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Reviving Lauren Bacall’s contribution to television

Did you know one of Lauren Bacall’s last performances, which were on television, happened to be in the popular animated TV series “Family Guy” in 2014? It was the episode “Mom’s the Word” with Bacall providing the voiceover as Evelyn. She passed away on Tuesday in New York. Best known for her first marriage to legendary Hollywood actor, Humphrey Bogart, and appearing in numerous films, including those classics with Bogie like “Key Largo,” "To Have and Have Not," and “The Big Sleep.”

Screenshot of Lauren Bacall in the trailer for the film Dark Passage (1947).
Warner Brothers DVD via Wikimedia Commons

A pop song from 1981 was written based on the Florida Keys film of the same name by Tampa Bay artist, Bertie Higgins. Bacall’s and Bogart’s son Stephen Bogart lived and worked in the Tampa Bay area during the 1990s. He was the executive producer for WFLA-TV, the local NBC affiliate. One of Stephen’s accomplishments there was to lead WFLA into the number one spot.

When Lauren wasn’t appearing in films later in her career, she mostly appeared as a guest star in episodic television in shows like “Dr. Kildare,” a hugely successful medical show in the ‘60s that’s somewhat similar to “House.” In 1998 she appeared in two episodes as the same character in another medical drama, “Chicago Hope.”

In 1973 she reprised her Tony-winning performance as Margo Channing in a televised production of the Broadway musical “Applause.” It’s based on the film “All About Eve.” Larry Hagman, best known as J.R. Ewing, also appears in “Applause” as the director. Now Broadway musicals are making a comeback to television like last year’s highly-rated “Sound of Music” with Carrie Underwood.

Besides TV series guest roles, Bacall appeared in a number of TV movies that included “Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke” as the elderly Doris Duke. Her distinctive low, sultry voice lended itself to varied voiceover projects including TV narrations, videos, and commercials.