Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16th, 1924. She began her career as a fashion model while taking acting lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1942 at age 17, she made her Broadway debut in Johnny 2 X 4, now under the name of Betty Bacall (after her parent’s divorce she took on her mother’s maiden name, changed from Bacal to Bacall). After his wife spotted Bacall on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar (1943), director Howard Hawks gave the young actress a seven-year contract and brought her to Hollywood to star in To Have and Have Not (changing her name to Lauren Bacall in the process). Hawks’ wife, Nancy, is said to be responsible for coaching Bacall into her lower, distinctively husky voice.