My Lauren Bacall Story

Lauren Bacall -- November 14, 2003 Albuquerque -- photo by Mark Weber

Lauren Bacall — November 14, 2003 Albuquerque — photo by Mark Weber


We’re used to seeing limousines in this day and age. (In the 60s when you saw a limo you figured it was somebody important.) Nowadays everybody and their mother’s son hires a limo. So, I didn’t think much of it when one pulled up right in front of me standing there at the entrance to this exhibit hall on the Albuquerque Fairgrounds. I was waiting for Kenny & Elsa Davern to arrive and that’s where I told Kenny I’d be.

For some reason Kenny & Elsa wanted to see a crafts fair being held there that Saturday. Uncharacteristically, I had my camera slung around my neck. Usually I keep it in its bag hung over my shoulder. Then this limousine opens up and out steps this elegant lady and I think to myself: That’s Lauren Bacall. What the heck?

Usually the rich & famous land at the Albuquerque airport and head straight to Santa Fe, an hour north up Rt.25. Albuquerque is just a hardscrabble beat-up working people’s town, not much of a tourist destination.

There’s nobody standing there but me. And all of a sudden I realize that my script is to be the Press Corps. Me! So, not wanting to “break character” I lift my camera and snap a few. And Lauren is so hip she understands immediately that I was just being polite and playing the part of the reception detachment from the local papers and comes over and affectionately squeezes my arm and smiles and continues inside where she had a table to sign her books.

Kenny & Elsa arrive right on time and I tell them about Lauren Bacall giving me a squeeze and Kenny says, “She’s a good Jewish girl from Brooklyn.” (KD’s mother was Jewish.) Kenny probably felt a solidarity with her because they were both diehard cigarette fiends. I used to smoke so I understand. Cigarette smokers have it hard in the 21st Century — in America they have to find sanctuaries where they can light up. I still remember when we all smoked on airplanes! Nowadays they’d toss you off the plane at 20,000 feet if you even pretended to light up.

Lauren Bacall -- November 14, 2003 Albuquerque -- photo by Mark Weber

Lauren Bacall — November 14, 2003 Albuquerque — photo by Mark Weber


  1. joan jobe smith

    love Lauren Bacall… nice to know she’s as nice as I heard tell and how she presents herself in interviews. What a lucky happenstance to be standing there. What’s her book about? Who’d’a thought Lauren Bacall would someday be part of Mark Weber’s photo history of arts. Next time you see her tell her Fred and Joan love her best in “Dark Passage”–those wonderful close-ups of her beautiful face.

  2. Mark Weber

    In a message dated 11/15/2013 3:05:16 P.M. Mountain Standard Time, Carol Tristano writes:
    Yea – I dug your story!

    I have one too – I’ll tell it to you some time.
    It was around 2006 in Paris – a book signing – a memorable experience!

    I can’t wait to hear it ——- mine was merely incidental, BUT sometimes the smallest things can be a story. Carol, if you have the time you could write your Lauren Bacall story onto the Comments at this page. We’d love to see it. Lauren was so sweet she could tell I wasn’t a paparazzi or even expected to see her, especially in Albuquerque of all places. ( I grew up not too far from Hollywood and it would be an exaggeration to say one bumps into celebrities often, but a lot more often than Albuquerque! ) ( I had the strange luck of bumping into Cary Grant about a half dozen times! But that was because he was a jazz head and would hit the clubs.) MW

  3. Mark Weber

    Lauren Bacall got away from us today
    August 13, 2o14 age 89
    Manhattan NYC

  4. Joan Jobe Smith

    oh, no, my beautiful Lauren Bacall died! it seemed like
    she would/could live to be 100 or more. I just loved her!
    and you have pix of her that you shot!
    I shall mourn deeply for her… shall miss her voice..and her
    face and her love of Bogie I share too… loved his face and voice..
    your Lauren Bacall story is so sweet..

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