Classic Hollywood: Here’s Looking at You, Bogie
He had quite a posh name for a guy who often played gangsters: Humphrey DeForest Bogart. Born on Christmas Day 1899 to a prominent New York surgeon and his commercial-artist wife, Bogart was a confirmed slacker who was expelled from Phillips Andover Academy. Following a brief stint in the Navy during World War I, he launched his stage career with performances that – as one snarky critic put it – “might mercifully be described as inadequate.” (Bogart proudly carried a clip of that review in his wallet.)
After 20 years of clawing his way up the show biz food chain in 40 “meh” films, Bogart rocketed to definitely-not-overnight stardom in 1941 with High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. From there, he amassed a hit list of movie classics, like Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen, Sabrina, and The Caine Mutiny. Then, just when he had it all – an Academy Award, a happy marriage to Lauren Bacall, two cute kids – Bogart died of esophageal cancer on January 14, 1957. He was 57 years old.
To celebrate this legendary star, here are my favorite quotes by (and about) the man Spencer Tracy nicknamed “Bogie”:
“Here’s looking at you, kid.”
“We’ll always have Paris.”
“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
– Bogie in Casablanca
“I just saw your test. We’ll have a lot of fun together.”
– Bogie to Lauren Bacall prior to filming To Have and Have Not
“In my first thirty-four pictures, I was shot in twelve, electrocuted or hung in eight, and a jailbird in nine.”
“I glanced at Bogie and saw tears streaming down his face. Later, he said that when he heard the beautiful words of the wedding vows and realized what they meant – what they should mean – he cried.”
– Lauren Bacall
“Whenever a fly bit Huston or me, it dropped dead.”
– Bogie on the whiskey “diet” he and John Huston followed while shooting in Africa
“The whole world is three drinks behind.”
“All he has to do to dominate a scene is to enter it.”
– Raymond Chandler
“A star has to accept a certain invasion of privacy. If you get loaded in a bar, you can’t get mad if it’s in the paper.”
“Spence patted him on the shoulder and said, ‘Goodnight, Bogie.’ Bogie turned to Spence very quietly and with a sweet smile, covered Spencer’s hand with his own and said, ‘Goodbye, Spence.’”
– Katharine Hepburn on visiting Bogie with Spencer Tracy, the day before Bogie died
Classic Hollywood posts appear bimonthly on The Music Hall blog.
About Jeannie MacDonald
Jeannie MacDonald is a freelance writer with a lifelong passion for classic movies. She’s written TV, radio, print and digital copy for Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros., as well as humor essays for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.