FANDOM


Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey Bogart
Bogart in 1946

Born

25th December 1899

Died

14th January 1957 (aged 57)

Occupation

Actor

Years active

1921 - 1956

Humphrey DeForest Bogart (1899 - 1957) was an American actor. The American Film Institute ranked him as the greatest male star in American cinema.

After trying various jobs, Bogart started acting in 1921 and was a regular in Broadway productions. When the stock market crashed in 1929, the demand of plays was reduced and Bogart turned to film. His first great sucess was The Petrified Forest (1936), which led him to a period of typecasting in gangster films and B-movies.

Bogart's breakthrough as a leading man came in 1941, with the films High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. The following year, his performence in Casablanca raised him to the peak of his career. Other notable films include The African Queen (1951), for which he won his only Oscar, and The Caine Muiny (1954). He appeared in 75 films between 1921 and 1956.

Early LifeEdit

Bogart was born on Christmas Day, 1899 in New York City, the eldest child of Dr. Belmont DeForest Bogart (July 1867, Watkins Glen, New York – September 8, 1934, Tudor City apartments, New York City) and Maud Humphrey (1868–1940). Belmont and Maud married in June 1898. The name “Bogart” comes from the Dutch surname “Bogaert”. It is derived from the word “bogaard”, a short name for “boomgaard”, which means “orchard”. Bogart's father was a Presbyterian of English and Dutch descent; his mother was an Episcopalian of English descent. Bogart was raised in the Episcopalian faith, but gave up his belief in God and was an atheist since the age of eight.

Early Acting CareerEdit

Bogart starred in the Broadway play Invitation to a Murder at the Theatre Masque, now the John Golden Theatre, in 1934. The producer Arthur Hopkins heard the play from off-stage and sent for Bogart to play escaped murderer Duke Mantee in Robert E. Sherwood's new play, The Petrified Forest.

Early Film CareerEdit

The film version of The Petrified Forest was released in 1936. His performance was called "brilliant", "compelling", and "superb." Despite his success in an "A movie," Bogart received a tepid twenty-six week contract at $550 per week and was typecast as a gangster in a series of "B movie" crime dramas. Bogart was proud of his success, but the fact that it came from playing a gangster weighed on him. He once said: "I can't get in a mild discussion without turning it into an argument. There must be something in my tone of voice, or this arrogant face—something that antagonizes everybody. Nobody likes me on sight. I suppose that's why I'm cast as the heavy." Bogart's roles were not only repetitive, but physically demanding and draining (studios were not yet air-conditioned), and his regimented, tightly-scheduled job at Warners was not exactly the "peachy" actor's life he hoped for. However, he was always professional and generally respected by other actors. In those "B movie" years, Bogart started developing his lasting film persona – the wounded, stoical, cynical, charming, vulnerable, self-mocking loner with a core of honor.

Rise to StardomEdit

High SierraEdit

High Sierra, a 1941 movie directed by Raoul Walsh, had a screenplay written by Bogart's friend and drinking partner, John Huston, adapted from the novel by W. R. Burnett (Little Caesar, etc.). Both Paul Muni and George Raft turned down the lead role, giving Bogart the opportunity to play a character of some depth, although legendary director Walsh initially fought the casting of supporting player Bogart as a leading man, much preferring Raft for the part. The film was Bogart's last major film playing a gangster (his final gangster role was in The Big Shot in 1942). Bogart worked well with Ida Lupino, and her relationship with him was a close one, provoking jealousy from Bogart's wife Mayo. The film cemented a strong personal and professional connection between Bogart and Huston. Bogart admired and somewhat envied Huston for his skill as a writer. Though a poor student, Bogart was a lifelong reader. He could quote Plato, Pope, Ralph Waldo Emerson and over a thousand lines of Shakespeare. He subscribed to the Harvard Law Review. He admired writers, and some of his best friends were screenwriters, including Louis Bromfield, Nathaniel Benchley and Nunnally Johnson. Bogart enjoyed intense, provocative conversation and stiff drinks, as did Huston. Both were rebellious and liked to play childish pranks. John Huston was reported to be easily bored during production, and admired Bogart (who also got bored easily off camera) not just for his acting talent but for his intense concentration on the set.

The Maltese FalconEdit

Raft turned down the lead in John Huston's directorial debut The Maltese Falcon (1941), due to its being a cleaned up version of the pre-Production Code The Maltese Falcon (1931), his contract stipulating that he did not have to appear in remakes. The original novel, written by Dashiell Hammett, was first published in the pulp magazine Black Mask in 1929. It was also the basis for another movie version, Satan Met a Lady (1936) starring Bette Davis. Complementing Bogart were co-stars Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook, Jr., and Mary Astor as the treacherous female foil.

CasablancaEdit

Bogart gained his first real romantic lead in 1942's Casablanca, playing Rick Blaine, the hard-pressed expatriate nightclub owner, hiding from the past and negotiating a fine line among Nazis, the French underground, the Vichy prefect and unresolved feelings for his ex-girlfriend. The film was directed by Michael Curtiz, produced by Hal Wallis and featured a strong cast, including Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson. In real life, Bogart played tournament chess, one level below master level and often played with crew members and cast off the set. It was reportedly his idea that Rick Blaine be portrayed as a chess player, which also served as a metaphor for the sparring relationship of the characters played by Bogart and Rains in the movie. However, Paul Henried proved to be the best player. Casablanca won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Picture. Bogart was nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role, but lost out to Paul Lukas for his performance in Watch on the Rhine. Still, for Bogart, it was a huge triumph. The film vaulted him from fourth place to first in the studio's roster, finally exceeding James Cagney, and more than doubling his salary to over $460,000 per year by 1946, making him the highest paid actor in the world.

DeathEdit

Bogart, a heavy smoker and drinker, developed cancer of the esophagus. He almost never spoke of his failing health and refused to see a doctor until January 1956. A diagnosis was made several weeks later and by then removal of his esophagus, two lymph nodes, and a rib on March 1, 1956, was too late to halt the disease, even with chemotherapy. He underwent corrective surgery in November 1956 after the cancer had spread. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy visited him at this time. Frank Sinatra was also a frequent visitor. With time, Bogart grew too weak to walk up and down stairs. He valiantly fought the pain and joked about his immobility: "Put me in the dumbwaiter and I'll ride down to the first floor in style." The dumbwaiter was then altered to accommodate his wheelchair. Bogart had just turned 57 and weighed 80 pounds (36 kg) when he died on January 14, 1957, after falling into a coma. He died at 2:25 am at his home at 232 South Mapleton Drive in Holmby Hills, California. His simple funeral was held at All Saints Episcopal Church with musical selections from Bogart's favorite composers, Johann Sebastian Bach and Claude Debussy. The ceremony was attended by some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, David Niven, Ronald Reagan, James Mason, Danny Kaye, Joan Fontaine, Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck and Gary Cooper, as well as Billy Wilder and Jack Warner. Bacall had asked Tracy to give the eulogy, but Tracy was too upset, so John Huston spoke instead and reminded the gathered mourners that while Bogart's life had ended far too soon, it had been a rich one.

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.