Friday, March 27, 2009

Guest Blogger Kevin: Bogie & Bacall Trivia

My good friend Kevin recently did a lecture on Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall at a local Adult Education Center. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend this time but I was absolutely sure his lecture would be a hit. And of course it was! Kevin was willing to share with me the trivia and fact sheet he passed out to the lecture attendees. Here it is below. If you'd like to read about Kevin's past lectures, please take this opportunity to look at my posts about his Otto Preminger lecture and his Elian Kazan lecture. Enjoy!

Starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall:

To Have and Have Not (1944)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Dark Passage (1947)
Key Largo (1948)

Other Great Humphrey Bogart Films:

The Petrified Forest (1936)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Casablanca (1942)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
The African Queen (1951)
The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Other Great Lauren Bacall Films:

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Written on the Wind (1956)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
Dogville (2003)

Facts and Trivia about Bogie and Bacall

Lauren Bacall's birth name is Betty Perske. After her father abandoned her and her mother, she took her mother's maiden name, Bacal. An extra "L" was added upon her entrance into Hollywood, and she was given the name "Lauren" by director Howard Hawks.

Humphrey Bogart's full name was Humphrey DeForest Bogart – made up of three family surnames.

Back when she was a self-described gawky teenager, Bacall met her hero, actress Bette Davis, in a hotel room meeting arranged by her uncle, who had connections in show business. Bacall later played Davis's famous Margo Channing character from the movie All About Eve in a stage adaptation re-titled Applause.

Bogart briefly attended Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. He was expelled.

Bacall's rather auspicious debut at age 19 in To Have and Have Not contrasted greatly to Bogart's own career trajectory. Despite a great role in the 1936 film The Petrified Forest as gangster, Duke Mantee, his stardom didn't become cemented until he was in his early forties, when he starred in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca.

During their courtship, Bogie and Bacall liked to call each other "Slim" and "Steve" after their characters' nicknames in To Have and Have Not. "Slim" and "Steve" were also the nicknames of director Howard Hawks and his wife, Nancy.

Bogart was 25 years older than Bacall and had been married three times by the time he met her.

Both Bogie and Bacall were models before they were actors. Bogart's mother was Maud Humphrey, a successful commercial artist. She drew sketches of him when he was an infant which became product advertisements. For this reason, Bogart is referred to as "the Maud Humphrey Baby". Bacall's exotic good looks attracted the attention of famous fashion magazine editor, Diana Vreeland. Bacall's pictorial in Harper's Bazaar summarily led to her discovery by Howard Hawks's wife, Nancy "Slim" Hawks.

Bogart and Bacall named their daughter Leslie, after actor Leslie Howard. Bogart felt forever indebted to Howard for helping him land his breakthrough role as gangster, Duke Mantee, in the 1936 film The Petrified Forest.

Shortly after they got married, Bogart presented Bacall with a mink coat. Bacall promptly threw the coat onto the floor and proceeded to walk on it with her bare feet, reveling that she had always wanted to walk on mink.

Bogart was the founding member of the Fifties "The Rat Pack", a phrase coined by Bacall after he and some friends returned home from a late night in Las Vegas. "You look like a goddamn rat pack", she's reported to have said. The members included friends like Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Nathaniel Benchley, Judy Garland, Sid Luft, Frank Sinatra, and David Niven.

Both liberal Democrats, Bogie and Bacall were strong supporters of Adlai Stevenson, during his Presidential campaigns in 1952 and 1956.

Bogart and Bacall were clearly each other's greatest loves. Bogart practically risked his life in divorcing his then volatile wife, Mayo Methot, to marry Bacall. After Bogart's death, Bacall later married actor Jason Robards. Many people have noted the strong physical resemblance between the two actors.


  1. What interesting trivia! I wish I could have attended the lecture :)

    I'd like to know more about this: Bogart practically risked his life in divorcing his then volatile wife, Mayo Methot, to marry Bacall.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Raquelle! It's always nice to appear in your blog. :-)

    Kate - The marriage between Mayo Methot and Humphrey Bogart was pretty intense, to say the least. She had a very short fuse, was jealous of his female co-stars, and would pick fights with him all the time. This would sometimes lead to physical violence. She would throw ash trays at him, and she even stabbed him in the back with a kitchen knife. Luckily, the wound was very shallow. Divorcing Mayo was not an easy thing to do. :-)

  3. Fun fact sheet. Bogie is one of my favs - I mean what guy wouldn't like Bogart, right?

    Also like the new site layout.

  4. Great summary of Bogart and Bacall! I read Bacall's biography "By Myself" a few years ago, so I recognize everything here. Great! Bacall is one of my female Hollywood icons and goddesses.

  5. This is so neat! The idea of a lecture on classic film stars is so great. It's a terrific way to teach more people about the joys of classic film.

    My mom actually has a print of one of those Maud Humphrey paintings. It's of a mother sitting by her child's bed, helping him say his good night prayers. It's a truly captivating piece. Very well rendered, too.

  6. Great stuff. Bogie and Bacall were definitely one of Hollywood's legendary couples. I think there is no denying that they were meant for each other!


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