Humphrey Bogart, born on December 25, 1899, was indisputably one of Hollywood’s most renowned actors even decades after his passing. He appeared in minor movie roles for 10 years until he landed his breakthrough role in “High Sierra.” After his exceptional performance in the film noir, Bogart gave justice to his iconic performance in “Casablanca.” Bogart starred alongside some of the legendary actresses of the era including Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, and Lauren Bacall. Even nearly a century after his first film role, avid fans of the classics still adore him. Help us celebrate his life on his birthday!
Humphrey Bogart, born on December 25, 1899, in New York City, was indisputably one of the most famous Hollywood actors ever to have graced the silver screen, and with good reason. Bogart’s father was a prominent surgeon while his mother was a successful artist — young Humphrey indeed grew up in the lap of luxury. Despite his privileged childhood, he did not finish his basic schooling; he instead enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He left the navy after a year of service. He attempted to reenlist but was rejected on account of his “old age.” He chose instead to volunteer for California’s Coast Guard Temporary Reserve.
After leaving the Coast Guard, Bogart took a job at the office of his father’s friend, William Brady, at World Films, Brady’s new production company. There he was named stage manager for Brady’s actress-daughter Alice and took to the stage himself for the first time in Alice’s play “Drifting” in 1921. He appeared in almost 20 Broadway productions between 1922 and 1935. He appeared in his first film titled “Up the River” in 1930. All his roles were secondary/supporting characters until his breakthrough lead role in “High Sierra” (1940). Bogart solidified his spot as a legendary Hollywood actor with his role opposite Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 film “Casablanca” for which he received his first Oscar nomination. The film was given the Oscar for Best Picture.
In 1951, Bogart won his first Oscar for his role as a skipper in “The African Queen” opposite superstar Katharine Hepburn. Three years later, Bogart starred in “The Caine Mutiny,” for which he received his last Oscar nomination. He died of esophageal cancer in 1957. Many Hollywood icons attended his funeral, including Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, and Bette Davis.
The actor assumes his first role in a stage play entitled “Drifting.”
He makes his silver screen debut in the film “Up the River.”
After a decade of acting in films, Bogart receives mass recognition for his performance in “High Sierra.”
The Academy Awards nominate Bogart for his work in the iconic film “Casablanca.”
Bogart receives the Academy Award for his performance in “The African Queen.”
The actor is nominated for an Oscar for the last time in “The Caine Mutiny” before he passes away.
Why We Love Humphrey Bogart
Bogart was a political activist
During the late 1930s, the American government established the House Committee on Un-American Activities (H.C.U.A.) in response to the spread of fascism and communism across Europe. The committee targeted and harassed Hollywood performers. Bogart was a lifelong liberal democrat and opposed the Committee’s unfair discrimination, forming the Committee for the First Amendment in the late 1940s to counter the H.C.U.A.’s inequity.
He inspired cancer awareness
A lifelong smoker, he was afflicted with esophageal cancer, which directly caused his death. The imagery associated with the disease was used by his family’s estate foundation to raise funds for oral cancer awareness and to provide treatment to cancer patients.
He cherished his friends
Bogart did not view his co-stars merely as colleagues but he treated them as family. He valued his friendship with actress Leslie Howard so much that he named his daughter after her.
5 Surprising Facts
He modeled for his mother
Bogart’s mother, who was a commercial illustrator, often used her son as a model.
His birthday was disputed
Bogart was born on Christmas Day but Warner Bros production studio cited it as January 23 because its executives believed a Christmas birthday didn’t jibe with Bogart’s villainous on-screen portrayals.
He was married four times
In chronological order, his wives were Helen Menken, Mary Philips, Mayo Methot, and Lauren Bacall, all of whom were actresses.
He was in the Rat Pack
Bogart was a member of a group of elite performers that included singer Frank Sinatra and actress Judy Garland.
He was injured while in the navy
Although the actual cause of his trademark lisp and scar is disputed, it is known he sustained the injury while he was serving in the navy.
Humphrey Bogart FAQs
Did Humphrey Bogart wear lifts?
The actor did wear shoes with raised soles during the filming of “Casablanca” to appear taller.
Was Humphrey Bogart more popular after he died?
In a sense, because although he was popular in the 1940s and ‘50s, he reached the status of a legend in 1999 when he was named by the American Film Institute “the top male film star of the 20th century.”
What was Humphrey Bogart’s other passion?
He had a passion for sailing which he pursued until his death.
Humphrey Bogart’s birthday dates