Biography of Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)

Humphrey Bogart together with Ingrid Bergman in a scene from Casablanca.

Actor of American film, whose full name was Humphrey DeForest Bogart, born in New York on January 23, 1899 and died in Beverly Hills (California) on January 14, 1957.

Rebellious son of a surgeon, began studying medicine but was expelled from college for lack of discipline. He enlisted in the Navy, which participated in the first world war. After this, began a varied theatrical career, first as a representative, then as an actor on Broadway. He went to Hollywood at the beginning of the 1930s, in search of opportunities that it offered sound movies with good voice actors. From his first roles, Bogart played characters with criminal connections (Rio Arriba, 1930), a sort of premonition of what would be his future career.

He signed a contract with the omnipresent Warner Bros., that simultaneous his films with plays on Broadway; but he abandoned the tables when, in 1936, interpreted the forest petrified, Archie may, based on the successful play by Robert Sherwood. Bogart gave life to a gangster escaped from prison, Duke Mantee, role that gave a great popularity and Warner, to be sure, offered him a contract of $550 per week, which made him the actor not star better paid in the film industry.

His career began to be prolific; in just a few years appeared in 28 productions Warner, almost all of them focusing on the world of the underworld. On certain occasions he was wrong in choosing roles, as it was the case of the soso Prosecutor of the district in the marked woman, a strange foreman in bitter victory, or a hardly imaginable zombie I Return of Dr. x; but his standing rose with memorable secondary interpretations within thrillers or gangster.

In 1937, William Wyler chose you to incorporate the Baby Face Martin's cul-de-sac, a typical sign of social cinema made by Hollywood in the 1930s, in which the characters are good or bad, do not have term average. The quintessence of this type of film were two memorable masterpieces of the genre. Angels with dirty faces (1938), by Michael Curtiz, and the roaring twenties (1939), Raoul Walsh, where Bogart was an opponent to the height of the opponent, James Cagney. The first was one of the Dead End boys; in the second, a veteran of war developed, unable to get work honestly, a gangster without scruples, who ends up betraying his friend and companion of trenches (Cagney).

He also shared role with George Raft in blind passion (1940), an actor who was instrumental in the career of Humphrey Bogart, as in the following two years rejected a series of papers that went finally to "Bogie". Three films definitely launched Bogart to stardom. He was a master Roy "Mad Dog" Earle in the last refuge (1941), an anachronistic anti-hero, a gangster who is neither a paranoid, nor bloodthirsty, but an aged man, whose existence on the fringes of the law seems to have reached a limit, and that used and disappointed, no longer believe in anything. Crook youth have replaced old practitioners of other times and Roy continually reminds, nostalgic, bygone days. Bogart, directed by Raoul Walsh, became a great actor, lost some of their previous roles of gangsters tics and won an unusual sensitivity, especially in the wonderful scenes that placed him beside the actress Ida Lupino.

John Huston, debutant then, after obtaining the refusal of Raft called Bogart for his legendary the Maltese Falcon (1941), and became Sam Spade, the hero of the novels of Dashiell Hammett. In Casablanca (1942) by Michael Curtiz, was again a man with a past, in love, the pattern of the Rick's American Cafe, the most charming cynic of the history of the cinema, the soul of a mythical film par excellence, with some of the most beautiful moments in the history of cinema.

Before Casablanca, Bogart was already a rated actor; He signed a contract for seven years at a rate of $2,750 per week. He took part in some clear end of propaganda films that is war-time, and the whole world could admire "Bogie" in two great movies: passage to Marseilles, by Michael Curtiz, and have and have not, Howardhawks. The film of Curtiz has, like its Casablanca, novelisticos and political purposes. It can be found in it, the idealism of the films from the Warner Bros. at that time, an undeniable scent of adventure and typical Hollywood production perfection.

You have and have not, Bogart, in addition to embroider his collaborationist American with the free France, met what would be his fourth and final wife: Lauren Bacall. In fact, love scenes between "Bogie" and the Bacall cast a shadow over many times those of action, which in some cases are almost the same. Mythical is the scene in which Bacall says her future husband: "If you need me, whistle. You know how he whistled, do not Harry? Just the lips together and blow."

Bogart and Bacall romance off-screen had its continuation within this. They were gathered casually three times more clever producers--and always successfully--in the big sleep (1946), of Howard Hawks, dark trail (1947), Delmer Daves, and Cayo largo (1948), John Huston. With this latter already had rolled the magistral the treasure of Sierra Madre (1947), in which Bogart is one of those men, young or old, who arrived at the edge of poverty, which is abalanzaran on the gold as toward an obsession and they will be suspicious and hateful. The face of Bogart, as the rest of the cast (Walter Huston, Tim Holt...), it is a face furrowed by wrinkles, tiredness, and the images created by Huston, a dry, tragic realism, a masterpiece.

The years following the end of the war saw a transformation of the image of Bogart. So, it was time to be Phillip Marlowe in Chandler in the eternal dream of Hawks; a dark anti-hero in Alley no output (1947), John Cromwell; or in a lonely place (1950), by Nicholas Ray, film produced by his company Santana, which, for many, was their best performance.

In 1947, he signed a spectacular contract with the Warner Bros., whereby not only saw $200,000 a year, but it gave him the ability to select roles, directors and scripts he wanted for his films. So, with his friend John Huston filmed, in the Belgian Congo, the African Queen, which got the Oscar. The African Queen is a happy combination of African adventure and romantic comedy that, although full of action, it is almost theatrical: two absolute protagonists (Katherine Hepburn is the companion of "Bogie") face each other in a unique and intelligent duel looks and dialogues.

In 1954 he overturned his career when he accepted to be Linus Larrabee in Sabrina, Billy Wilder, where abandoned his shady past and uncertain future characters to be a serious promoter of plastic, who falls head over heels for a lovely Audrey Hepburn. That same year he was the only man at the height of the bare feet of María Vargas, played by Ava Gardner, in the Countess barefoot, by Joseph l. Mankiewicz. In 1956, Bogart gave its last performance, his last hieratic cynic, its last session in harder will be the fall, best film of Mark Robson, and a masterpiece of the genre.

Humphrey Bogart died of cancer of the esophagus. It was a brief but painful disease that prevented him from eating normally. He had lost many kilos, as well as its cynical, mischievous smile.

More than an actor, Bogart was a myth. His image has transcended its characters and, although he was an extraordinary actor, all these had something of his personality, of his character. Bogart was able to create a rich and complex picture, an authentic visual and cultural icon: sad expression, serious countenance, eternal cigarette in the corner of the mouth, all need a cynic to be able to look like it.

Shortly before the city of New York, where was born, were met fifty years of his death, made him a tribute, called by acclamation popular, very special: put your name to a square in the city where the streets have no name. Thus, the confluence of the streets 245W and 103, between Broadway and West End Avenue, was renamed Bogart Place. The street was opened on March 25, 2006.


1930: The Conqueror; Arriba.1931 River: Bad sister; Body and soul; The bold; Go women!.1932: Big city blues; Modern youth; Three lives of mujer.1934: Midnight.1936: bullets or votes; China clipper; Isle of fury; The petrified forest; Two against the world.1937: Black legion; Dead end; I have great O'Malley; Kid Galahad; The marked woman; San Quentin; Always Eva.1938: Angels with dirty faces; I have amazing doctor Clitterhouse; School crime; Men are such fools; Racket busters; Swing your lady.1939: bitter victory; The roaring twenties; Invisible stripes; King of the underworld; I have Oklahoma kid; I return of Dr. X; You can't get away with murder.1940: passion blind; Gold, love and blood; Brother orchid; It all came true.1941: the last refuge; The Maltese Falcon; I have wagons roll at night.1942: Casablanca; Through the night; Across the pacific; I have big shot; In this our life.1943: action in the North Atlantic; Sahara; Thank your lucky stars.1944: passage to Marseille; Have and not tener.1945: return to the abismo.1946: the eternal dream; Two guys from Milwaukee.1947: dark path; Dead end; The two ladies Carroll.1948: the treasure of Sierra Madre; Long Cay Always together.1949: knock on any door; Secuestro.1950: A call in space; In a solitario.1951 place: the African Queen; Without conscience; Siroco.1952: The fourth estate; Road to Bali (cameo). 1953: Battle circus; The amor.1954 lottery: barefoot Countess; Sabrina; The deception of the devil; The mutiny of the Caine.1955: desperate hours; The left hand of God; We are not angeles.1956: harder they fall.

Productions with sequences of his films or recordings of time:

1988: Going Hollywood: I war years.1989: Entertaining the troops.


HYAMS, Joe. Humphrey Bogart. (Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1970).

SAILOR, Manuel. Humphrey Bogart. (Madrid: Ediciones JC, 1980).

PEREZ BASTÍAS, Luis. Humphrey Bogart. The rebel without a truce. (Barcelona: Royal Books, 1995).

SKLAR, Robert: City boys: Cagney, Bogart, Garfield. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).

PASSEK, Jean-Luc, et al., dictionary of cinema, Librairie Larousse, 1986. Spanish version: URABAYEN CASCANTE, Miguel, et al., Madrid, Ediciones Rialp, S.A., 1991

LÓPEZ, José Luis, dictionary of actors, Madrid, Ediciones JC, 1983.

J. C. Paredes