First it’s Robin Williams, then it’s Lauren Bacall. Very different figures, and very different reactions, but undeniably events with an impact. Williams, even without the revelations that followed his death, was strange. for me, nothing quite matched the shock of Good Morning Vietnam – who is this guy? I’ve never got on with charismatic teachers, in life or on film, and although he had energy and magnetism, there was also a needy vibe throbbing away: “you do love me, don’t you?”
Bacall was something else. This amazing kid who simmers in To Have and Have Not, is unforgettable in The Big Sleep…and it’s all downhill from there. A formidable, independent character, no question, with little bits of stardust sprinkled through some of the later films, but so sad to have done your best work before you’re 25. The bit of Bacall I remember is her being the loyal housewife on the set of African Queen, asking Katharine Hepburn to help her dish out the food. No way, says Hepburn. She’s off with the boys to shoot game.