The Private Lauren Bacall: ‘She Made the Past Present and the Present Past’

Lauren Bacall and her dog, Sophie. Inset: Jane Rosenthal

Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty. Inset:Brad Barket/Getty

updated 08/13/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET

originally published 08/13/2014 AT 7:20 PM ET

Lauren Bacall was the ultimate party guest.

At the courtyard party held each year at the famed Dakota building in New York City, Bacall would regale her neighbors with tales of her legendary life.

“You had this remarkable woman just talking about life in 1945 Hollywood, talking about Bogey, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn,” recalls producer Jane Rosenthal, a friend and neighbor in the Dakota who knew Bacall for 20 years.

“She made the past present and the present past.”

Born Betty Joan Perske (and known as Betty Bacall to her friends), the star, who died on Monday at age 89, remained an active, slyly funny presence on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for decades.

Paying tribute, Vanessa Redgrave issued the statement, “Glorious Betty, I got to know you because you loved our [daughter] Natasha [Richardson], and how she loved you! So as you know that is how I got to know just how remarkable a woman you have been & were. Loyalty, integrity, and such a lover of good theatre and filmmaking, and not a smidgin of bulls–!

“Thank you for every single hour I spent with you, or watching you, Vanessa.”

“It was a life remarkably well-lived,” says Rosenthal, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises. “I would be walking out and she would say, ‘Are you going to the street fair? Can you pick me up a spicy Polska?’ I would, and the next day she’d say, ‘I was sick! Why’d you get me a spicy Polska?’ ”


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