Thursday, January 14, 2010

humprey bogart died 53 years ago today

humprey bogart died of cancer on january 14, 1957 - he was just 57 years old, and already a screen legend (appearing in 75 films in a career that spanned almost 30 years). bogart won an academy award for his "charlie allnut" in "the african queen" - as did his co-star, katharine hepburn for her "rose sayer."

there were many sides to the real life bogart. at the height of the anti-communist which hunts in the late 1940's, he organized the "committee for the first amendment" and flew a delegation of fellow actors to washington to protest the house un-american activities committee's treatment of actors and screenwriters. interestingly, he subsequently distanced himself from the infamous "hollywood ten."

bogart was also a lifelong chess player (as was lauren bacall)! he would play chess during the downtime on the sets of his movies. he was also a tournament director and active in the california state chess association. in 19454, the cover of the june-july issue of "chess review" featured bogart playing against charles boyer - as lauren bacall watched!

and then there was the party side of bogart - a founding member of the original "rat pack." frank sinatra would later repopulate the "rat pack" with dean martin, sammy davis jr., etc. and immortalize them in "ocean's eleven" and their las vegas shows. when asked by a reporter what the purpose was (of the original rat pack), lauren bacall said, "to drink a lot of bourbon and stay up late!"

one last thing: there is no greater comedy send-up of bogey as a cultural icon than woody allen's "play it again sam!"

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