Born in New York on Christmas Day 1899, Humphrey Bogart was the son of a New York surgeon and a magazine illustrator. After attending New York’s Trinity School, the young Bogart began studying at Phillips Academy, Andover, with a view to a medical career like his father. However, he was expelled from Phillips and instead joined up with the United States Navy. Here, he suffered partial paralysis during the shelling of the Leviathan.
In the early 1920s William Brady, a family friend, put Bogart in charge of his stage company in New York. After this spell, Humphrey began to attend auditions and get involved in performances himself, but his performances were described as inadequate. It was not until 1930 that Bogart received a contract with Fox for a short, but after two years they let him go. He continued to do minor roles and take bit parts for another five years. In 1936 he got a part in the movie ‘The Petrified Forest’ but only because a fellow Fox actor who was also the star of the movie, Leslie Howard, refused to act without him.
Leslie Howard’s determination to get Bogart into the 1936 movie was the turning point in Humphrey’s career. He was signed up by Warners, and over the next four years appeared in nearly thirty movies. By the mid 1940s Bogart had starred in a string of high profile movies that we now consider true classics, including ‘The Maltese Falcon’, ‘High Sierra’, and perhaps the most famous of all, ‘Casablanca’.
The 1940s also saw Bogart form his own production company.In the early 1950s he received an Academy Award as best actor for his part in ‘The African Queen’. He also received nominations for ‘Casablanca’ and ‘The Caine Mutiny’. On 14 th January 1957, Bogart, who was battling throat cancer, died in his sleep at his home in Hollywood.
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