Posts Tagged ‘Bel Air Hotel’

My ‘somewhat’ encounter with Lauren Bacall

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

CELEBRITY STORIES

My ‘somewhat’ encounter with Lauren Bacall

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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The recent death of Lauren Bacall brought back a memory of my only time seeing her in person. I call it a ‘somewhat’ encounter because I was a bystander to this event, but I was there—I was a witness. I guess you could say I was part of a three-way meet, but had no direct interaction with the actress myself. This story could be subtitled Bangley & Bacall—and me.

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The year was 1998, and I was at the Bel Air Hotel with my late friend, film historian and bon vivant, Jimmy Bangley. He was the guest of a close friend who made yearly visits to Los Angeles and always rented him a room at the posh, celebrity ridden, hotel. Anyone that knew or remembers Jimmy, knows that he was a huge Barbra Streisand fan—what am I saying, a huge fan? A humongous fan. Anyway, Bacall had recently made a film with Streisand called The Mirror Had Two Faces and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award, and won a Golden Globe.

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One day I was visiting Jimmy at the Bel Air, and we walked out to the swimming pool, looking around hoping for a star sighting. We were not disappointed for there, sitting at a table was Lauren Bacall, her hair wet, and she was wearing a white cotton Bel Air robe. She was in the middle of a card game with two kids; we assumed they were her grandchildren.

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Never shy, Jimmy sees her and rushes over, breathless, and before she can flee or make any defensive moves, he blurts out, “Oh Miss Bacall, I just loved you in The Prince of Tides.” Bacall just stared at this flamboyant and obviously confused man standing before her, and then she shot a glance at me. I tried to duck. If it wasn’t for the chatter of a couple dozen people sitting around us, we would have heard the crickets sing. It took a second but Jimmy realized his goof and that he had the wrong Streisand film. “Oh, I’m sorry Miss Bacall, I meant The Mirror…”

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“Yes, I know what you meant,” Bacall said icily, not letting him continue. She returned to her card game without saying anything more, giving us our cue to leave. We walked slowly back to his room and eventually had a good laugh about it. Needless to say, as he recounted the encounter later, Jimmy came up with some of his famous quips at Lauren Bacall’s expense. Thanks for the memory Ms Bacall and say hi to Bogie for me.

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