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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Nicole Kidman v Lauren Bacall
Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall
Kidman (left) plays Bacall's daughter in new movie Birth
Veteran actress Lauren Bacall has taken offence at co-star Nicole Kidman being labelled a "screen legend", saying Kidman is merely a "beginner".

When asked by a British TV presenter how it felt to be working with fellow "legend" Kidman, 79-year-old Bacall replied: "She can't be a legend, you have to be older."

Bacall and Kidman appeared together in Dogville and new film Birth, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday. But how do the two Hollywood actresses compare?

Honolulu, Hawaii, on 20 June 1967

Screen debut
Bush Christmas (1983)

Notable film roles
Cold Mountain (2003), The Hours (2002), The Others (2001), Moulin Rouge (2001), To Die For (1995), Dead Calm (1989)

Notable theatre roles
Earned a Special Award at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards for her lead role in The Blue Room at London's Donmar Warehouse in 1998

Won the Best Actress Oscar in 2003 for The Hours, which also earned her a Bafta and her third Golden Globe award

Career high
Winning multiple awards for playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours

Career low
Replaced as lead in Panic Room (2002) by Jodie Foster, after hurting herself in a stunt for Moulin Rouge

Married actor Tom Cruise in 1990, but separated in 2001

On-screen partnership
Appeared with Cruise in Days of Thunder (1990), Far and Away (1992) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

What she said about Bacall
"She is my New York mother."

New York City on 16 September 1924

Screen debut
To Have and Have Not (1944)

Notable film roles
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Key Largo (1948), The Big Sleep (1946)

Notable theatre roles
Began her career on Broadway in Goodbye Charlie (1959), later starring in Cactus Flower (1965) and Applause (1970) before returning to stage in Waiting in the Wings (1999)

Won a supporting actress Golden Globe in 1997 for The Mirror Has Two Faces, for which she was also nominated for an Oscar and a Bafta - honoured with a Golden Globe Cecil B DeMille Award in 1993

Career high
Bacall was established as a major Hollywood star when she received second billing to Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep in 1946

Career low
She took a five-year break from screen acting after poor reviews for her 1958 film The Gift of Love

Married actor Humphrey Bogart in 1945. After his death in 1957, Bacall became engaged to singer Frank Sinatra but they never married

On-screen partnership
Appeared with Bogart in To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948)

What she said about Kidman
"We were friends when we started [Birth]. That laid the groundwork for our fabulous relationship on screen and off."

BBC News Online users had their say on the issue. Who is more of a screen legend - Nicole Kidman or Lauren Bacall?

I think there are two words which are over-used, and they are legend and genius. Lauren Bacall is obsolutely right in saying that Kidman isn't a legend, and was merely pointing out the fact that the word is too loosely used to describe someone who has made a few popular films.
Jean Ward, Cheshire, UK

I adore Kidman. She is well on her way to becoming a legend. But Bacall IS a legend. She's been around, been around the block, and made more movies and history. Kidman will be there one day, but not just yet.
Carol Bachmann, Arlington, VA, USA

Looking at the career comparison above, it appears that Kidman has been more lauded with awards. Does that make her a "legend?" I don't know, but I certainly don't think so. I believe that the word implies not only quality work (and, in film, a definite charisma), but a certain minimum time factor. It seems one would not call Lance Armstrong a cycling legend today, even though he is clearly an outstanding rider. In ten or twenty years, with the passing of time, there is no doubt he will be referred to as a legend. The same could be said, I think, of Kidman. She's not a legend...yet! Bacall, no doubt, is.
Keith Caudle, Viernheim, Germany

Lauren Bacall is an amazing, outspoken woman (and always was, even in times when women were generally more demure). Nicole Kidman is a great actress, but it's not fair to either of these ladies to compare her career with one which spans the greater part of a century, as Bacall's does.
Rachel, London, UK

Nicole Kidman is hardly 40 and has yet to completely unfold the large potential she has. She's a great acress, but by no standard can she be called a screen legend. Neither is ms. Bacall, though she's closer to legend-status by virtue of both her long splendid career and her association with real screen legend Humphrey Bogart.
Curt Jensen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Despite the fact that Lauren Bacall has been around longer, she hasn't won an Oscar. Although both have been nominated, the fact that Nicole has won an Academy Award for Best Actress makes me feel that she is the bigger legend. I must admit that Lauren is a fantastic actress, but Nicole seems to have won this one.
Leslie, Daleville, USA

Lauren Bacall wins hands down against not only Kidman but anyone! Even now she is one of the sexiest women alive. She has "IT".
Gary Welsby, Coram USA

I think that both actresses have achieved a lot and demonstrated versatility. Bacall is now coming to the end of her career whereas Kidman has the potential to improve even more.
Isabel, Milton keynes

It's got to be Bacall - she isn't just a legend of the silver screen, she is an icon of the 20th century. Kidman has started on the right road, but still has a long way to go...
George Forth, London, UK

This issue may be more about ego than anything else. I would however agree that Bacall probably qualifies more as a "screen legend" and think that Kidman's dramatic abilities have been consistently overrated.
Linda Faigen, Melbourne Australia

Lauren is more of a legend than Nicole, as she hails from a time of movie stars, not serious actresses. Nicole is currently one of the most watchable performers, male or female, with a vast range and the confidence to take risks, something a lot of her peers are not. So, yes, Lauren is more a legend than Nicole. Just as Joan Collins is, and always will be, more of a legend than say Judi Dench.
Paul, Cardiff, UK

Bacall is more of a legend. While Kidman is a terrific actress and is one of the very best of today's crop, there are no real movie stars anymore as there were in the day when Bacall first appeared. My definition of a movie star is someone who draws people into theaters solely on his or her name, regardless of the vehicle. Nowadays people are not eagerly awaiting the latest movie by Kidman or any of the other alleged stars of today. Projects are hyped and sold and who is in the cast rarely draws people into the cinemas. I long for the days when people couldn't wait to see the latest movie by Bette Davis or Humphrey Bogart or any of the other true legends of the days of the Hollywood studio system. The only real legends today are the computer animators and other technical wizards. Check out the list of the highest grossing movies this year and see how few of them got to be on the list because of who was acting in them.
Arnold Himelstein, USA

Though Kidman is an excellent actress and I beleive she has a long future on the screen and stage, I'd have to agree with Bacall and say that it is a bit premature to call her a Legend. I don't think Bacall was being mean, and she was probably more joking than anything with her statement, there is some truth there. Let's see where Kidman is in say another 20 years. Then she may be able to be a Legend.
Paul Bennett, Freeport, Maine, USA

It is ridiculous to suggest that Kidman even comes close. Lauren Bacall is one of the greatest actresses of her generation, and most of her generation were better than Kidman. In 50 years' time, people will not still revere Nicole Kidman's films, and certainly not her performances. There are a great many actors of her age in Hollywood who are far superior (and yet still aren't a patch on Lauren Bacall). Kidman is a far better celebrity than she is an actress - it's a shame that, these days, people seem to confuse the two.
Madeleine, Kent

Lauren Bacall is correct: Nicole Kidman has not been around long enough to be a "legend." It was, however, terribly rude and ingracious of her to say so.
Ginny Wright, USA

Could you imagine Kidman trying to deliver a line like "you know how to whistle don't you? just put your lips together & blow"? Pleeaaase!!
Suzanne, Oxford, UK

Lauren Bacall is a genuine movie star and a natural, effortless scene-stealer - no matter what else is going on in the scene, she is always the focus and it all pivots around her. But what working actor wants to be called a "legend" - it really means too old to have to bother any more, so it isn't exactly flattering (and certainly does not apply to Ms. Bacall!)
Isobel, Salisbury, UK

Nicole Kidman is not a legendary actress. Ask us again in 40 years..
L. Estevez, Warwick, NY

Kidman is good. I like her. But she is not even close to being the actress Bacall is.
Tony Woodward, Roundup, Montana

No doubt about it - Lauren Bacall for her sheer presence and that voice, those eyes, that intelligence. Kidman is great but she is no Lauren Bacall. Nor is she Meryl Streep or Jodie Foster who are nearer her age group.
Clarissa Henry, Vienna, Austria

Lauren Bacall is without question the legend, and she was correct when she said that Nicole Kidman was too young to be a screen legend. Nicole is a very talented actress in her own right and is someone who I think will be considered a legend one day too. To be called a legend takes a long time, and it is earned through the movies you make, the roles that you play and the relationships that you have- the amount of interest the public has in you. Not just any actor that has put in their time doing numerous movies through their life could be considered a legend. Lauren Bacall had many unforgettable lead roles in the golden era of Hollywood and her marriage to Humphrey Bogart secured her place in history as a screen legend. Who hasn't heard 'You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow.' from To Have and Have Not? But maybe the actors of today won't become legends in the future. I don't think that Hollywood is currently going through another golden age like what it was in the 30's and 40's and what does that mean for the actors of today? With how fast things are moving, and keep speeding up, will the actors considered great today be revered and respected as they mature or will they simply be cast off in favour of fresh new faces and talent? The reason Lauren Bacall is a legend is indisputable, it is a part of Hollywood history that cannot be erased and it will always be remembered, but I am not so sure that Nicole Kidman's Hollywood is as memorable or will create such legends.
Tina Havir, Southampton, UK

As Bacall says, you can't be a true screen legend until you have reached her age.
John Treilhard, Huntsville, Canada

Why does one have to be better or more legendary than the other? Both are fantastic actresses in their own right. If it were two men, I don't think there would even be this discussion. I doubt Lauren Bacall meant her comment in a derogatory way, I think she is just pointing out that Nicole has many more roles in front of her.
Jenny, Edinburgh

Style icon maybe, screen legend don't think so. Let's wait and see if NK is still acting when she's 79. She can also hope to develop some of the character and wit of LB as she get older.
Vanessa Round, Italy

Calling Nicole Kidman a screen legend is daft and I am sure she would say the same. I mean, the woman isn't 40 yet! Lauren Bacall is a living legend of the movie world, when Nicole Kidman has reached retirement age + then she too will be one of the cinema greats (as long as she keeps picking winners of course!)
Helen, Sweden

It seems to me that Lauren Bacall's comments are being blown out of proportion. She simply stated a fact, Nicole Kidman is too young to be considered a legend. I don't really believe that Lauren Bacall was deliberately critisising her, in fact I think it was a compliment. She described Nicole Kidman as a beginner which suggests she thinks she is likely to make many more films.
Sam, Leeds

Lauren Becall without a doubt! She has starred in numerous classic films with other legendary stars. Kidman is a good actress but did not act during the pioneering days of Hollywood. They are from different eras and there is less glamour than in Becall's day. No Kidman film springs to my mind immediately. Maybe, in 10 years or so time, if she does some ground-breaking work, then Kidman could be on her way...
Nigel, Prague, Czech Republic

Lauren Bacall is a legend. Nicole Kidman may be a legend in 20, 30 years time. Kidman has bigger media-profile, or attention, but that doesn't make her a legend. Maybe after she has a more consistent resume
Vasco Napolećo, Lisbon, Portugal

Lauren Bacall, of the two, is definitely the legend. Are we forgetting, "The Look" as her downward cheek bone flashing pose was called. I love Nicole and I think she is getting better with every movie. But Bacall is Bacall and there is no comparison.
Sherry Franks, Copperas Cove, TX

Definitely Kidman. Especially nowadays when most people don't even know of Bacall.
Irfan Hamid, Paris, France

I agree with Lauren Bacall. Nicole is much too young to be considered a legend. A legend needs to be at least 60 years old.
Anne-Marie, Lexington, KY, USA

Nicole Kidman is a wonderful actress, one of the best working today. She will be a screen legend... But I suggest we let her enjoy her youth first. Lauren is pure legend, and still making news and movies
Greg Williams , Jamaica Plain USA

Kidman is brilliant and has had a most distinguished career so far. She's sparkled in demanding roles such as The Others. Bacall should not feel the need to trivialize Kidman's accomplishments. Kidman is indeed legendary. I really wish that younger actors were taken more seriously than they are.
Isaac Lundall, Cape Town, South Africa

Between the two, Bacall is the clear winner. But for Bacall to actually publicly denounce Kidman as a legend, degrades her own status. Perhaps Bacall is simply worried that the beauty and clearly outstanding talent of Kidman will one day overshadow her own. Kidman still has some time to go but in a world where movie stars are ten-a-penny, perhaps to do so well, means she is already a legend. But in essence, does it really matter?
Alex Green, London SW6

The word is not applicable to real living beings. Ms. Bacall has had a great many more fine parts in movies on which her reputation is based; hopefully Ms. Kidman will many more years in order to build hers.
Arieh Zimmerman, Kibbutz Zikim, Israel

Nicole Kidman is too prolific. Other young actresses should be considered by directors, instead of going for the same big names all the time, even if they may not be the right person for the film. Bacall on the other hand has a timeless quality about her. She is a joy to watch, and is never boring. Miss Bacall lights up the screen and dosen't over act.
Ann Shannon, Cambridge, England

Lauren Bacall without a doubt. Still a stunning presence at 79. Nicole is not in the same league ..... sorry.
Barbara Fenton, Edinburgh, Scotland

Whilst they have both been involved with a similar number of works (Bacall 53 & Kidman 47). It is the time that they have been in the public eye that is telling (Bacall 60 years & Kidman 21 years). By this measure, Kidman's career could be likened to a young adult - out of the childhood and teenage years but still so much in front of it. Especially when compared to a career of 60 yea.rs to date. Hopefully Kidman's career will continue so that in 39 years we can call her a true legend too.
Simon Potts, London, UK

Obiously it is Lauren Bacall that is a screen legend.
Sanjeev Rajput, Delhi, India

Does anyone really believe it was a dig at Kidman? It was just an observation that Kidman is too young to be considered a legend. Maybe if people are still talking her up in 20 years.
Steve Tudor, Romsey, UK

Once again, the press has "designed" a battle between two celebrities who have clearly stated the respect they have for each other. Bacall merely corrected the (British) reporter that a "legend" is someone who's been in the business for a lifetime. Nicole isn't even 40.
Paul Smythe, Toronto, Canada

Bacall was (and is) a beautiful woman but a merely average actor. Her film work will be remembered largely because she had the good fortune to co-star in some great movies and, especially in her partnership with Bogart, some great scenes. In fairness several of her contemporaries were better actresses and greater screen legends. Kidman on the other hand is a great actress whose choice of roles has been, to put it kindly, spotty. But Bacall is right about one thing: it is far too early to say whether Kidman will leave an enduring screen legend.
Carl, Virginia, USA

There is no comparison, it's Lauren Bacall.
Martin Lawson, Sunderland, United Kingdom

I don't think age is an issue as Marilyn Monroe was 36 when she died but Nicole Kidman hasn't got the enigmatic quality that's needed to be a legend.
Russell, UK

Lauren Bacall is the legend; Nicole Kidman might have been chosen as an actress for several high-profile films, but many people don't like watching films starring her, as her aura can't compare with the expression and charisma of very good actresses
Angel Jackson, Brighton, UK

The question should more politely have been asked of Kidman, herself a contemporary star and acclaimed actress, about Bacall - who IS undoubtedly an icon of the silver screen and a living legend of the golden age of Hollywood. She was a new kind of woman in her heyday and the match for the toughest, cleverest man in film. Her 40s movies with Bogie have more than stood the test of time and she has held her own in some other classics all by herself - such as How to Marry a Millionaire. I wasn't born when these were made and the fact that in my eyes they set the standards to beat says everything. Kidman may well become a legend but it is impossible to say. People may look back in 50 years and find The Hours melodramatic and contrived or Moulin Rouge embarrassingly dated. Or they might be regarded as classics. It is interesting to go through the list of Oscar winners from the 30s onwards and realise that some of the all time great performances and some of the classic films were also-rans at the time losing out to 'better' efforts no one can even remember today. Only time will tell.
douglas, london

Lauren Becall is the legend - she has starred in movies that define a generation, and has the longevity to have earned the title. Nicole is a gifted actress, and has earned the right to be called a star, but has not yet put in the years and truly delivered the goods to be called a legend.
Raymond, Toronto, Canada

Why rush things? Nicole Kidman's time as a legend is yet to come. Lauren Bacall is now a legend.
Ken Layne, Fort Lauderdale, Fl. USA

I'm a great fan of both stars. I think it's really a non-issue except in the media who are trying create something out of nothing. Ms. Bacall has paid her dues and is entitled to her opinions. Move on.
Barry Allison, Austin, Texas USA

I think Lauren Bacall is more of a legend, because the word does have connotaions with the historic. So I believe you do have to be old to be a "legend". However, this doesn't take away from the fact that Nicole is a fabulous actress and one day I am sure Nicole will be recognised as a legend.
Kim Heston, Manchester

I don't think the two actors can be compared. They are from two diferent eras, that are worlds apart.
George Enos, Runnells, IA USA


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