NOT SINCE 1944, when she sauntered through To Have and Have Not
with the smoldering gaze that became known simply as The Look, has Lauren Bacall been so celebrated. Coming off a banner year with her first Oscar nomination, Bacall, who was discovered at 19 while modeling in New York City, is suddenly, at 72, back in vogue. But the siren who taught Humphrey Bogart how to whistle claims that "I always thought I had crooked eyebrows and crooked teeth. That's why I never understood why people called me a beauty." Her friends are happy to explain. "Lauren's special beauty is the reflection of her elegance, her intelligence and her invigorating will," says Barbra Streisand, who directed Bacall in The Mirror Has Two Faces.
Adds Giorgio Armani, who has dressed the star for the last 15 years: "Her great appeal comes from her expressiveness, from the character that you can read on her face. And she can still seduce with just a look." Bacall prefers a different type of flattery. "Jack Benny told me I had perfect timing," she says. "That's probably the biggest compliment I've ever gotten."