Humphrey Bogart (Actor)
(Humphrey DeForest Bogart)
b. 23 Jan 1899
d. 14 Jan 1957
US Navy, World War I
This hard-boiled actor, with an admirable anti-hero quality, had plenty of true life experience in the military to bring an authenticity to his performances in movies like Casablanca and The Caine Mutiny.
In the spring of 1918, Bogart left, or was asked to leave, prep school to serve in the U.S. Navy at the end World War I. He served as a signalman aboard the USS Leviathan, a troop transport ship. Much of Bogart’s service in the Navy entailed ferrying soldiers back and forth between Europe and North America after the official end of the hostilities.
While on assignment in the military police, it is rumored that a prisoner struck Bogart in the mouth, and left him with his lip scar and slight lisp which became an enduring trademark of his on-screen persona. The story, not officially confirmed, is recounted here from the book Stars in Blue:
Bogart was ordered to take a U.S. Navy prisoner to Portsmouth Naval Prison, New Hampshire. The two traveled side by side, with the prisoner handcuffed. As they changed trains in Boston, the con asked Bogart for a Lucky Strike, a supply of which Bogie always had and was happy to share. As he dug for matches, suddenly his ungrateful companion smashed him in the mouth with his manacles and jumped up to escape. Bogart, his upper lip badly torn and bleeding, reacted quickly, drawing out his .45 automatic and dropping the prisoner. Initial Navy surgery on the lip was badly botched, and subsequent plastic surgery did not help.
Later in the same year, for reasons unknown, Bogey missed a connection on the USS Santa Olivia (SP-3125) that was sailing for Europe and was subsequently jailed for failing to show for duty. The AWOL sailor turned himself in and served a three-day prison sentence on a ration of bread and water. He was honorably discharged in 1919.
During World War II, Bogart again tried to serve officially in the military but was supposedly turned down due to his age. Instead, he joined up with the USO and toured North Africa and Italy in 1943, including a stop in Casablanca, as well as extensive touring for the war bond effort.
As Bogart was a truly seaman at heart, he enrolled his yacht, Santana, into the US Coast Guard Temporary Reserve Auxiliary where he routinely provided security patrol services off the coast of California for the duration of the war.