her remembrances are rambling and not well structured as she meanders through the details of her upbringing. Some may enjoy this style of writing; I did not. However I did come away from this sample liking Ms. Bacall more than I did previously, and I would like to know more about her. Bacall fans will probably love this book for the reasons I mention previously.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    First Three Disks Are Good

    CD: the first three disks are about her life getting into the business and her life with Bogart. The parts about cancer treatments in the 50's were interesting. She was very naive.
    She wrote this when she was in her late forties and divorcing Jason Robards.
    Then Lauren lived another 25 years and wrote the second part. The next three disks were done after 2003. Even her voice has changed. She goes through the deaths of her good friends, some you know, some you won't. Rodney McDowell, Sir John Gilgood (who was gay),Gregory Peck, Sir Alec Guinness (Obi One Kenobi) and others. The rest is her complaining about missing the good old day.
    She is still alive. I didn't realize that and decided not to look till I was done listening to it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2005

    Bacall me, on the line. Bacall me any, anytime

    This updated version of 'By Myself' is exactly what we Bacall fans were hoping and waiting for. Incorporating many of the anecdotes from '94's 'Now', this is the complete and up-to-date story of the lady's life, loves and career so far. Her regal presence and enduring strength and independence sing through on every page. It would be impossible to walk away unimpressed with the resilience and tough/sweet nature of our Grande Dame. There'll never be another Betty Bacall so this frank and earnest telling of her life is a completely unique read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read!

    I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading this book. It's as if Lauren was my best friend and was reminiscing about her past with me over coffee. I laughed with her and I cried with her. The pictures inside the book give you a window into her world. She has definitely lived a long and happy life and I hope she has many more years to come.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2008

    Disappointed

    I felt as though Miss Bacall seemed very immature, especially before she married Boggie and after she had children. It seemed to me, the children were raised by 'Nannys' while she had endless parties or traveled. In fairness, I suppose, that was what most actors did and still seem to do.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2014

    Read this months before her obit

    It is very sad indeed how hard she tries to make her story a silver screen movie old style happy ever after. That she married a much older divorced man and had him dying hospice at home leaves her with most of her life fifty years dependent on his fame for hers. She seems to have little joy in her life after hollywood neither with son or grandchildren and it reflects in the writing as such disappointng and uncomfortable to read like a group therapy session

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2014

    Lauren Bacall was quite a treasure! This is an excellent book a

    Lauren Bacall was quite a treasure! This is an excellent book about her wonderful family and career...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    For some reason this auto bio came across as boring

    Why someone with stage fright could keep in the profession and why keep marrying alcoholics and such good friends with everyone and family disfunctional and seeing nothing wrong with leaving for months but so general as to be non descriptive. There is no humor ad great and good friends come across as dull too

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    What an amazing woman. A true role model!

    I love Lauren Bacall as an actress and a person. She has such life in her and it shows beautifully on screen and in this book. This book had me laughing and crying. Truly unforgettable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    I am not much of a writer or describe things well however, I can tell you this book is very enjoyable. Miss Bacall is very open about her life, family and relationships. There were a few things I thought she was vague about and that is her children's lives but, that could be because she wanted to keep the kids and grand kids private? Anyway, if you enjoy autobiographies about celebrities this is a real treat!

    Jane

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    Great read!

    All u wanted to know!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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