Lauren Bacall On How Humphrey Bogart’s Disease Took A Toll On Both Of Them

Lauren Bacall was famous for her impact on the movie industry and outstanding beauty. To top it all, she added to her iconic personality when she married one of Hollywood’s most prominent actors, Humphrey Bogart.

The couple had a beautiful relationship which Bacall described as “the headiest romance imaginable” in her memoir. Sadly, their beautiful union didn’t last long as Humphrey was diagnosed with an illness that ate him up slowly.


Bacall passed away at 89, but before her death, the actress published her autobiography “By Myself,” where she reflected on her time with the late actor. Humphrey had been married three times before tying the knot with Bacall.

It took several years of being acquainted and co-starring in movies before the two icons got romantically involved. The memoir also explores Humphrey’s personality, which the actress described as “shy and gentle.”

Recalling how the “Sabrina” actor’s health issues began, Bacall stated that his first medical checkup revealed that Humphrey had an inflamed esophagus. A new test showed that the late actor had irregular, malignant cells in his throat tissue in the weeks that followed.

His situation turned out critical, and he needed surgery to survive. But, the experience wasn’t a blissful one for the “To Have and Have Not” co-stars. Bacall remembered that Humphrey’s surgery took hours to complete.

According to the actress’s statement, the surgeons intended to take out Humphrey’s esophagus and move his stomach in a way that it would be attached to a different tab. Bacall noted that her husband was left with so many tubes attached to his body after the operation.

With time the iconic actor’s body gradually deteriorated, giving him a different appearance. Humphrey didn’t survive the heart-wrenching illness and died at 58 on January 15, 1957. She also acknowledged friends who stood by them during the trying time.

After Humphrey’s tragic passing, Bacall remained strong and moved to New York, where she resumed her career in the theatre. She later married Jason Robards, but the relationship was eventually dissolved.

Through all her struggles, the “The Big Sleep” actress kept her career running. She began acting after Howard Hawks saw her on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. She has starred in over fifty movies and earned her different awards.


Born December 25, 1899, Humphrey grew up in New York. He came from a wealthy, prominent family who were New York’s first Dutch colonial residents. His father, Belmont DeForest Bogart, was a famous heart surgeon.

His mom Maud Humphrey, was the artistic director of The Delineator, a woman’s fashion magazine. Humphrey himself grew up to become an accomplished actor. He began acting in the 1920s.

Before he took a career in the movie industry, Humphrey was in the US Navy. He was a student at the reputable Trinity School in New York City, but his grades were not so flattering. In 1917 his parents sent him to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

But he also couldn’t meet up with the standards and got expelled a year after his admission. After this event, he enrolled in the United States Navy, where he went to war. Humphrey once noted that he wasn’t scared of death as a 17-year-old in the Navy.

The late actor was gallantly dispensed from service in 1919. He was left with nothing to do until he met Alice Brady, the actress who helped him with a job as the company manager of a touring production of “The Ruined Lady.”

Humphrey’s acting career began after Brady’s help. He made his first stage appearance in the 1921 play “Drifting,” where he acted as a Japanese waiter. His interest in acting grew after his first role, and in 1934, he starred in Robert Sherwood’s “The Petrified Forest.”

After his criminal character on “The Petrified Forest,” the icon got more starring roles in movies including “The Great O’Malley” in 1937, “Dead End” in 1937, 1938’s “Crime School,” and “King of the Underworld” in 1939.


Years after Humphrey’s death, his son revealed what having celebrity parents felt like in an interview. During Bogart and Bacall’s short-term romance, they welcomed two kids together, Stephen Humphrey Bogart and daughter Leslie Howard Bogart.

Although some of Stephen’s memories about his dad had faded with time, he still remembered seeing thousands of unfamiliar faces at the late actor’s funeral ceremony. The younger Humphrey is the co-manager of the Humphrey Bogart Estate.

After the organization collaborated with ROK Drinks to launch Bogart’s Spirits which was inspired by the late actor’s love for cocktails, Stephen revealed some of his father’s favorite drinks while being interviewed. Steve noted:

“Some of his favorite cocktails were martinis, which were made with gin in those days, gin and tonics, Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.”

Stephen went on to talk about his experiences with his father. He remembered not seeing his dad often as a child due to his demanding career. Nonetheless, he recalled going on different boat trips with his father and how proud the actor was when he eventually learned how to swim.

He also talked about his parents’ bond when they were off set and at home. According to Stephen’s statement, his dad loved having dinner with Bacall when he was home, and their love was crystal clear.


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