Iconic Spotlight : Lauren Bacall, by Eva Sereny

Lauren Bacall

I was in New York City and the Sunday Times Magazine had organised for me a photo session with Lauren Bacall. I was asked to go to the Palace Theatre to photograph her and get as much good material as possible. This was my first and only time I met the actress and I didn’t know what to expect.

I arrived at the theatre and was accompanied to her dressing room where she was about to prepare for the evening performance. “I can give you something short of an hour–is that enough?” She asked in her husky voice. I could hardly answer. “Oh yes–of course” I was sort of hypnotised facing this stylish elegant lady who was one of the great icons of my youth and here she was asking me what I wanted her to do? Absolutely incredible! I just asked her to relax and be herself. She smoked and laughed, and I got this wonderful series of images of her. Such a fine actress. It was a joy and an honour to be photographing her. I came away with a bonus: the image of her in the black dress standing on stage – waiting for curtains up.

The legendary actress made a triumph return to the stage in the 1981 musical Woman of the Year at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. Bacall won a Tony Award for her performance which was based on the screenplay of the 1942 film which starred Katharine Hepburn. Raquel Welch, who substituted for Bacall when she took a two-week vacation, would later replace Bacall in the run.

Extract taken from ‘ThroughHer Lens’ available signed by Eva Sereny from the Iconic Store.

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