Monday, January 05, 2015

betty & jim

Lauren Bacall and James Garner, lifelong friends, died a month apart in 2014.  Garner passed on July 19 and Bacall followed on August 12.

I've no idea how they came to be friends, given that their movie careers spanned different decades and that they also seemed to travel in different social circles.  Garner was a California denizen who lived in the Brentwood section of L.A.; Bacall was a New Yorker through and through.

However, in the early 1980s, they did appear together in two back-to-back films.  In 1980, they were part of Robert Altman's ensemble for "H.E.A.L.T.H." and a year later, in 1981, they teamed again in "The Fan," based on Bob Randall's juicy epistolary novel of deranged fandom, with Bacall in a part ready-made for her. Which she devoured effortlessly.

Anyone who hasn't caught Edward Bianchi's little-seen thriller should by all means seek it out.  It's a treat. The Altman film, lesser so.

By this time, there was some speculation that there was more than friendship between the two, but the fact is, Garner remained married to Lois Fleishman Clarke for nearly 60 years, until his death, with never a scandal to his name.  He would later star with Bacall again in 1996 in Peter Segal's "My Fellow Americans" (this time with Jack Lemmon in tow) and they also paired for a memorable two-part episode of Garner's "The Rockford Files" in 1979, titled "Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs."


a.n. said...

The most amazing thing about both of them is that they always looked the same. Maybe it was their hair or something, but they did not age -- or maybe they just aged really well. Miss them both.

Serge said...


Kim said...

R.I.P, Betty and Jim. A simply swell post.