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Hezekiah Munsell Revolutionary War solider grave stone

Humphrey Bogart
9th cousin 2x removed & 7th cousin, 5x removed (paternal)

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was my paternal 9th cousin, 2x removed through his mother's side of the family.  Our common ancestors were my 10x Great Grandparents, Henry Burt and Eulalia Marche. Henry and Eulalia were Humphrey's 8x Great Grandparents. In a strange twist, Bogey is also my 7th cousin, 5x removed through his father's side of the family. This match is through my 8th great-grandfather, John Stiles and my 8th great-grandmother, Ruth Bancroft.


Humphrey was born on December 25, 1899, in New York City to Belmont DeForest Bogart and Maud Humphrey. Maud was my 8th cousin, 3x removed. I believe there is another family connection, again on my paternal side, but as of this writing, I have not had time to explore that connection.


Humphrey Bogart was and still is, a Hollywood legend. Along with his 3rd wife, another Hollywood legend, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey made a number of classic films, as relevant today as they were when they were first released. Known better as "Bogie and Bacall", this Hollywood power team had a romance that is still talked about today.


Humphrey's father, Belmont, was a cardiopulmonary surgeon. Humphrey's mother, Maud, was a commercial illustrator formally trained in New York and France. Maud would later become art director for the fashion magazine The Delineator. Maud was also a militant suffragette. Maud was the major breadwinner in the family, making as much as $50,000.00 a year at her prime while Belmont made $20,000.00 per year. The Bogart's lived in a fashionable apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City where they raised Humphrey as well as his two sisters, Frances and Catherine Elizabeth. The girls were known as Pat and Kay respectively. Humphrey was schooled at elite private schools with the intention of going to Yale but was expelled in 1918.  Humphrey then enlisted in the U.S. Navy enlisting in the spring of 1918 and spent most of his time ferrying soldiers home from France after the armistice was declared.


When Bogart's time in the navy ended he returned home to find his father in poor health and his medical practice suffering. A large amount of the Bogart family fortune had also been lost in poor investments. While Bogart was in the navy, his character and personal values had developed and he found they differed from those of his family. Humphrey rebelled against his parent's values and, while maintaining his gentlemanly manners, he had grown to dislike pretentious and snobby people.


Bogart didn't start acting until 1921 when he made his stage debut playing a Japanese butler in the play Drifting. Bogart would continue acting in theatre plays until he went to Hollywood and landed his first film role in The Dancing Town which also starred the iconic Helen Hayes. Bogart then appeared in the film Broadway's Like That along with Joan Blondell and Ruth Etting.


Bogart signed on with Fox Films in 1930 and starred in Up The River directed by John Ford and co-starring another Hollywood legend, Spencer Tracy. Bogart and Tracy would become life-long friends, and Tracy is credited with calling Humphrey "Bogie", a nickname for which he is still known today,


By the time Humphrey started appearing in movies, he had been married twice. His first wife was Helen Menken, an actress. They married on May 20, 1926, and were divorced on November 18, 1927.  Humphrey's second wife was another actress, Mary Phillips. They married on April 3, 1928, and divorced in 1937. 


Humphrey then married for a third time to yet another actress, Mayo Methot, on August 21, 1938. This marriage turned into a disaster as Mayo was a paranoid and violent drunk. Bogart was also a heavy drinker, and together the two were known as the battling Bogart's by the press. Methot set their house on fire, threw objects at Bogart and even stabbed him during some of her drunken rages.


Bogart and Methot stayed together despite their destructive relationship until Bogart filed for divorce in February 1948. Bogart had met Lauren Bacall, a beautiful model, and actress while filming the movie To Have and To Have Not in 1944. Bogart was 44 years old and Bacall was 19 when they met. The spark between the two was immediate and although Bogart was still married at the time, the two started a discreet affair. The affair between Bogie and Bacall lasted until Bogart divorced Methot and he and Bacall married in a small ceremony on May 21, 1945.


The marriage between Bogie and Bacall was legendary and still comes to mind today when people talk about Hollywood love affairs. Together Bogie and Bacall were a Hollywood power couple, both silver screen legends and some of the first stars that come to mind when one thinks of timeless movies. The well-known song,  Key Largo by Bertie Higgins (1982) even refers to the couple and their love.


Although most people think of the Rat Pack as being made up of Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Joey Bishop, the original Hollywood Rat Pack was headed by Frank Sinatra and included Humphrey Bogart, Sid Luft and Lauren Bacall. The name is credited as being given to the group by Bacall when she observed the aftermath of a Las Vegas party which had been attended by Sinatra, Judy Garland, Sid Luft, Mike Romanoff, David Niven, Angie Dickinson and many others. When Bacall entered the room and observed the group, she apparently said; "You look like a goddamned rat pack**." The name stuck starting back in 1955.


Bogart and Bacall had two children, their son Stephen Humphrey Bogart born on January 6, 1949, and a daughter, Leslie Howard Bogart born on August 23, 1952.


Bogart was a heavy smoker and drinker, and in January 1956 after finally seeing a doctor about his failing health, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. In March of the same year, he underwent surgery to remove his esophagus, two lymph nodes, and a rib. However, it was too late to stop cancer which by then had spread.  


On the evening of January 13, 1957, Bogart's friends Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn stopped in to visit him and Bacall. It would be the last time that Tracy and Hepburn would see Bogie alive as he died in his bed the next day after slipping into a coma.


Humphrey Bogart had been a Hollywood legend, and his funeral was attended by some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, David Niven, Ronald Reagan, James Mason, Bette Davis, Danny KayeJoan FontaineMarlene DietrichJames CagneyErrol FlynnGregory PeckGary Cooper, Billy Wilder, and Jack Warner were all in attendance.


Bogart appeared in 75 Hollywood movies including some of the most well-known movies such as The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo, The African Queen, The Treasure of Sierra Madre and, of course, Casablanca.


Humphrey Bogart, Hollywood legend, film noir icon, and, I am proud to say, a member of my family.


"Here's looking at you, kid."


*Sperber and Lax 1997, p. 504.

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