The Early Years
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, the only child of William and Natalie (Weinstein-Bacal) Perske.  Her father was a salesman from Alsace; her mother, the daughter of German-Rumanian immigrants, worked as an executive secretary. After they were divorced, her mother took the "Bacal" part of her maiden name.  (Later, Bacall added another "l", and "Lauren" was a Hollywood addition.)
  "My mother was the greatest example to me of anyone I've ever known.  She worked hard all her life, and she was the one who set my values.  She wanted me to have every opportunity and she supported me in whatever I wanted to do."

Bacall attended a boarding school in Tarrytown, N.Y., at first studying to be a dancer. But by the time she was in high school her ambitions focused entirely on acting.  .

 

"I loved to dream about other worlds and other lives," Bacall says. "Maybe that has something to do with having an incomplete family, being an only child.  All I know is I loved to pretend, and all that was in tandem with my wanting to be an actress."

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