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Lauren Bacall as Supporting Roles: Four Times the Star Shined Without Being Lead Actress

By    |   Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:12 PM

While Lauren Bacall shined as a leading lady in some of Hollywood's most memorable films, she did not need to have to always carry a film to get the audience's attention. As Bacall evolved as an actress, she found ways to shine even though did not have top filling in a production. Here are four of the screen icon's most memorable performance, even though she was not the lead actress.

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1. Hannah, "The Mirror Has Two Faces" (1996)
With all of her memorable roles, Bacall earned her long Academy Award nomination playing Barbra Streisand's overbearing mother in this comedy. The movie also stars future Oscar winner Jeff Bridges. Even though the Oscar eluded her, she did win the Golden Globe Award for the role. "Hannah, Rose's beautician mother, who is portrayed with style, wit and touching candor by Lauren Bacall in the film's best performance," wrote Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.

2. Schatze Page, "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953)
Even though Bacall received third billing behind the top box-office draws of the day in Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, it was Bacall's performance that earned most of the critical praise in this comedy. Entertainment Weekly wrote: "While the blondes might have made friends, the brunette runs away with the picture. On handicap alone, Bacall makes up the most ground, going from third billing to most appealing with phrases like 'nobody's mother lives in Atlantic City on a Saturday' or 'wealthy men are never old.' Where Grable and Monroe trip over themselves in slapstick, Bacall's the cat who always lands on her feet."

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3. Elaine Sampson, "Harper" (1966)
Bacall is credited with reinventing herself through her career, and this is one of her more "against-type" roles, playing a disabled wife who hires private investigator, played by the film's star Paul Newman, to find her missing husband. "Her baritone contempt was back, and it was interesting to see her cast not as a love interest, but a tragic client with an air of mocking self-pity: in 'The Big Sleep's' terms, as the General Sternwood character," wrote Tim Robey of The Telegraph.

4. Marcia Sindell, "Misery" (1990)
While Kathy Bates won her Academy Award as a crazed fan of an author, played by James Caan, Bacall shined in limited screen time as Caan's character's literary agent. "Bacall had a small role in the margins … but wrung maximum mileage from her screen time, whether advising her star client or demanding action from the authorities," noted Sean Axmaker, of the Today show.

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While Lauren Bacall shined as a leading lady in some of Hollywood's most memorable films, she did not need to have to always carry a film to get the audience's attention.
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2015-12-12
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:12 PM
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