“When you’re dealing with nonprofessional writers, you have to give them a tremendous amount of encouragement simply to convince them that they can write at all. Lauren Bacall is a perfect example. I knew she could write her own book, and I knew that she would never be satisfied if she had a ghostwriter, but she didn’t know how to do it, so finally we set up a system. She would come into the office every day and write in longhand on yellow pads, and every night little elves would type up what she had written during the day. She kept saying, Is it all right? and I would say, Yes, yes, it’s fine. You write it, I’ll edit it. And it was fine. Of course, it needed standard editorial work, but it was her book, it came right out of her. Betty Bacall is a bright Jewish girl from New York—she wasn’t going to write a bad book.” —Robert Gottlieb on working with Lauren Bacall on her book, By Myself.
Pictured: Bacall attends party to launch By Myself at the Palace Theater in New York City on Monday, June 8, 1979. At left is Henry Kissinger and at right is actor Henry Fonda. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm)