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American stage and screen actor Humphrey Bogart was one of Hollywood's, most durable stars, a performer with singular skill, subtlety, and individuality. By the time of his death, "Bogey" was a movie icon who had created many classic films including "Casablanca," "The African Queen," and "The Maltese Falcon."
Before he became a movie idol, Humphrey Bogart served in the US Navy and was wounded in World War I. It was rumored that Bogart also tried to enlist in WWII but was turned down because of his age.
Humphrey Deforest Bogart was born on January 23, 1899, in New York. He attended Trinity School in New York and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He performed poorly in school and was even expelled; and back then, Bogart was not particularly interested in drama.
Bogart left school to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War I (1914-18). While on assignment in the military police, a prisoner struck Bogart in the mouth, and left him with his famous scar and a slight lisp which gave a more sinister quality to his already gravelly voice.
Back home after military service, Bogart landed a job in theatre - as an office assistant. Eventually, Humphrey became a stage manager and then began acting, which was not always easy for him; once he became so nervous that he ran offstage in the middle of a performance.
Bogart's most important stage appearances were in Maxwell Anderson's (1888-1959) comedy Saturday's Children (1928) and Robert E. Sherwood's (1896-1955) gangster morality play, The Petrified Forest (1936).The Petrified Forest led to his typecasting as a tough guy. He played mobsters in the movies Dead End (1937), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), and The Roaring Twenties (1940).
In The Maltese Falcon (1941), Bogart revealed his larger than life screen personality. His co-starring role with Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982) as Rick Blaine in Michael Curtiz's (1888-1962) war drama Casablanca (1942) built his legend and led to his first Academy Award nomination.
Bogart next starred in To Have and Have Not (1944), a screen version of Ernest Hemingway's (1899-1961) novel of the Great Depression. Although Bogart also appeared in several poor movies, most of his films were top Hollywood hits. His best motion pictures of the 1940s include Sahara (1943); The Big Sleep (1946), and Key Largo (1948). The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948) may be one of the greatest films ever released, with Bogart's portrayal of a madman.
In the adventure-comedy The African Queen (1951), Bogart won an Academy Award for his humorously expressive depiction of a gin-guzzling boat captain.
In The Barefoot Contessa (1953) Bogart portrayed a shattered, alcoholic film director. In Beat the Devil (1954), he portrayed a disreputable adventurer. The Caine Mutiny (1954) saw Bogart as the unstable Captain Queeg. In his last film, the boxing drama The Harder They Fall (1956), Bogart played the role of an investigator of sports corruption.
On January 14, 1957, after a long struggle with throat cancer, Bogart died in Hollywood. At his funeral, director John Huston, Bogart's longtime friend, said of him: "He is quite irreplaceable. There will never be anybody like him."