The quintessential tough guy, Humphrey Bogart remains one of Hollywood's most enduring legends and one of the most beloved stars of all time. While a major celebrity during his own lifetime, Bogart's appeal has grown almost exponentially in the years following his death, and his inimitable onscreen persona -- hard-bitten, cynical, and enigmatic -- continues to cast a monumental shadow over the motion picture landscape. Sensitive yet masculine, cavalier yet heroic, his ambiguities and contradictions combined to create a larger-than-life image which remains the archetype of the contemporary antihero.
Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born December 25, 1899, in New York City. Upon expulsion from Andover, Massachusetts' Phillips Academy, he joined the U.S. Navy during World War I, serving as a ship's gunner. While roughhousing on the vessel's wooden stairway, he tripped and fell, a splinter becoming lodged in his upper lip; the result was a scar as well as partial paralysis of the lip, resulting in the tight-set mouth and lisp that became among his most distinctive onscreen qualities. (For years his injuries were attributed to wounds suffered in battle, although the splinter story is now more commonly accepted.)