Beauty and her Beasts: The Beloved Dogs of Lauren Bacall

Movie fans mourn the passing of Lauren Bacall, star of such classics as “To Have and Have Not,” “Key Largo,” and “How to Marry a Millionaire,” who died Tuesday at age 89.

Bacall was famous as half of one of Hollywood’s great power couples. She married Humphrey Bogart in 1945, and together they reigned as film royalty until Bogie’s death 12 years later. In the beginning gossips wondered, what could the 45-year-old superstar tough guy and the elegant 19-year-old model possibly have in common? As it turned out, a great deal. Both were native New Yorkers who loved acting and talking politics, and both were absolutely crazy about dogs. Bogart owned several in his time, including Scotties, Sealyham Terriers, and a Newfoundland; as a girl, Bacall was partial to Cocker Spaniels.


Bacall and her Cocker Spaniel at the Gotham Hotel (by Nina Leen)

 

But it was the Boxer that became the Bogart-Bacall household’s breed of choice. They received their first as a wedding gift. “We named him Harvey, after the invisible rabbit. He was really smart. He knew he wasn’t allowed to get on the furniture so he would only put two paws on at a time, and he would sit between us if we had a fight.”


Bacall, Bogart, and their Boxer. 

 

The Bogarts soon acquired two more Boxers, George and Baby, but Harvey was always the top dog. He appeared in many of the publicity photos that studios issued to promote the couple’s domestic bliss. “Harvey died six months after Bogey,” Bacall recalled years later. “I went to see him at the vet’s and said goodbye. Five minutes after I got home, I was told that after I left, Harvey had eaten his dinner and died.”


Bacall and Bogart enjoying an evening by the fire with son, Stephen, and their three dogs.

 

Bacall’s love for dogs continued until her dying day. In her later years she was never seen around New York without Sophie, her beloved Papillon.