The Surprising Connection Between Lauren Bacall And John Lennon

It cannot be debated that John Lennon and Lauren Bacall are two of the most influential people in their respective artistic mediums. One is an iconic rock musician who led a musical revolution and the other is one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood history.

As a singer and songwriter for the Beatles, John Lennon helped spark the British invasion of the 1960s, revitalized the genre of rock music, and by the end of his tenure with the group and the start of his solo career had become a face of the counterculture, as The History Reader notes. For Lauren Bacall, her career on the screen began when Lennon was still in diapers, in Liverpool, England. The American Film Institute named Bacall one of the top 25 greatest film actresses in cinema's first 100 years. In 1944, when Bacall was only 20-years-old, she co-starred with her future husband, Humphrey Bogart in the film "To Have and Have Not," and for the next 60 years, Bacall remained one of the standards for beauty and talent in Hollywood (via Oscars).

While Bacall would have the opportunity to be honored towards the end of her life, Lennon would not have that pleasure. On December 8, 1980, the 40-year-old musician would be fatally shot by a deranged fan outside his home at the Dakota Apartments in New York, as History writes. 

The Dakota Apartments had a Number of Famous Residents

The Dakotas were not just home to one of the greatest rock musicians of the 20th century, but also to a number of other famous musicians, and actors. First constructed in 1884, the Dakota Apartments stood in contrast to their surrounding area (via NYC LGBT Sites). While the apartment complex was for an upper-middle-class clientele, the surrounding area was underdeveloped, making the Dakotas stand out even further. Situated just across from Central Park, the Dakotas saw many celebrities call the complex home.

Leonard Bernstein, the famed composer behind the music for works on stage and in films such as "West Side Story" and "On the Waterfront," moved into the Dakotas in 1975 and would live there until his death in 1990. Bernstein had actually met John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles years prior and was a fan of Lennon's poetry and music, as Forward notes. At a potluck dinner, the apartments held, Bernstein and his daughter sang one of Lennon's old poems for the musician (via Today). Outside of Broadway, the apartments were also home to icons such as actor Boris Karoff and singer Roberta Flack, according to Early Bird Books.

One of the most famous residents of the star-studded apartment complexes was Lauren Bacall. The actress moved into the Dakotas in 1961, four years after her husband Humphrey Bogart's death, as The New York Times writes.

Lauren Bacall Heard John Lennon's Murder

While all these celebrities did not occupy a home in the Dakota Apartments at the same time, Lauren Bacall's 53-year stay meant she was neighbors at some point with these famous figures. Her time as John Lennon's neighbor lasted less than a decade, as Lennon and Yoko Ono moved into the NYC apartments in 1971 to escape the frenzy of his fans and focus on his family (via WOUB). The Liverpool-born Lennon and Tokyo-born Ono found New York as a breath of fresh air and loved the environment and culture of the city.

Still, fans followed Lennon to his new home, annoying Bacall. The actress recalled having issues with Lennon's fans staying around the apartment, though she and Lennon never had any issues themselves (per Today). Speaking to Larry King in 2005 Bacall said of Lennon she "liked him a lot," as The Week notes. On the night of December 8, 1980, Bacall said she heard a loud bang outside and believed it to be a car backfiring, and paid it no mind. It was not until she watched the evening news that night that she learned it had not been a car, but gunshots. Lennon was fatally struck four times in the back as he was walking into the Dakotas by a crazed fan named Mark David Chapman (via History).