Biography of Movie Star Humphrey Bogart Part 1

About the movie star Humphrey Bogart, biography and history of the actor.


HUMPHREY BOGART (1899--1957)

Few film stars have achieved the long-standing fame of Humphrey Bogart. The stiff-lipped delivery that eventually became his trademark was the result of a damaged nerve, which he had sustained as a boy of 10 when his angry father punched him in the mouth. For two decades he remained one of Hollywood's top box-office attractions, appearing in more than 60 films and earning upwards of $200,000 per movie.

Best known as "Bogie," he was born Humphrey DeForest Bogart, the son of socially prominent parents. His father, Dr. Belmont DeForest Bogart, conducted a successful medical practice from an office in the family's Manhattan brownstone but spent a lifetime hiding his morphine addiction from his three children and his clients. Bogart's emergence into the public limelight occurred in 1900 when his mother, the well-known illustrator Maude Humphrey Bogart, painted a picture of her one-year-old son playing in his carriage and submitted it to an advertising agency. It was purchased by Mellins Baby Food for use in their ads and on their labels, and soon the "Original Maude Humphrey Baby" became the most popular baby picture of the day.

The Bogarts planned their son's education carefully, hoping that Humphrey would follow in his father's medical footsteps. After attending Trinity School in New York, Bogart was enrolled at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., but his stint at the school was short. During his first year he was expelled for being irreverent to a faculty member.

Naive, 18, with no direction to his life, Bogart decided to join the navy. Following his honorable discharge in 1920, he worked for a year as a runner at a Wall Street investment house and as an office boy for World Films before landing a job as stage manager for an acting group. While with the troupe Bogart had an opportunity to test his skills as director, writer, and stage actor. He failed miserably at the first two, and his initial success at the third was less than spectacular. The 5-ft. 10-in. Bogart appeared in a string of forgettable stage productions, primarily playing juvenile roles in comedies. In 1935 he played the part of the gangster Duke Mantee in the Broadway production of The Petrified Forest, and when the play was made into a movie in 1936, Bogart landed the same role. It was the turning point in his career.

Between 1936 and 1940 Bogart appeared in close to 30 films, carving out a popular public image. Yet, despite his screen image as a snarling, slow-thinking, violent criminal, in private life Bogie maintained the persona of an honest, intelligent, witty iconoclast. In 1947 his fellow actors rallied behind him and converged on Washington to protest the scurrilous investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was looking into the purported spread of communism within the film community.

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