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Lauren Bacall: “I Wasn’t Put on This Earth to Be Liked”

Bacall was 89, and one of the last actresses to have been a part of the studio system of classic Hollywood. (“My son tells me, ‘Do you realize you are the last one? The last person who was an eyewitness to the golden age?’”) From her memoir, quoted in this incredible 2011 Vanity Fair profile:

There have always been rumors about me: Oh, she’s very difficult. Be careful of her. People who don’t know me—even some people who do know me—know that I say what I think. Very few people want to hear the truth. Bogie was like that, my mother was like that, and I’m like that. I believe in the truth, and I believe in saying what you think. Why not? Do you have to go around whispering all the time or playing a game with people? I just don’t believe in that. So I’m not the most adored person on the face of the earth. You have to know this. There are a lot of people who don’t like me at all, I’m very sure of that. But I wasn’t put on earth to be liked. I have my own reasons for being and my own sense of what is important and what isn’t, and I’m not going to change that.

Later in that piece, she predicts,“My obit is going to be full of Bogart, I’m sure,” and adds, “The great thing about life is—the terrible thing about life is—that everything is mixed up. All the things that you thought were one way suddenly turn out to be another way.” 

And finally, one more: “I don’t think anybody that has a brain can really be happy. What is there really to be happy about? You tell me. If you’re a thinking human being, there’s no way to divorce yourself from the world.” Oh, Betty, you babe for the ages: we salute you. [VF]

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