How to grow old gracefully: Lauren Bacall

Lauren BacallThe legendary Lauren Bacall sadly died last week at the age of 89 and tributes to her talent and beauty have rolled in from around the world.

Reading about her life I was drawn to a portrait of her taken last year by British Photographer Andy Gotts as part of the Behind the Mask series for Somerset House.  The image of Bacall shows her as an old woman complete with wrinkles, sun spots, grey hair and minimal make up, but with her famous cheekbones and eyebrows still prominent.

Not someone who lived in the past – one of her most memorable quotes was ‘I am not a has-been, I am a will-be’ and she also famously said: ‘Your whole life shows in your face, and you should be proud of that.’

And that’s what shows in this portrait – a real woman, who is proud of what she was and what she has become. An icon and role model for growing old.

Plus she left $10,000 to her dog – that’s my kind of woman.


  • steffi says:

    Loved her so.

    I’m sure you’ve heard it before but just in case you haven’t, my fave Bacall quote of all time:

    “I wish Frank Sinatra would just shut up and sing!”

    A great woman. Her interviews make remarkable viewing.


  • Jane says:

    haven’t heard that Stef – love it

    J x

  • Osnat says:

    Interesting to see the difference between her aging process and Joan Rivers ( who I wish all the best and a full recovery) whose face is so plastic and artificial it feels painful to watch her speak. Both smart ,talented and witty women and in the case of Joan very funny and with a long career. It’s difficult to understand why one wants to hide her face under this smooth superficial unreal veneer where the other was very happy to reveal it in its age appropriate imperfections. I think it’s called self acceptance or the opposite in the case of Joan. It’s kind of sad!

  • Jane says:

    totally agree Osant – so sad

    J x

  • Well balanced article. Aging is inevitable, but to grow old gracefully is a choice. While we know that getting old is unavoidable, how we perceive this natural process depends greatly upon our social and cultural influences. Interesting to see the difference between her aging processes. A spirit of gratitude, more than anything else, will help determine whether you grow old gracefully — or just grow old. A person who grows old gracefully knows that age is just a number. It is possible to stay young, with the maturity and wisdom of old age to back it up. So be happy with life, and enjoy growing old.Awesome piece.

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