Humphrey DeForest Bogart
Here's looking at you, kid.
Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
We'll always have Paris.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine. The stuff that dreams are made of. "I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis."
was born in 1899 to Belmont DeForest Bogart, a New York society doctor of Knickerbocker descent, and his wife, society illustrator Maud Humphrey. After being kicked out of Andover Academy (one of the most prestigious schools in New England), Humphrey did a stint in the Navy as a military policeman near the end of World War One, gaining his trademark scar (and lisp) from a sailor's fist note
. He drifted into acting in the early 1920s and became a regular in Broadway productions, often playing society fops. The 1929 stock market crash forced many Broadway theatres to close, but the real impetus behind Bogart's move to Hollywood and movies was the crash's effect on his family's finances; his father had been bankrupted, leaving Bogart's mother and disabled sister almost destitute and Bogart himself without a safety net. After some years of toiling in obscurity, his first great success was as the ferocious Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest
, which led to a period of typecasting as a gangster in B-movies. His breakthrough came in 1941 with High Sierra
and The Maltese Falcon
. The next year, his performance as Rick Blaine in Casablanca
raised him to the peak of his profession and at the same time, cemented his trademark film persona, that of the hard-boiled cynic who ultimately shows his noble side. Other successes followed, including To Have And Have Not
, The Big Sleep
, Dark Passage
, and Key Largo
, with his wife Lauren Bacall
(whom he married on friend Peter Lorre
's advice); The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
; The African Queen
, opposite Katharine Hepburn
, for which he won his only Academy Award; Sabrina
, and The Caine Mutiny
. During a film career of almost thirty years, he appeared in 75 feature films.
He was, and remains, awesome.
Despite being, arguably, not mainstream Hollywood and showing disdain for the general 'Movie star attitude' (he hated phonies), Bogart, in his capacity as a leading man and even a bit before that, got to work with many of the major female stars of the period, including Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis
, Ingrid Bergman
, Ava Gardner
, Audrey Hepburn
etc. He was also pretty connected to many of the major male stars through the Rat Pack and his funeral was a veritable "Who's who" of Hollywood.
At the time of his death from cancer in 1957, Bogart was one of the most respected figures in American cinema. Since his death, his persona and film performances have been considered as having a lasting impact and have led to him being described as a cultural icon. In 1997, Entertainment Weekly magazine named him the number one movie legend of all time. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the Greatest Male Star of All Time. He made one movie
with AFI's number one on their female list, Katharine Hepburn
The term "Bogart," used to mean "hoard" (as in, "stop Bogarting that joint, give it to me") comes from how Bogart's characters would often be seen holding lit cigarettes, but would rarely actually take a puff.
He also makes appearances in several Looney Tunes
shorts, including one where Elmer Fudd hits him in the face with a coconut custard pie with whipped cream.
Partial filmography (in chronological order):
Tropes relating to Bogart and his work include:
- Academy Award: Won for The African Queen. Nominated for The Caine Mutiny, but lost to Marlon Brando for On the Waterfront. Ironically he beat out Brando for A Streetcar Named Desire.
- The Alcoholic
- When Bogart was in front of a judge on a trumped-up personal assault charge for a 4 AM restaurant altercation, the judge asked him if he was drunk. He said, "At 4 in the morning, isn't everyone?"
- He and director John Huston were the only two people working on The African Queen who didn't succumb to a bout of dysentery. It's because they didn't drink much besides whiskey.
- Despite this, Huston was always quick to point out that Bogart wasn't an alcoholic, at least in the sense that most people understand the term.
- Anti-Hero: Great part of his roles.
- Badass: The 40's embleme.
- Badass Longcoat: Frequently. Can make a strong claim to being the Trope Codifier.
- Dead Artists Are Better: Almost universally regarded, now, as the greatest actor who ever lived. He was a big star during his lifetime, but at the time he wasn't any bigger than Gable, Robinson, etc.
- In fact before High Sierra the producers at Warner Bros didn't think he could even play a leading man. So Bogart found himself constantly having to work hard for fame and recognition and to get the roles he really wanted, whereas guys like Gable and Robinson, and a few more that you probably never heard of, simply got fame handed to them with one good picture.
- Deadpan Snarker: HIS SPECIALTY. In addition, his wife Lauren Bacall was easily one as well. Seeing the two have a conversation onscreen is like watching a pair of snakes fight with their tongues.
- Fedora Of Ass Kicking
- Film Noir: Does it star Humphrey Bogart? Then yes, it is film noir.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Underneath all that cynicism beats the heart of a knight. Most of the time.
- According to his wife he was a little bit like this in real life as well. Bogie referred to himself as a last century man (being born Christmas 1899) and was typically quite a gentleman, espousing some long forgotten Victorian ideals.
- Matzo Fever: Had it for Lauren Bacall, whom he married.
- May-December Romance: His marriage to Lauren Bacall.
- Mr. Fanservice: Unintentionally actually: he was not conventionally handsome but he had strong sex appeal (strong force of personality). Funnily enough, when he first tried to break into Hollywood, one studio executive told him to 'Go back to Broadway and stay there' because he felt that Bogart didn't have the face to be in movies.
- Nice Hat: Admit it, his fedora is awesome.
- They named that type of fedora The Bogart Fedora, because he popularized it.
- Private Detective: Trope Codifier with his playing the quintessential PI in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, which were movie versions of two of the best hardboiled crime novels.
- Rat Pack: He invented it. Not Sinatra.
- Lauren Bacall is the link, having named the group (she found Bogart and friends after an all-night bender and said they looked "like a god-damned rat pack") and dated Sinatra after Bogart's death. Ironically, Bogart told Sinatra's ex-wife Ava Gardner that most women would kill to be with a guy like Frank when they were making The Barefoot Contessa.
- Scully Box: At 5'8", he was average height (for the time), but while filming Casablanca he had to stand on blocks to kiss 5'9" Ingrid Bergman. He wasn't the only one, Charles Boyer also had to stand on a box for Gaslight
- Smoking Is Cool: Hoo, boy. Rather unironically what killed him note
- Sympathetic Adulterer: His third wife Mayo Methot was an alcoholic and violently so, once stabbing him with a glass bottle. In addition she was often afraid that he was having affairs with his co-stars (particularly Ida Lupino and Ingrid Bergman), which ironically he never did until he met Lauren Bacall. Once he divorced Methot she succumbed to alcoholism and depression until she finally died in 1951. When Bogart heard the news, his only response was 'Such a waste'.
- Those Two Actors: Him and Lauren Bacall.
- Also him and Bette Davis (they made at least four films together before he was really famous), him and Edward G Robinson, and a combination of him, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre (either one of them or both).
- Type Casting: His first experience with typecasting was in the theatre, where he was typecast as (we kid you not) the archetypical effeminate, snotty Rich Idiot with No Day Job. His success years later in The Petrified Forest led him to be re-typecast as a thug. Then, when he'd finally ducked that with performances in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, the studios stereotyped him again, this time as a tough, wisecracking Jerk with a Heart of Gold. To Have and Have Not is great, but Tokyo Joe and Sirocco are among his weaker movies; Bogie does what he can, but there was more to Casablanca than Rick, which the studios forgot. His charisma makes the films pretty watchable nonetheless.
- White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: Despite his streetwise demeanor, the Episcopalian-reared Bogart was raised in patrician surroundings (e.g., attended the elite Phillips Andover Academy, grew up on the Upper West Side, father was a prominent medical doctor, etc) He was nevertheless quite a rebel, getting expelled from school and spending most of his time in the 20s (and his 20s) getting drunk in speakeasies and getting into fights. Not your typical WASP.
- Yandere: His third wife, Mayo Methot.