Humphrey Bogart

From the time he decided to pursue acting, Humphrey Bogart was committed to the art. In the more than 80 films spanning his career, he was never once late to the set or unprepared for his lines. He held a deep respect for actors who were serious about their performances, and was professional in every aspect of his own career.

“[Bogart] achieved class through his integrity and his devotion to what he thought was right,” said friend Nathaniel Benchley in his biography, “Humphrey Bogart”. “He believed in being direct, simple, and honest, all on his own terms, and this ruffled some people and endeared him to others.”

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born on December 25, 1899. He was the son of a reputable doctor, Belmont DeForest Bogart, and Maude Humphrey, a respected portrait artist. Bogart and his two younger sisters lived comfortably. The family had a permanent residence in a prominent section near New York City, and a seasonal retreat on Canandaigua Lake. It was at their summer home that Dr. Bogart taught his son how to play chess and sail, two activities that Bogart would enjoy for the rest of his life.

In May 1918, after a brief term at the Andover Academy in Massachusetts, Bogart enlisted in the Navy. He was assigned to the Leviathan, his duties at which would result in the famous scar that marked the right corner of his upper lip. Despite numerous rumors, however, the injury was not a result of shrapnel. The following story is probably closest to the truth of what really happened. A Navy prisoner, whom Bogart was escorting, asked for a cigarette. When he reached for a match, the prisoner smashed Bogart across the mouth with his handcuffs and fled. Bogart’s lip was severely torn, but he pursued and apprehended the man, refusing treatment until the prisoner was securely locked up.


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