When Lauren Bacall first arrived in Hollywood, she felt uncomfortable at parties. Not only was she a newcomer, she was one of the city's few celebrity teetotalers. After hosting a party one evening, Howard Hawks, who was sponsoring Bacall, found that he had to drive her home. "What's the matter?" he asked. "Couldn't you get someone to offer you a ride?" "I don't get along too well with these people," she reluctantly replied. Hawks asked Bacall whether she had been nice to them. "I try to be," she replied. Hawks thought for a moment before suggesting a change of tack: "Don't be nice next time," he said semi-seriously. "Try insulting them and see whether maybe you do a little better."

At his next party Bacall approached Hawks with a broad smile. "I've got a ride home," she said. "Good for you," said Hawks. "What did you do?" "I insulted a man," she explained. "I asked him where he got his tie. He said, 'Why do you want to know?' and I said, 'So I can tell other people not to go there!'" Hawks was delighted. "Who was the man?" he asked. Bacall replied with another smile: "Clark Gable."

[Among Bacall's hobbies? Collecting beer mugs.]

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