Humphrey DeForest Bogart (1899-1957) was born in New York, and his onscreen persona reflected the worldweary sardonic spirit of the city. Humphrey DeForest Bogart, or Bogie, as he was known, had an elite background. He was born on December 25, 1899, the son of Manhattan physician Belmont DeForest Bogart and prominent magazine illustrator Maud Humphrey Bogart. After being expelled from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, he served in the United States Navy in World War I, and in 1921 he became a Broadway stage actor. By 1930, he had become a Fox Studio contract actor and appeared in John Ford's Up the River (1930), Raoul Walsh's Women of All Nations (1931), and Mervyn Le Roy's Big City Blues (1932). After playing the ruthless killer Duke Mantee in Robert Sherwood's drama The Petrified Forest on Broadway, he reprised the role in the 1936 Warner Brothers movie version of the play.
Thereafter, the gentlemanly Bogart played a series of bigcity hoodlums in movies such as Raoul Walsh's The Roaring Twenties (1939), in which he played opposite cinema tough guy James Cagney. Bogart embodied the caustic and cynical hero adhering to his own strict code in many roles at Warner Brothers studio, including his roles in The Great O'Malley (1937), San Quentin (1937), Kid Galahad (1937), Angels With Dirty Faces (1939), and They Drive by Night (1940).
Bogart may be remembered best as the streetwise San Francisco private eye Sam Spade in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (1941). His weatherbeaten face, withering snarl, and trademark lisp, from an injury to his lip in the Navy, added to his unconventional screen image. Comedians often exaggerated these traits, making Bogie one of the most impersonated movie stars. In Casablanca (1942), Bogie's acting reached a new level when he played a bitter romantic from New York City whose antiNazi heroism awakens a sleeping isolationist America to the threatening war. This role as Rick Blaine made Bogart an international movie star who dominated the golden years of Hollywood with his stoical persona and reputation as a consummate actor.
In 1941, Bogart met Howard Hawks and Lauren Bacall, and together the three of them made two masterpieces, To Have and Have Not (1944) and The Big Sleep (1946). In 1945, Bogart married Bacall. With John Huston, Bacall and Bogart starred in Key Largo (1948). Bogie played a war veteran confronted by Chicago gangsters during a Florida hurricane. He tackled more complex roles as paranoid, suspicious antiheroes in John Huston's The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948) and Edward Dmytryk's The Caine Mutiny (1954). He won an Oscar for his leading role in John Huston's offbeat The African Queen (1951). Already ill with cancer, Bogie turned to comedy with mixed results in Huston's Beat the Devil (1954) and Billy Wilder's Sabrina (1954) and We're No Angels (1955). In his last feature film, The Harder They Fall (1956), Bogart played a hardboiled press agent with a tender heart, a role he filled effortlessly and often.
Known to the FBI since the 1930s for his liberal political views, Bogart, along with Bacall, protested the antiCommunist witch hunts of the House Unamerican Activities Committee in 1947, but unlike many Hollywood figures, his career was unaffected. Bogart's tempestuous life off screen, his three marriages, and his disputes with studio executives were zealously concealed from the media. After appearing in more than 70 movies, Bogart died in Los Angeles on January 14, 1957, the most popular American actor of the century. Harvard University students soon thereafter created the Bogie cult at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a small art house theater where devoted fans and film buffs could go each winter to see Casablanca and many other Bogart movies. Bogart's blunt, manly, and witty manner appealed to the coffeehouse existentialists and counterculture youths. In the 1960s, Bogie's habit of dangling a Chesterfield cigarette from his lips spawned the marijuana smokers' phrase “Don't bogart that joint.” Bogart, one of Hollywood's legendary figures and a popular culture icon today, received first place on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest screen actors.
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