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Looking back, Lauren Bacall credits one person for her illustrious career - her mother.

"I can never talk enough about her because she was such a gift," said the 76-year-old actress Monday in Rochester. "The best of me came from her."

She thanked her mother, Natalie Perske, for the sacrifices she made so Bacall could pursue acting. When her father abandoned the family, her mother worked six days a week as an executive secretary to support her, Bacall said in her trademark smoky voice.

More than 1,100 people came to Auditorium Center to hear Bacall speak during the opening night of Rochester's Unique Lives & Experiences series. The five-part series, which runs through May, focuses on the lives of famous women.

Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske in September 1924, first set the screen on fire with Humphrey Bogart in 1944's "To Have and Have Not." She married Bogart the next year. Her marriage to Bogart ended with his death in 1957.

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