Humphrey Bogart, with his tough guy characters and cynicism, was one cool movie star. He was the wisecracker, the guy down on his luck, and the gangster. A collection of incredible films and his impressive talent as an actor led him to become the greatest male film star, according to the American Film Institute and Entertainment Weekly’s pick for the number one movie legend of all time.
Bogart was born on Christmas day in 1899 in New York City to Belmont Deforest Bogart and Maud Humphrey. The oldest of three children, he was educated in private schools, including the Trinity School in New York and the Philips Academy in Massachusetts. In 1918 he joined the U.S. Navy and was said to be a model sailor, where he most likely got his trademark scar and characteristic lisp.
He began acting in 1921, becoming a regular in Broadway productions in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Around the time of the stock market crash of 1929, he began working in film. His first successful movie was The Petrified Forest, playing Duke Mantee, a part he was praised for playing on stage. Though he received more praise for the role, he was consistently cast as a gangster in B-movies.
The early 1940s saw his most enduring performances. In 1941 he starred, as a criminal, in High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon, then in 1942 Bogart made one of the greatest films of all time: Casablanca. This film about a jaded gin joint man in Casablanca cemented his screen reputation as a cynic with a noble side that comes out when it’s needed. Other movies in Bogart’s impressive repertoire include To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Key Largo, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen, for which he won an Oscar, and The Caine Mutiny. In total, he starred in 75 films.