The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center: Film and Theater | Civic Engagement | Women's Health The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Medal;

Katharine Hepburn Medalist Lauren Bacall


Click the image for a video clip of Lauren Bacall's Hepburn Medal acceptance speech, in which she shares a tale of typical Hepburn mischief and generosity.

A celebrated star of the stage and screen, Lauren Bacall was named among the top 20 female film legends of the 20th century by the American Film Institute. Her early films with Humphrey Bogart, including To Have and to Have Not, Key Largo, and The Big Sleep, have been characterized as "classic pictures that embody '40s Hollywood." Other favorites include Young Man with a Horn, Confidential Agent, Written on the Wind, Blood Alley, How to Marry a Millionaire, Harper, Sex and the Single Girl, The Shootist, The Fan, and Murder on the Orient Express. Long known for turning down scripts that she didn't find interesting, Bacall became a highly visible advocate of better roles for mature women in the 1960s and '70s, when she returned, to much acclaim, to the stage.

Bacall met Hepburn during the filming of The African Queen, in which Hepburn co-starred with Bogart, who was Bacall's husband. The encounter, detailed by Hepburn in her 1987 book The Making of The African Queen, or, How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall, and Huston and Almost Lost my Mind, led to a lifelong friendship between the two actresses, despite the difference in their ages. After Hepburn's death in 2003, Bacall wrote of her, "She unknowingly made me aware of ways to live and to behave that were new to me. So although there is a large, empty space in my life without her, there is all that past to remember."

Among Bacall's numerous awards and honors are two Tonys and the National Book Award, for her best-selling autobiography By Myself. In 1997, she received the Kennedy Center Honors in recognition of her lifetime achievements in the performing arts.