City Desk

Did Sally Quinn Almost Lose Ben Bradlee to Lauren Bacall?

Sally Quinn had an interesting way to honor Lauren Bacall, the actress who passed away yesterday at the age of 89.

Quinn, a D.C. socialite and Washington Post writer who is married to the paper's former top editor Ben Bradlee, took to Twitter to write that she almost lost her husband to Bacall. And, she added, Bacall was so "spectacular" that it would have been an "acceptable" choice for Bradlee.

(Bacall was born named Betty Joan Perske, hence the Betty.)

So did Bradlee have an affair with Bacall? A 2009 item from Women's Wear Daily suggests it's possible.

REMEMBERING THAT TIME: Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn performed a lively round onstage, he all self-deprecation and joviality, and she full of practiced graciousness and boldface anecdotes. One recollection that amused and even shocked the crowd: Quinn's tale of being in the Hamptons with Paris Review founder George Plimpton, “back when Ben and I first got together” and losing her now-husband in the dunes to Lauren Bacall for an hour. Her only solution, Quinn said, was to befriend Bacall and make her feel incredibly guilty for apparently cuckolding her. The ploy worked, according to Quinn, and they're friends to this day.

Bacall starred in such films as To Have and Have Not and The Mirror Has Two Faces, and was married to Humphrey Bogart and later to Jason Robards. Robards played Bradlee in All the President's Men, the 1976 film about the Post's Watergate investigation.  

In a 2010 Vanity Fair profile of Quinn, Quinn and Bradlee were described as the "Bogart and Bacall of Washington."

Contacted by email, Quinn says she plans to write about the episode herself. City Desk looks forward to reading.

Photo by Financial Times photos via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Ghosts of Respectability

    Quinn just won't give up. There is no boundary of indignity she won't cross to appear relevant. Lauren Bacall was an American icon. Quinn is a spent whore. Quinn was a notorious sleep around who threw herself to her knees in under the desk, apres lunch, chew downs to inveigle a dried up old geezer to marry her.

    Lauren Bacall had style and was an actress. Quinn's only demonstrable talent is an ability to stifle her gag reflex.

    Quinn, go back in your hole, you're done here. Even your own family hates you.

  • 20011

    I'll say it...can't wait for Bradlee to throw the big switch so the Post can shitcan Quinn once and for all.

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