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Lauren Bacall

The cover of Yank, The Army Weekly, November 1944
Born Betty Joan Perske
September 16, 1924 (1924-09-16) (age 85)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 1942 – present
Spouse(s) Humphrey Bogart (m. 1945–1957) «start: (1945)–end+1: (1958)»"Marriage: Humphrey Bogart to Lauren Bacall" Location: (linkback: (his death)
Jason Robards (m. 1961–1969) «start: (1961)–end+1: (1970)»"Marriage: Jason Robards to Lauren Bacall" Location: (linkback: (divorced)

Lauren Bacall (born Betty Joan Perske; September 16, 1924) is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her husky voice and sultry looks.

She first emerged as leading lady in the film noir genre, including appearances in The Big Sleep (1946) and Dark Passage (1947), as well as a comedienne in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and Designing Woman (1957). Bacall has also worked in the Broadway musical, gaining Tony Awards for Applause in 1970 and Woman of the Year in 1981. Her performance in the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

In 1999, Bacall was ranked as one of the 25 actresses on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars list by the American Film Institute. In 2009, she was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Academy Honorary Award at the inaugural Governors Awards.


Early life

Born in New York City, Bacall was the only child of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a secretary who later legally changed her surname to Bacall, and William Perske, who worked in sales.[1] Her parents were Jewish immigrants, their families having come from Poland, Romania and Germany.[2][3] She is a cousin of Shimon Peres, current President and former Prime Minister of Israel.[4][5] Her parents divorced when she was five, and she took her mother's last name, Bacall.[6] Bacall no longer saw her father and formed a close bond with her mother, whom she took with her to California when she became a movie star.


Bacall and Howard Hawks, 1943

Bacall took lessons at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. During this time, she became a theatre usher and worked as a fashion model. As Betty Bacall, she made her acting debut, aged 17, on Broadway in 1942, as a walk-on in Johnny 2 X 4. According to her autobiography, Bacall met her idol Bette Davis at Davis's hotel. Years later, Davis visited Bacall backstage to congratulate her on her performance in Applause, a musical based on Davis's turn in All About Eve.

Bacall became a part-time fashion model. Howard Hawks's wife Nancy spotted her on the March 1943 cover of Harper's Bazaar and urged Hawks to have her take a screen test for To Have and Have Not. Hawks invited Bacall to Hollywood for the audition. He signed her up to a seven-year personal contract, brought her to Hollywood, gave her $100 a week, and began to manage her career. Hawks changed her name to Lauren Bacall. Nancy Hawks took Bacall under her wing.[7] She dressed Bacall stylishly, and guided the newcomer in matters of elegance, manners, and taste. Bacall's voice was trained to be lower, more masculine, and sexier, which resulted in one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood.[8] In the movie, Bacall takes on Nancy's nickname “Slim”.



During screen tests for To Have and Have Not (1944), Bacall was nervous. To minimize her quivering, she pressed her chin against her chest and to face the camera, tilted her eyes upward. This effect became known as 'The Look', Bacall's trademark.[9] Her performance is acknowledged as one of the most powerful on-screen debuts in film history.[10]

Bacall in her first film, To Have and Have Not. Hoagy Carmichael is in the background playing piano.

On the set, Humphrey Bogart, who was married to Mayo Methot, initiated a relationship with Bacall some weeks into shooting and they began seeing each other.

On a visit to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 1945, Bacall's press agent, chief of publicity at Warner Bros. Charlie Enfield, asked the 20-year-old Bacall to sit on the piano which was being played by Vice-President of the United States Harry S. Truman. The photos caused controversy and made worldwide headlines.

After To Have and Have Not, Bacall was seen opposite Charles Boyer in the critically-panned Confidential Agent (1945).[11] Bacall would state in her autobiography that her career never fully recovered from this film, and that studio boss Jack Warner did not care about quality. She then appeared with Bogart in the film noir The Big Sleep (1946), the thriller Dark Passage (1947), and John Huston's melodramatic suspense film Key Largo (1948). She was cast with Gary Cooper in the adventure tale Bright Leaf (1950).


Bacall turned down scripts she did not find interesting and thereby earned a reputation for being difficult. Yet, for her leads in a string of films, she received favorable reviews. In Young Man with a Horn (1950), co-starring Doris Day and Kirk Douglas, Bacall played a two-faced femme fatale, with more than a hint of lesbianism to her character.[citation needed] This movie is often considered the first big-budget jazz film.[12]

Monroe, Grable, Bacall

Bacall starred in the CinemaScope comedy How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), a runaway hit that saw her teaming up with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.[13] Bacall got positive notices for her turn as the witty gold-digger, Schatze Page.[14] At one point in the film, when discussing marriage to an older man, she has the (self-referential) line, "Look at that old fella, what's-his-name, in The African Queen." According to her autobiography, Bacall refused to press her hand- and footprints in the cemented forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre at the Los Angeles premiere of the film.

Written on the Wind, directed by Douglas Sirk in 1956, is now considered a classic tear-jerker.[15] Appearing with Rock Hudson, Dorothy Malone and Robert Stack, Bacall played a determined woman. Bacall states in her autobiography that she did not think much of the role. While struggling at home with Bogart's severe illness (cancer of the esophagus), Bacall starred with Gregory Peck in the slapstick comedy Designing Woman and gained rave reviews.[16] It was directed by Vincente Minnelli and released in New York City on May 16, 1957, four months after Bogart succumbed to cancer on January 14.

1960s and 1970s

Bacall's movie career waned in the 1960s, and she was only seen in a handful of films. But on Broadway she starred in Goodbye, Charlie (1959), Cactus Flower (1965), Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981). She won Tony Awards for her performances in the latter two. The few movies Bacall shot during this period were all-star vehicles such as Sex and the Single Girl (1964) with Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood, Harper (1966) with Paul Newman, Shelley Winters, Julie Harris, Robert Wagner and Janet Leigh, and Murder on the Orient Express (1974), with Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney and Sean Connery. In 1964, she appeared in two acclaimed episodes of Craig Stevens's CBS drama, Mr. Broadway: first in "Take a Walk Through a Cemetery", with then husband Jason Robards, Jr., and Jill St. John, and then as Barbara Lake in "Something to Sing About", with Martin Balsam as Nate Bannerman.

For her work in the Chicago theatre, Bacall won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1972 and again in 1984. In 1976, she co-starred with John Wayne in his last picture, The Shootist. The two became friends, despite significant political differences between them. They had previously been cast together in 1955's Blood Alley.

Later career

During the 1980s, Bacall appeared in the poorly-received star vehicle The Fan (1981), as well as some star-studded features such as Robert Altman's Health (1980) and Michael Winner's Appointment with Death (1988). In 1997, Bacall was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), her first nomination after a career span of more than fifty years. She had already won a Golden Globe and was widely expected to win the Oscar, which went to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient.

Bacall received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1997. In 1999, she was voted one of the 25 most significant female movie stars in history by the American Film Institute. Since then, her movie career has seen a new renaissance and she has attracted respectful notices for her performances in high-profile projects such as Dogville (2003) and Birth (2004), both with Nicole Kidman. She is one of the leading actors in Paul Schrader's 2007 movie The Walker.

In March 2006, Bacall was seen at the 78th Annual Academy Awards introducing a film montage dedicated to film noir. She also made a cameo appearance as herself on The Sopranos in April 2006, during which she was punched and robbed by a masked Christopher Moltisanti.

In September 2006, Bacall was awarded the first Katharine Hepburn Medal, which recognizes "women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of the four-time-Oscar-winning actress", by Bryn Mawr College's Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center.[17] She gave an address at the memorial service of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr at the Reform Club in London in June 2007.

Bacall is the spokesperson for the Tuesday Morning discount chain. Commercials show her in a limousine waiting for the store to open at the beginning of one of their sales events. She is currently producing a jewelry line with the company Weinman Brothers.

Bacall has been selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Academy Award. The award was presented at the Inaugural Governors Awards on November 14, 2009.[18]

Personal life

Lauren Bacall (1989).

On May 21, 1945, Bacall married Humphrey Bogart. Their wedding and honeymoon took place at Malabar Farm, Lucas, Ohio. It was the country home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, a close friend of Bogart. The wedding was held in the Big House. Bacall was 20 and Bogart was 45. They remained married until Bogart's death from cancer in 1957. Bogart usually called Bacall "Baby," even when referring to her in conversations with other people. During the filming of The African Queen (1951), Bacall and Bogart became friends of Bogart's co-star Katharine Hepburn and her partner Spencer Tracy. Bacall also began to mix in non-acting circles, becoming friends with the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and the journalist Alistair Cooke. In 1952, she gave campaign speeches for Democratic Presidential contender Adlai Stevenson. Along with other Hollywood figures, Bacall was a staunch opponent of McCarthyism.

Shortly after Bogart's death in 1957, Bacall had a relationship with singer and actor Frank Sinatra. She told Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in an interview that she had ended the romance. However, in her autobiography, she wrote that Sinatra abruptly ended the relationship, having become angry that the story of his proposal to Bacall had reached the press. Bacall and her friend Swifty Lazar had run into the gossip columnist Louella Parsons, to whom Lazar had spilled the beans. Sinatra then cut Bacall off and went to Las Vegas.

Bacall was married to actor Jason Robards from 1961 to 1969. According to Bacall's autobiography, she divorced Robards mainly because of his alcoholism. In her autobiography Now, she recalls having a relationship with Len Cariou, her co-star in Applause.

Bacall had two children with Bogart and one child with Robards. Her children with Bogart are her son Stephen Humphrey Bogart (born 6 January 1949), a news producer, documentary film maker, and author; and her daughter Leslie Bogart (born 23 August 1952), a yoga instructor. Sam Robards (born 16 December 1961), her son with Robards, is an actor.

Bacall has written two autobiographies, Lauren Bacall By Myself (1978) and Now (1994). In 2005 the first volume was updated, with an extra chapter, as By Myself and Then Some.

Political views

Bacall is a staunch liberal Democrat. She has proclaimed her political views on numerous occasions.

She appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in a photograph printed at the end of an article he wrote titled "I'm No Communist" in the May 1948 edition of Photoplay magazine,[19] written to counteract negative publicity resulting from his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Bogart and Bacall specifically distanced themselves from the Hollywood Ten and were quoted as saying: "We're about as much in favor of Communism as J. Edgar Hoover." In October 1947, Bacall and Bogart traveled to Washington, DC along with other Hollywood stars, in a group that called itself the Committee for the First Amendment.

She campaigned for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 Presidential election and for Robert Kennedy in his 1964 run for Senate.

In a 2005 interview with Larry King, Bacall described herself as "anti-Republican... A liberal. The L word." She went on to say that "being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind."[20]


In 1980, Kathryn Harrold played Bacall in the TV movie Bogie that was directed by Vincent Sherman and was based on the novel by Joe Hymans. Kevin O'Connor played Bogart, and the movie focused primarily upon the disintegration of Bogart's third marriage to Mayo Methot, played by Ann Wedgeworth, when Bogart met Bacall and began an affair with her.




Year Film Role Notes
1944 To Have and Have Not Marie 'Slim' Browning
1945 Confidential Agent Rose Cullen
1946 The Big Sleep Vivian Sternwood Rutledge
1946 Two Guys from Milwaukee Herself uncredited cameo
1947 Dark Passage Irene Jansen
1948 Key Largo Nora Temple
1950 Young Man with a Horn Amy North
Bright Leaf Sonia Kovac
1953 How to Marry a Millionaire Schatze Page
1954 Woman's World Elizabeth Burns
1955 The Cobweb Meg Faversen Rinehart
Blood Alley Cathy Grainger
1956 Patterns Lobby lady near elevators uncredited
Written on the Wind Lucy Moore Hadley
1957 Designing Woman Marilla Brown Hagen
1958 The Gift of Love Julie Beck
1959 North West Frontier Catherine Wyatt
1964 Shock Treatment Dr. Edwina Beighley
Sex and the Single Girl Sylvia Broderick
1966 Harper Elaine Sampson
1973 Applause Margo Channing
1974 Murder on the Orient Express Mrs. Harriet Belinda Hubbard
1976 The Shootist Bond Rogers
1978 Perfect Gentleman Mrs. Lizzie Martin
1980 Health Esther Brill
1981 The Fan Sally Ross
1988 Appointment with Death Lady Westholme
Mr. North Mrs. Cranston
1989 John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick documentary
Tree of Hands Marsha Archdale
Dinner at Eight Carlotta Vance
1990 Misery Marcia Sindell
1991 A Star for Two
All I Want for Christmas Lillian Brooks
1993 The Portrait Fanny Church
The Parallax Garden
A Foreign Field Lisa
1994 Prêt-à-Porter: Ready to Wear Slim Chrysler
1995 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Hannah Morgan Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
My Fellow Americans Margaret Kramer
1997 Day and Night Sonia
1999 Get Bruce documentary
Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Doris Duke (elderly)
Madeline: Lost in Paris Madame Lacroque voice
The Venice Project Countess Camilla Volta
Presence of Mind Mado Remei
Diamonds Sin-Dee
A Conversation with Gregory Peck documentary
2003 The Limit May Markham
Dogville Ma Ginger
2004 Howl's Moving Castle Witch of the Waste voice
Birth Eleanor
2005 Firedog Posche voice
Manderlay Mam
2006 These Foolish Things Dame Lydia
2007 The Walker Natalie Van Miter
2008 Eve Grandma
Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King The Grand Witch voice
2009 Wide Blue Yonder May post-production
2010 Firedog Posche voice
Carmel filming

Short subjects

  • 1955 Motion Picture Theatre Celebration (1955)
  • Amália Traída (Amália Betrayed) (2004)

Selected stage appearances

  • January Two by Four (1942)
  • Goodbye Charlie (1959)
  • Cactus Flower (1965)
  • Applause (1970)
  • V.I.P. Night on Broadway (1979) (benefit concert)
  • Woman of the Year (1981)
  • Angela Lansbury: A Celebration (1996) (benefit concert)
  • Waiting in the Wings (1999)

Television work


  • By Myself (1978)
  • Now (1994)
  • By Myself and Then Some (2005)

Awards and nominations


Bacall has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street.

See also


  1. ^ Lauren Bacall Biography
  2. ^ "The Religious Affiliation of Lauren Bacall: great American actress". 2005-07-30. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  3. ^ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Lauren Bacall turns 80.
  4. ^ Lazaroff, Tovah (2005-11-10). "Peres: Not such a bad record after all". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  5. ^ Weiner, Eric (2007-06-13). "Shimon Peres Wears Hats of Peacemaker, Schemer". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  6. ^ Meyers 1997, p. 164.
  7. ^ Sperber and Lax 1997, p. 246.
  8. ^ Sperber and Lax 1997, p. 245.
  9. ^ The Official Website of Lauren Bacall - "The Look".
  10. ^ Movie Reviews: To Have and Have Not. - Rotten Tomatoes.
  11. ^ External reviews: Confidential Agent (1945). - IMDb.
  12. ^ Trivia: Young Man with a Horn (1950). - IMDB.
  13. ^ Box office - Business: How to Marry a Millionaire (1953). - IMDb.
  14. ^ Movie Reviews: How to Marry a Millionaire. - Rotten Tomatoes.
  15. ^ Written on the Wind (1956) -
  16. ^ Designing Woman @ Rotten
  17. ^ Bryn Mawr College - Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center.
  18. ^ "Bacall, Calley, Corman and Willis to Receive Academy’s Governors Awards". Press release - Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. September 10, 2009.
  19. ^ Humphrey Bogart: "I'm no communist," Photoplay, March 1948.
  20. ^ Interview with Lauren Bacall.
  21. ^ Mitovich, Matt (April 24, 2009). "Wonder Pets Returns with One of Kitt's Final Performances". Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  22. ^ Mark Shanahan & Paysha Rhone (2008-09-19). "Bringing together big-screen royalty". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Lauren Bacall with Humphrey Bogart being interviewed for AFRS during World War II.

Lauren Bacall (born 16 September 1924) Jewish American film and stage actress; wife of Humphrey Bogart, born Betty Joan Perske



  • Imagination is the highest kite that one can fly.
    • Lauren Bacall By Myself (1978)
  • How many women do we know who were continually kissed by Clark Gable, William Powell, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy and Fredric March? Only one: Myrna Loy... And to meet whom did Franklin D Roosevelt find himself tempted to call off the Yalta Conference? Myrna Loy. And to see what lady in what picture did John Dillinger risk coming out of hiding to meet his bullet-ridden death in an alley in Chicago? Myrna Loy, in Manhattan Melodrama.
    • Hosting a Carnegie Hall tribute to Myrna Loy, as quoted in The New York Times (16 January 1985)
  • I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.
    • As quoted in The Daily Telegraph (2 March 1988)
  • Looking at yourself in a mirror isn’t exactly a study of life.
    • As quoted in The Daily Mail (1 November 1990)
  • She's not a legend. She's a beginner. What is this 'legend'? She can't be a legend at whatever age she is. She can't be a legend, you have to be older.
    • As quoted in numerous reports of a response she made to a question by Jenni Falconer during joint interview sessions with Nicole Kidman at the Venice Film Festival (8 September 2004) She, Kidman and others have indicated that the remarks were inaccurately quoted and taken out of context. (see also the Larry King interview)
  • Nicole and I worked together on Dogville and we were friends when we started this. That laid the groundwork for our fabulous relationship on screen and off.
    • Interview at Venice Film Festival (8 September 2004)
  • When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise. His whole behavior is so shocking. It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness.

Larry King interview (2005)

Interview with Larry King on CNN (6 May 2005)

  • The people I've known I must say are extraordinary. When I think about some of them, I can't believe that I knew them all. And I think the reason I knew most of them at the beginning was because they were of Bogie's generation, 25 years my senior, not mine. But they were the most talented people of all.
  • I was Betty Bacall always. And Lauren was Howard Hawks... he felt that Lauren Bacall was better sounding than Betty Bacall. He had a vision of his own. He was a Svengali. He wanted to mold me. He wanted to control me. And he did until Mr. Bogart got involved.
  • BACALL: "I'm a total Democrat. I'm anti-Republican. And it's only fair that you know it. Even though..."
KING: "Wait a minute. Are you a liberal?"
BACALL: "I'm a liberal. The "L" word!"
KING: "Egads!"
... I love it. Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind... I'm total, total, total liberal and proud of it. And I think it's outrageous to say "The L word". I mean, excuse me. They should be damn lucky that they were liberals here. Liberals gave more to the population of the United States than any other group.
  • Losing Bogey was horrible, obviously. Because he was young. And because he gave me my life. I wouldn't have had a — I don't know what would have happened to me if I hadn't met him — I would have had a completely different kind of life. He changed me, he gave me everything. And he was an extraordinary man.
  • Well, his attention span was not long, shall we say.
    • She said of Sinatra
  • I love Nicole. Nicole and I happen to be very great friends. Besides that, the press never get it straight. They do not print what you say... We were in Venice for Birth at the Venice Film Festival. And you know when you have a day when you go from one room to another with the roundtables with about five journalists sitting around at each table throwing questions at you all the time. So in one of these rooms, I'm sitting there. And one of the journalists said, you're an icon and Nicole Kidman's an icon and what do you think about that? And I said, why do you have to burden her with the category? She's a young woman. She's got her whole career ahead of her. Why does she have to be pegged as an icon or as anything? Let her enjoy her time. Don't, you know, suddenly put her in a slot. And that was all I said. The word "legend" never came up. It was "icon."
    • On being quoted in 2004 as saying about Nicole Kidman: "She's not a legend. She's a beginner..."
"She's not a legend," Bacall said. "She can't be a legend at whatever age she is. ... You have to be older."

Private Screenings interview (2005)

An interview for Private Screenings on TCM with Robert Osborne (August 2005)

  • A planned life is a dead life.
  • I went to a sneak preview... I was sort of stunned by it, because you don't realize what you've done. I never knew what was going to happen, but they knew. Warners knew, and Howard knew.
    • On her role in To Have and Have Not (1944)
  • ...badly, playing the Missouri Waltz, or something.
    • On Harry S. Truman's piano playing
  • That's absolutely one of my most favorite movies, for so many reasons. I fought for that part; I wanted it badly. I took a lower salary, I did everything. Grace Kelly said, 'I'll never forgive you for playing that part. It was written for me. She [Kelly] got the prince [Rainier], I got the part.'
    • On her role in Designing Women (1957)
  • He was...(pause) a womanizer, he wanted to be in the sack with everybody.
  • It's not an old movie if you haven't seen it
    • On TCM with Robert Osborne

Quotes of others about Bacall

  • Lauren Bacall has cinema personality to burn. She has a javelin-like vitality, a born dancer’s eloquence of movement, a fierce female shrewdness, and a special sweet-sourness. With these faculties, plus a stone-crushing self-confidence and a trombone voice, she manages to get across the toughest girl Hollywood has dreamed of in a long, long while. ~ James Agee
  • Slinky as a lynx, hot as pepper, cool as rain, dry as smoke. There’s considerably more to her than staying sexy at 60. ~ Ros Asquith in The London Observer on Bacall’s performance in Sweet Bird of Youth
  • Even today, seeing her from a distance on a city street, striding easily with head thrown back, you would know why she interested Bogart from the day they met. She was no ordinary girl then, just as today she is no ordinary woman. In fact, she is an extraordinary one. ~ Joe Hyams

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Lauren Bacall
File:Lauren Bacall - YankArmyWeekly
Born Betty Joan Perske
September 16, 1924 (1924-09-16) (age 86)
New York City, New York, United States
Years active 1944 - present
Spouse Humphrey Bogart (1945-1957)
Jason Robards (1961-1969)
Awards NBR Award for Best Cast
1994 Prêt-à-Porter
Hollywood Walk of Fame
1724 Vine Street

Lauren Bacall (born September 16, 1924) is an American movie, radio and stage actress and model. Well known for her deep voice, Bacall started acting during the 1940s and still acts today. She has had big roles in movies like The Big Sleep and Dark Passage.

Although well known as an actress herself, she also had fame as being the fourth wife of actor Humphrey Bogart. They stayed married until Bogart died in 1957 and had two children; Stephen (b. 1949) and Leslie (b. 1952). Bacall married Jason Robards in 1961, also an actor. They had one son Sam (b. 1961) and divorced in 1969.

Bacall's first cousin is Shimon Peres, who was once Prime Minister and is now President of Israel.

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