Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were one of Hollywood's most iconic couples, but after Bogart's death, Bacall found love with another big star: Frank Sinatra. According to one biographer, the two had an affair while Bogart was still alive, but Bacall's memoir tells a different story. Regardless of the timeline, their relationship was a tumultuous one, with Sinatra proposing to Bacall in 1958 and breaking things off soon after due to the news getting out to the press. Despite the painful ending, Bacall later realized that Sinatra saved her from what would have been a disastrous marriage. In this article, we'll take a closer look at their relationship and its disputed timeline.
The Holmby Hills Rat Pack: Bacall, Bogart, Sinatra, and More
Bacall and Sinatra were part of a group of Hollywood stars known as the Holmby Hills Rat Pack, named after a Los Angeles neighborhood. Other members included Judy Garland, her third husband Sidney Luft, Spencer Tracy, and talent agent Swifty Lazar. Despite the group's close connections, Bacall revealed in her memoir that Bogart was suspicious of Sinatra's intentions, questioning whether the singer was really coming to visit him or to see Bacall.
The Disputed Timeline of Their Relationship
While Bacall's memoir claimed that her romantic relationship with Sinatra began after Bogart's death, biographer Kitty Kelley suggested otherwise. According to her book, His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra, Bacall had an affair with Sinatra prior to Bogart's death. The playwright Ketti Frings also reportedly confirmed their romance, saying that “everybody knew about Betty and Frank.” Regardless of the timeline, Bacall acknowledged that she began to depend on Sinatra emotionally as Bogart was dying, but did not indicate that their relationship turned romantic until later.
A Tumultuous Relationship
Their relationship, whenever it began, was described by Bacall as a tumultuous one. With Bogart, she was “married to a grown-up” who knew what he wanted, but with Sinatra, she felt “girlish and giddy,” never quite sure where she stood with him. The two got engaged in 1958, but the news of their engagement quickly made its way to the press, leading Sinatra to accuse Bacall of telling. Their relationship ended soon after, but Bacall later realized that it was for the best, as Sinatra “behaved like a complete [expletive],” but she still had “a special feeling for him” because of the good times they shared.
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