Lauren Bacall Enchants Crowd While Promoting Book at Coop
Lauren Bacall conquered Cambridge last Friday.
On a promotion tour for her recently published autobiography, "By Myself," Bacall, siren of the '40s and originator of The Look, dropped into the Coop for an hour to sign copies of the book. All hell broke loose.
Fans began lining up two hours in advance, clutching copies of the book, old pictures of Bacall and Bogart, flowers and handwritten messages.
Bacall sat perched on a stool signing books for a little over an hour, separated by a policeman, a bodyguard and two Coop officials from about 200 onlookers of all ages.
The Coop officials behind Bacall stood beaming, as more and more people strained to crowd into the book department. "This is the biggest turnout we've ever had--we've sold over 600 books in an hour," Ruby Newman, director for advertising and public relations, said Friday.
At the end of an hour, Bacall said, "I'm not tired, but my arm is, a little," and stood up to go. The crowd cheered and applauded, and she murmured "thank you" in a still husky voice.
As she headed for the Coop elevator for a television interview, the crowd surged to follow her, and then dashed outside to the alley where a chauffeured limousine waited.
Many of the people waiting on line talked about Bacall. "She is a very beautiful, charismatic woman. It was really enthralling to be close to her, and you can tell she still has a bit of fire in her," Susan Genser, a Somerville resident whose book Bacall had signed, said.
Another spectator said, "I've never been much of a stargazer, but there's something special about Bacall."
In "By Myself," Bacall describes her personal and professional life, concentrating on her love for her mother and for Humphrey Bogart, her husband for 12 years.
Coop employees and customers blocked the overpass from the book department to the main store, hoping to see Bacall as she walked to her car. As she drove away, a group of workmen on a scaffolding overlooking the alley shouted, "Lauren, Lauren."