Miss Greenwich Village 

It’s more likely these days that aspirants to the Miss Greenwich Village crown are drag queens rat her than debutantes, but way back in 1942 a young, 17-year-old Betty Joan Perske, was the toast of the neighborhood. Having recently moved to 75 Bank St. from her childhood home in Brooklyn, Perske was going by the name of “Betty Bacall,” and would soon change her first name to Lauren. Though originally interested in a career in dance, Bacall’s success as Miss G.V. led to small stage appearances and a Harper’s Baazar cover shot in 1943… and with that, as they say, the rest was history.
Amazingly enough it was Howard Hawks’ wife, Slim, who came across the image of young Lauren and convinced her husband to cast her (yes, a woman named Slim Hawks… they sure knew how to name ‘em back then). That first role just happened to be opposite Humphrey Bogart in the 1944 classic To Have and to Have Not. Ok, with that, the rest truly was history for little Miss Greenwich Village.     Nora Lynch

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