Upon arriving at Lauren Bacall’s apartment at New York’s landmark building the Dakota, a housekeeper would usher guests into the library. Sophie, her beloved papillon, would excitedly enter the room just ahead of the Golden Age star.
Lauren liked to chat with guests while seated in her favorite chair in front of the fireplace. “I always called her ‘Grandmama,’” her grandson Jamie Bogart exclusively tells Closer.
Lauren made her reputation in Hollywood starring in classics including To Have and Have Not, Key Largo and The Big Sleep, but New York, where she was born Betty Joan Perske in 1924, would always be home.
In 1961, Lauren and her second husband, actor Jason Robards, moved into a fourth-floor apartment at the Dakota, overlooking Central Park. It’s where she raised her sons, Stephen Bogart and Sam Robards, and her daughter, Leslie Bogart, and where she retreated to with Sophie after she retired from performing.
“She loved to read and she was very content being by herself, but the phone was always ringing,” says Jon King, who became friends with Lauren through his work at Bonhams auction house. “She traveled in literary circles, in theatrical circles, she knew a lot of antique dealers.”
Her three-bedroom apartment had generously sized public rooms that were perfect for entertaining. Over the years, Lauren hosted many famous faces, such as Anjelica Huston, Barbra Streisand and Ted Kennedy.
King also enjoyed sitting with Lauren among her antiques, artwork and collections. Included in her treasures was a bronze bust of her first husband, Humphrey Bogart, as his famous character Sam Spade.
“She was very easy to talk to, had a great sense of humor and a great laugh,” King says, noting that Lauren tried to stay up on current events, so she always ended visits by 5:30 p.m. so she could watch the news at 6.
Says grandson Jamie, “The Dakota was her refuge. Visiting her one-on-one was always great.”