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In Vanity Fair interview, Lauren Bacall incensed over Capote’s story that he once performed oral sex on Bogart’m working my way through the giant Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair which is always a real feast.

One of the articles I read over the weekend was a lengthy profile of Lauren Bacall, the 86-year-old screen legend (To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, How to Marry a Millionaire) and Broadway star (Applause, Woman of the Year, Cactus Flower).

She’s always been a pistol and remains so. The Vanity Fair piece does expose Bacall’s contradictions particularly when it comes to her late first husband, the great movie icon Humphrey Bogart with whom she had two children, starred opposite in in four classic films, and was married to until his death from cancer in 1957. (She was later engaged to Frank Sinatra and married to Jason Robards with whom she has a son).

Anyway, Bacall becomes irritated in the Vanity Fair article when the interviewer, Matt Tyrnauer, brings up a story spread by Truman Capote. The In Cold Blood author is quoted as saying “I gave Bogie a blow job one night” to settle a bet. Capote said after he beat Bogart at arm wrestling three times, “he went upstairs with me, unbuttoned his pants and took it out for me.”

Says Bacall: “Oh, please. You must be joking. I never heard that. Why you bring up a thing like that? What kind of a mind do you have? Step out of the gutter. … Maybe it was a pipe dream of Truman’s – who knows? But it’s a totally ridiculous suggestion that it really is a fact, and I hope that’s beneath you, because I really don’t like the fact that you brought something like that up.” Bacall offers up a similar story regarding Bogart and Noel Coward.

“He and Bogie were guests of Clifton Webb one weekend. Bogie and Noel were assigned to the same room and Noel was gay, as everybody on Earth knew, but nobody cared, because he was so great. Just to be in his presence was quite enough. And at the end of the evening one night, they were changing into their pjs to hit the sack. Bogie was sitting on the edge of the bed, and at one point put his hand on Bogie’s knee. Bogie said: ‘Noel, I have to tell you that if I had my druthers and I liked guys you would be the one I’d want to be with. But, unfortunately, I like girls.’ And from that moment on Noel never mentioned it, and Bogie never mentioned it. Class behavior! And they became fast, fast friends.”



(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

4 Remarks

  1. About Bogie and Tru: It is not out of the realm of possibly, at least geography-wise. After all, Bogie starred in the Capote-written, John Huston-directed “Beat the Devil” — along with Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lorre, et alia. Who knows what transpired on the Italian location of that cult favorite? Truman DID get around. Brando never denied his own culpability in the oft-told tale by Capote of having performed fellatio on the studly Stanley Kowalski limner. As a matter of fact, Bacall was not free of rumors about her own sexual peccadiloes, if you are privy to what her leading man in “Applause” was rumored to have groused about.

  2. From Bogart’s remarks about his ‘druthers’ I assume he was telling Coward that he would rather be gay than straight. Unless this was part of his letting Coward down easy.

  3. I’m with Bacall all the way on this. Who gives a f*** about what Capote, or Bogie for that matter, were doing or not doing, unobserved, on some distant night in the long lost past? I don’t. None of our business, for that matter. Truly, don’t we have more pressing & fascinating topics concerning a love of artistic excellence & creativity & the magic of the film medium itself to converse about, or is this tabloid mentality all that people like Matt Tyrnauer are leaving us with? Jejune & rude, beneath us all, & Bacall here situates the whole sleaze industry properly in its childish, ridiculous place.

  4. Jimmy: Claude Cockburn wrote Beat the Devil. No credits b/c of the McCarthy Witch Hunts. But it paid for public school for sons (and great journalists) Alex, Andrew, and Patrick.

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