“Like” 17th and Newport Antiques on Facebook – New Downton Abbey Section Added

22 Feb

Hello there! 

As you may know, we have just added a new section called “Downton Abbey” which features items that could be found in Highclere Castle! Please be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

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Follow 17th and Newport on Twitter

21 Feb

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Where you will find one of a kind items from a time gone by! New section titled Downton Abbey just opened today!

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Downton Abbey Serving Platter

21 Feb

Downton Abbey Serving Platter

Beautiful Knowles China platter like in Downton Abbey. 17th and Newport has opened a new section in honor of all things Downton. Now you can own a piece of the era by furnishing your home with items that the Crawleys surely would have in theirs! Have fun shopping!

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The Andrews Sisters

5 Feb

31andrews-trio-articleLarge

The Andrews Sisters were a American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano Maxine Angelyn “Maxene” (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and mezzo-soprano Patricia Marie “Patty” (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). Throughout their long career, the sisters sold well over 75 million records (the last official count released by MCA Records in the mid-1970s). Their 1941 hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” can be considered an early example of rhythm and blues] or jump blues.

The Andrews Sisters’ harmonies and songs are still influential today, and have been covered by entertainers such as Bette Midler, The Puppini Sisters, Christina Aguilera, and The Three Belles. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Writing for Bloomberg, Mark Schoifet said the sisters became the most popular female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century.

Early life

The Andrews Sisters were born in Mound, Minnesota, to Greek immigrant father, Peter Andreus (1884–1949), and Norwegian American mother, Olga “Ollie” (née Sollie) Andrews (1886–1948).

Patty, the youngest and the lead singer of the group, was only seven when the group was formed, and just 12 when they won first prize at a talent contest at the local Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, where LaVerne played piano accompaniment for the silent film showings in exchange for free dancing lessons for herself and her sisters. Following the collapse of their father’s Minneapolis restaurant, the sisters went on the road to support the family. Once the sisters found fame and settled in California, their parents lived with them in a Brentwood estate in Los Angeles until their deaths.

Career

They started their career as imitators of an earlier successful singing group, the Boswell Sisters. After singing with various dance bands and touring in vaudeville with the likes of Ted Mack, Leon Belasco, and comic bandleader Larry Rich, they first came to national attention with their recordings and radio broadcasts in 1937, most notably via their major Decca record hit, Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (translation: “To Me, You Are Beautiful”), originally a Yiddish tune, the lyrics of which Sammy Cahn had translated to English and which the girls harmonized to perfection. They followed this success with a string of best-selling records over the next two years and they became a household name by the 1940s.

World War II

During World War II they entertained the Allied forces extensively in America, Africa and Italy, visiting Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard bases, war zones, hospitals, and munitions factories.[9] They encouraged U.S. citizens to purchase war bonds with their rendition of Irving Berlin‘s song Any Bonds Today?. They also helped actress, Bette Davis, and actor, John Garfield, found California‘s famous Hollywood Canteen, a welcome retreat for servicemen where the trio often performed, volunteering their personal time to sing and dance for the soldiers, sailors and marines (they did the same at New York City‘s Stage Door Canteen during the war). While touring, they often treated three random servicemen to dinner when they were dining out. They recorded a series of Victory Discs (V-Discs) for distribution to Allied fighting forces only, again volunteering their time for studio sessions for the Music Branch, Special Service Division of the Army Service Forces, and they were dubbed the “Sweethearts of the Armed Forces Radio Service” for their many appearances on shows like “Command Performance”, “Mail Call”, and “G.I. Journal.”

Career interruption

The Andrews Sisters broke up in 1951 when Patty joined another group, with her husband acting as her agent. Patty traces the breakup to the deaths of their parents: “We had been together nearly all our lives,” Patty explained in 1971. “Then in one year our dream world ended. Our mother died (in 1948) and then our father (in 1949). All three of us were upset, and we were at each other’s throats all the time.”

When Maxene and LaVerne learned of Patty’s decision from newspaper gossip columns rather than from their own sister, it caused a bitter two-year separation, especially when Patty decided to worsen matters by suing LaVerne for a larger share of their parents’ estate. Maxene and LaVerne tried to continue the act as a duo and met with good press during a 10-day tour of Australia, but a reported suicide attempt by Maxene in December 1954 put a halt to any further tours (Maxene spent a short time in the hospital after swallowing 18 sleeping pills, an occurrence that LaVerne told reporters was an accident). The sisters’ private relationship was often troubled and Patty blamed it on Maxene: “Ever since I was born, Maxene has been a problem,” she said.

The trio reunited in 1956. They signed a new recording contract with Capitol Records (for whom Patty had become a featured soloist) and released a dozen singles through 1959, some rock-and-roll flavored and not very well received, and three hi-fi albums, including a vibrant LP of songs from the dancing 1920s with Billy May‘s orchestra. In 1962, they signed with Dot Records and recorded a series of stereo albums until 1964, both re-recordings of earlier hits, as well as new material, including “I Left My Heart In San Francisco“, “Still“, “The End of the World“, “Puff the Magic Dragon“, “Sailor“, “Satin Doll“, the theme from Come September, and the theme from A Man and a Woman. They toured extensively during the 1960s, favoring top nightclubs in Las Vegas, Nevada, California, and London, England.

Eldest sister LaVerne died of cancer in 1967 after a year-long bout with the illness, during which she was replaced by singer Joyce DeYoung. LaVerne had founded the original group, and often acted as the peacemaker among the three during the sisters’ lives, more often siding with her parents, to whom the girls were extremely devoted, than with either of her sisters. Their last appearance together as a trio was on The Dean Martin Show on September 27, 1966.

After LaVerne died, Maxene and Patty continued to perform as a duo until 1968, when Maxene announced she would become the Dean of Women at Tahoe Paradise College, teaching acting, drama and speech at a Lake Tahoe college and worked with troubled teens, and Patty was once again eager to be a soloist.

Comeback

Patty and Maxine’s careers experienced a resurgence when Bette Midler recorded her own version of their song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” in 1973. The next year, the pair debuted on Broadway in the Sherman Brothers‘ nostalgic World War II musical: Over Here! which premiered at the Shubert Theatre to rave reviews. This was a follow-up to Patty’s success in “Victory Canteen“, a 1971 California revue. Over Here! starred Maxene and Patty (with Janie Sell filling in for LaVerne and winning a Tony Award for her performance) and was written with both sisters in mind for the leads. It launched the careers of many now notable theater, film, and television icons including John Travolta, Marilu Henner, Treat Williams and Ann Reinking. It was the last major hurrah for the sisters and was cut short due to a lawsuit initiated by Patty’s husband against the show’s producers, squashing an extensively scheduled road tour.

Patty immediately distanced herself from Maxene, who claimed until her death that she was not aware of Patty’s motives regarding the separation. She appealed to Patty for a reunion, personally if not professionally, both in public and in private, but to no avail. Maxene suffered a serious heart attack while performing in Illinois in 1982 and underwent quadruple bypass surgery, from which she successfully recovered. Patty visited her sister while she was hospitalized. Now sometimes appearing as “Patti” (but still signing autographs as “Patty”) she re-emerged in the late 1970s as a regular panelist on The Gong Show. Maxene had a successful comeback as a cabaret soloist in 1979 and toured worldwide for the next 15 years, recording a solo album in 1985 entitled “Maxene: An Andrews Sister” for Bainbridge Records. Patty started her own solo act in 1981, but did not receive the critical acclaim her sister had for her performances, even though it was Patty who was considered to be the “star” of the group for years. The critics’ major complaint was that Patty’s show concentrated too much on Andrews Sisters material, which did not allow Patty’s own talents as a very expressive and bluesy vocalist to shine through.

The two sisters did reunite, albeit briefly, on October 1, 1987, when they received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, even singing a few bars of “Beer Barrel Polka” for the Entertainment Tonight cameras. An earthquake shook the area that very morning and the ceremony was nearly cancelled, which caused Patty to joke, “Some people said that earthquake this morning was LaVerne because she couldn’t be here, but really it was just Maxene and me on the telephone.” Besides this, and a few brief private encounters, they remained somewhat estranged for the last few years.

Shortly after her Off-Broadway debut in New York City in a show called Swingtime Canteen, Maxene suffered another heart attack and died at Cape Cod Hospital on October 21, 1995, making Patty the last surviving Andrews Sister. Not long before she died, Maxene told music historian William Ruhlmann, “I have nothing to regret. We got on the carousel and we each got the ring and I was satisfied with that. There’s nothing I would do to change things if I could…Yes, I would. I wish I had the ability and the power to bridge the gap between my relationship with my sister, Patty.” Upon hearing the news of her sister’s death, Patty became very distraught. As her husband Wally went to her, he fell on a flight of stairs and broke both wrists. Patty did not attend her sister’s memorial services in New York, nor in California. Said Bob Hope of Maxene’s passing, “She was more than part of The Andrews Sisters, much more than a singer. She was a warm and wonderful lady who shared her talent and wisdom with others.”

Retirement and deaths

Instrumental to the sisters’ success over the years were their parents, Olga and Peter; their orchestra leader and musical arranger, Vic Schoen (1916–2000); music publishing giant Lou Levy, who died only days after Maxene, and was their manager from 1937–51 and was also Maxene’s husband from 1941–49; and Jack and David Kapp, who founded Decca Records. Maxene was the mother of two adopted children, Peter and Aleda Ann.

LaVerne married Lou Rogers, a trumpet player in Vic Schoen‘s band, in 1948, and remained with him until her death (he died in 1995, five days after Maxene’s death and five days before Levy’s). Patty Andrews married agent Marty Melcher in 1947 and left him in 1949, when he pursued a romantic relationship with Doris Day. She then married Walter Weschler, the trio’s pianist, in 1951. Patty Andrews died of natural causes at her home in Northridge, California on January 30, 2013. Walter Wechsler, her husband of 60 years, died on August 28, 2010, at the age of 88. Patty and Walter were parents to foster daughter Pam Dubois. The sisters were interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, close to their parents.

Legacy

Until the advent of the Supremes, the sisters were the most imitated of all female singing groups and influenced many artists, including Mel Tormé, Les Paul and Mary Ford, The Four Freshmen, The McGuire Sisters, The Manhattan Dolls, The Lennon Sisters, The Pointer Sisters, The Manhattan Transfer, The Puppini Sisters, Barry Manilow, and Bette Midler. Even Elvis Presley was a fan. Most of the Andrews Sisters’ music has been restored and released in compact disc form, yet over 300 of their original Decca recordings, a good portion of which was hit material, has yet to be released by MCA/Decca in over 50 years. Many of these Decca recordings have been used in such television shows and Hollywood movies as Homefront, ER, The Brink’s Job, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Swing Shift, Raggedy Man, Summer of ’42, Slaughterhouse-Five, Maria’s Lovers, Harlem Nights, In Dreams, Murder in the First, L.A. Confidential, American Horror Story, Just Shoot Me, Gilmore Girls, Mama’s Family, War and Remembrance, Jakob the Liar, Lolita, The Polar Express, The Chronicles of Narnia, Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!). Comical references to the trio in television sitcoms can be found as early as I Love Lucy and as recently as Everybody Loves Raymond. In 2007, their version of “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” was included in the game BioShock, a first-person shooter that takes place in an alternate history 1960, and later in 2008, their song “Civilization” (with Danny Kaye) was included in the Atomic Age-inspired video game Fallout 3. The 2010 video game Mafia II features numerous Andrews Sisters songs, with ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’, ‘Strip Polka’ and ‘Rum And Coca-Cola’. The 2011 video game L.A. Noire features the song Pistol Packin’ Mama, where the sisters perform a duet with Bing Crosby.

Christina Aguilera used the Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” to inspire her song “Candyman” (released as a single in 2007) from her hit album Back to Basics. The song was co-written by Linda Perry. The London based trio the Puppini Sisters uses their style harmonies on several Andrews Sisters and other hits of the 1940s and 1950s as well as later rock and disco hits. The trio has said their name is a tribute to The Andrews Sisters. The Manhattan Dolls, a New York City-based touring group, performs both the popular tunes sung by the Andrews Sisters and some of the more obscure tunes such as “Well Alright” and “South American Way” as well.

In 2008 and 2009, the BBC produced a one-hour documentary on the history of the Andrews Sisters from their upbringing to the present. The American premier of the show was June 21, 2009, in their birthplace of Mound, Minnesota. In 2008, Mound dedicated “The Andrews Sisters Trail”. The sisters spent summers in Mound with their uncles Pete and Ed Solie, who had a grocery store there. Maxene Andrews always said that the summers in Mound created a major sense of “normalcy” and “a wonderful childhood” in a life that otherwise centered on the sisters’ careers. The Westonka Historical Society has a large collection of Andrews Sisters memorabilia.

Musical innovators

When the sisters burst upon the music scene in the late 1930s, they shook a very solid musical foundation: producing a slick harmonic blend by singing at the top of their lungs while trying – successfully – to emulate the blare of three harmonizing trumpets, with a full big band racing behind them. Some bandleaders of the day, such as Artie Shaw and his musicians, resented them for taking the focus away from the band and emphasizing the vocals instead. They were in as high demand as the big bandleaders themselves, many of whom did not want to share the spotlight and play back-up to a girl trio.

Nevertheless, they found instant appeal with teenagers and young adults who were engrossed in the swing and jazz idioms, especially when they performed with nearly all of the major big bands, including those led by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Joe Venuti, Freddie Slack, Eddie Heywood, Bob Crosby (Bing’s brother), Desi Arnaz, Guy Lombardo, Les Brown, Bunny Berigan, Xavier Cugat, Paul Whiteman, Ted Lewis, Nelson Riddle and mood-master Gordon Jenkins, whose orchestra and chorus accompanied them on such successful soft and melancholy renditions as “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” (which shot to number one on Billboard and remained in the Top 10 for 25 weeks), “I Wanna Be Loved“, “There Will Never Be Another You“, and the inspirational “The Three Bells” (the first recorded English version of the French composition), along with several solo recordings with Patty, including a cover version of Nat King Cole‘s “Too Young“, “It Never Entered My Mind“, “If You Go“, and “That’s How A Love Song Is Born”.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” can be considered an early recording of rhythm and blues or jump blues.

Many styles

While the sisters specialized in swing, boogie-woogie, and novelty hits with their trademark lightning-quick vocal syncopations, they also produced major hits in jazz, ballads, folk, country-western, seasonal, and religious titles, being the first Decca artists to record an album of gospel standards in 1950. Their versatility allowed them to pair with many different artists in the recording studios, producing Top 10 hits with the likes of Bing Crosby (the only recording artist of the 1940s to sell more records than The Andrews Sisters), Danny Kaye, Dick Haymes, Carmen Miranda, Al Jolson, Ray McKinley, Burl Ives, Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, Dan Dailey, Alfred Apaka, and Les Paul. In personal appearances, on radio and on television, they sang with everyone from Rudy Vallee, Judy Garland and Nat “King” Cole to Jimmie Rodgers, Andy Williams, and The Supremes. Some obvious 1930’s song styles can be heard with early contemporary harmonizers of their day with the Boswell Sisters, and the Three X Sisters.

Films

Maxene, Patty, and LaVerne appeared in 17 Hollywood films. Their first picture, Argentine Nights, paired them with another enthusiastic trio, the Ritz Brothers. Universal Pictures, always budget-conscious, refused to hire a choreographer, so the Ritzes taught the sisters some eccentric steps. Thus, in Argentine Nights and the sisters’ next film, Buck Privates, the Andrews Sisters dance like the Ritz Brothers.

Buck Privates, with Abbott and Costello, featured the Andrews Sisters’ best-known song, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy“. This Don Raye-Hughie Prince composition was nominated for Best Song at the 1941 Academy Awards ceremony.

Universal hired the sisters for two more Abbott and Costello comedies, and then promoted them to full-fledged stardom in B musicals. What’s Cookin’, Private Buckaroo, and Give Out, Sisters (the latter portraying the sisters as old women) were among the team’s popular full-length films.

The Andrews Sisters have a specialty number in the all-star revue Hollywood Canteen (1944). They can be seen singing “You Don’t Have to Know the Language” with Bing Crosby in Paramount’s Road to Rio with Bob Hope, that year’s highest-grossing movie. Their singing voices are heard in two full-length Walt Disney features (“Make Mine Music[24] which featured Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet, and “Melody Time“, which introduced Little Toot, both of which are available on DVD today).

Stage and radio shows

The Andrews Sisters were the most sought-after entertainment property in theater shows worldwide during the 1940s and early 1950s, always topping previous house averages. The trio headlined at the London Palladium in 1948 and 1951 to sold-out crowds. They hosted their own radio shows for ABC and CBS from 1944–1951, singing specially-written commercial jingles for such products as Wrigley’s chewing gum, Dole pineapples, Nash motor cars, Kelvinator home appliances, Campbell’s soups, and Franco-American food products.

Setting records

They recorded 47 songs with crooner Bing Crosby, 23 of which charted on Billboard, thus making the team one of the most successful pairings of acts in a recording studio in show business history. Their million-sellers with Crosby included “Pistol Packin’ Mama“, “Don’t Fence Me In“, “South America, Take It Away”, and “Jingle Bells“, among other yuletide favorites.

The sisters’ popularity was such that after the war they discovered some of their records had actually been smuggled into Germany after the labels had been changed to read “Hitler‘s Marching Songs”. Their recording of Bei Mir Bist Du Schön became a favorite of the Nazis, until it was discovered that the song’s composers were of Jewish descent. Still, it did not stop concentration camp inmates from secretly singing it, this is most likely since the song was originally a Yiddish song “Bei Mir Bistu Shein“, and had been popularized within the Jewish community before it was recorded as a more successful “cover” version by the Andrews sisters.

Along with Bing Crosby, separately and jointly, The Andrews Sisters were among the performers who incorporated ethnic music styles into America’s Hit Parade, popularizing or enhancing the popularity of songs with melodies originating in Brazil, Czechoslovakia, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Trinidad, many of which their manager chose for them.

The Andrews Sisters became the most popular female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century.

Early comparative female close harmony trios were the Boswell Sisters, the Pickens Sisters, and the Three X Sisters.

Repertoire

Hit records

Year Single Chart positions
US US
R&B
US Country
1938 Bei Mir Bist Du Schön 1 - -
Nice Work If You Can Get It 12 - -
“Joseph, Joseph” 18 - -
“Ti-Pi-Tin” 12 - -
Shortenin’ Bread 16 - -
“Says My Heart” 10 - -
“Tu-li-Tulip Time” 9 - -
“Sha-Sha” 17 - -
“Lullaby To a Jitterbug” 10 - -
1939 “Pross-Tchai (Goodbye)” 15 - -
“Hold Tight, Hold Tight” 2 - -
“You Don’t Know How Much You Can Suffer” 14 - -
Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out the Barrel)” 4 - -
“Well All Right (Tonight’s the Night)” 5 - -
Ciribiribin (They’re So In Love)”(with Bing Crosby) 13 - -
“Yodelin’ Jive”(with Bing Crosby) 4 - -
“Chico’s Love Song” 11 - -
1940 Say Si Si (Para Vigo Me Voy) 4 - -
The Woodpecker Song 6 - -
“Down By the O-Hi-O” 21 - -
“Rhumboogie” 11 - -
“Ferryboat Serenade” 1 - -
“Hit the Road” 27 - -
Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar 2 - -
1941 Scrub Me, Mama, With a Boogie Beat 10 - -
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy 6 - -
I Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much) 11 - -
(I’ll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time 5 - -
“Aurora” 10 - -
Sonny Boy 22 - -
“The Nickel Serenade” 22 - -
“Sleepy Serenade” 22 - -
“I Wish I Had a Dime (For Every Time I Missed You)” 20 - -
“Jealous” 12 - -
1942 “The Shrine of St. Cecilia” 3 - -
“I’ll Pray For You” 22 - -
“Three Little Sisters” 8 - -
Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree 16 - -
“Pennsylvania Polka” 17 - -
“That’s the Moon, My Son” 18 - -
Mister Five By Five 14 - -
“Strip Polka” 6 - -
“Here Comes the Navy” 17 - -
1943 “East of the Rockies” 18 - -
Pistol Packin’ Mama(with Bing Crosby) 2 3 1
“Victory Polka”(with Bing Crosby) 5 - -
Jingle Bells(with Bing Crosby) 19 - -
Shoo-Shoo Baby 1 - -
1944 Down In the Valley 20 - -
Straighten Up and Fly Right 8 - -
Tico Tico 24 - -
“Sing a Tropical Song” 24 - -
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby(with Bing Crosby) 2 - -
“A Hot Time In the Town of Berlin”(with Bing Crosby) 1 - -
Don’t Fence Me In(with Bing Crosby) 1 9 -
1945 Rum and Coca Cola 1 3 -
Accentuate the Positive(with Bing Crosby) 2 - -
The Three Caballeros(with Bing Crosby) 8 - -
One Meat Ball 15 - -
“Corns For My Country” 21 - -
Along the Navajo Trail(with Bing Crosby) 2 - -
“The Blond Sailor” 8 - -
1946 “Money Is the Root of All Evil” 9 - -
“Patience and Fortitude” 12 - -
“Coax Me a Little Bit” 24 - -
“South America, Take It Away”(with Bing Crosby) 2 - -
Get Your Kicks On Route 66(with Bing Crosby) 14 - -
“I Don’t Know Why” 17 - -
House of Blue Lights 15 - -
Rumors Are Flying(with Les Paul) 4 - -
Winter Wonderland(with Guy Lombardo) 22 - -
“Christmas Island”(with Guy Lombardo) 7 - -
1947 “Tallahassee”(with Bing Crosby) 10 - -
There’s No Business Like Show Business(with Bing Crosby and Dick Haymes) 25 - -
“On the Avenue” 21 - -
Near You 2 - -
“The Lady From 29 Palms” 7 - -
“The Freedom Train”(with Bing Crosby) 21 - -
Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)(with Danny Kaye) 3 - -
Jingle Bells(with Bing Crosby)(re-entry) 21 - -
“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”(with Bing Crosby) 22 - -
“Christmas Island”(with Guy Lombardo)(re-entry) 20 - -
“Your Red Wagon” 24 - -
“How Lucky You Are” 22 - -
1948 “You Don’t Have To Know the Language”(with Bing Crosby) 21 - -
“Teresa”(with Dick Haymes) 21 - -
“Toolie Oolie Doolie (The Yodel Polka)” 3 - -
“I Hate To Lose You” 14 - -
“Heartbreaker” 21 - -
Sabre Dance 20 - -
Woody Woodpecker(with Danny Kaye) 18 - -
“Blue Tail Fly”(with Burl Ives) 24 - -
Underneath the Arches 5 - -
You Call Everybody Darling 8 - -
“Cuanto La Gusta”(with Carmen Miranda) 12 - -
“160 Acres”(with Bing Crosby) 23 - -
“Bella Bella Marie” 23 - -
1949 “Christmas Island”(with Guy Lombardo)(re-entry) 26 - -
“The Pussy Cat Song (Nyow! Nyot! Nyow!)”(Patty Andrews w/Bob Crosby) 12 - -
“More Beer!” 30 - -
“I’m Bitin’ My Fingernails and Thinking of You”(with Ernest Tubb) 30 - 2
Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle(with Ernest Tubb) - - 6
I Can Dream, Can’t I? 1 - -
“The Wedding of Lili Marlene” 20 - -
“She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”(with Russ Morgan) 22 - -
Charley, My Boy(with Russ Morgan) 15 - -
1950 “Merry Christmas Polka”(with Guy Lombardo) 18 - -
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You(with Bing Crosby) 24 - -
“Quicksilver”(with Bing Crosby) 6 - -
“The Wedding Samba”(with Carmen Miranda) 23 - -
I Wanna Be Loved 1 - -
“Can’t We Talk It Over” 22 - -
A Bushel and a Peck 22 - -
1951 “A Penny a Kiss, a Penny a Hug” 17 - -
Sparrow in the Tree Top(with Bing Crosby) 8 - -
“Too Young”(Patty Andrews) 19 - -
1955 “Suddenly There’s a Valley”(Patty Andrews) 69 - -

Other songs

Highest chart positions on Billboard; with Vic Schoen and his orchestra, unless otherwise noted:

Film and theatre

(partial list)

Filmography

Soundtracks

Broadway

  • Over Here! (1974; Shubert Theater, New York City, 9 months)

Dance

As Muppets

They were parodied on “Sesame Street” as the Androoze Sisters, named Mayeeme (Audrey Smith), Pattiz (Maeretha Stewart), and Lavoorrnee (Kevin Clash).

Happy Birthday Clark Gable!

1 Feb

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We have celebrated a couple of birthdays this year in tribute to men who were truly gentlemen and Clark Gable is certainly no exception.

Clark Gable was the first man I ever remember having a crush on who was a “movie star”. I was first introduced to him on screen when my mother popped in a VHS tape one weekend of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. I was simply captivated by his looks, charm, wit and attitude. I am sure this first crush is responsible for my bad boy boyfriends as I have grown into adulthood! There was something so debonair and carefree about his looks, voice and gestures that I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

As I became a teenager I began watching other Gable movies and reading the stories of what occurred on set as Clark Gable the actor so famously struggled with working with Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits. He was quite impatient with her and made no secret about it.

I will always remember him as a devilishly handsome man with a grin that seemed to always be hiding something. So, here’s to you, Mr. Gable, a true gentleman and my first crush.

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Humphrey Bogart!

23 Jan

Humphrey DeForest Bogart (December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957)was an American actor and is widely regarded as a cultural icon. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Bogart as the greatest male star in the history of American cinema.

After trying various jobs, Bogart began acting in 1921 and became a regular in Broadway productions in the 1920s and 1930s. When the stock market crash of 1929 reduced the demand for plays, Bogart turned to film. His first great success was as Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest (1936), and this led to a period of typecasting as a gangster with films such as Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) and B-movies like The Return of Doctor X (1939).

Bogart’s breakthrough as a leading man came in 1941, with High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. The next year, his performance in Casablanca raised him to the peak of his profession and, at the same time, cemented his trademark film persona, that of the hard-boiled cynic who ultimately shows his noble side. Other successes followed, including To Have and Have Not (1944); The Big Sleep (1946); Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948), with his wife Lauren Bacall; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948); In a Lonely Place (1950); The African Queen (1951), for which he won his only Academy Award; Sabrina (1954); and The Caine Mutiny (1954). His last movie was The Harder They Fall (1956). During a film career of almost 30 years, he appeared in 75 feature films.

Contents

Early life

Bogart was born on Christmas Day, 1899 in New York City, the eldest child of Dr. Belmont DeForest Bogart (July 1867, Watkins Glen, New York – September 8, 1934, Tudor City apartments, New York City) and Maud Humphrey (1868–1940). Belmont and Maud married in June 1898. The name “Bogart” comes from the Dutch surname “Bogaert”. It is derived from the word “bogaard”, a short name for “boomgaard”, which means “orchard”. Bogart’s father was a Presbyterian of English and Dutch descent; his mother was an Episcopalian of English descent. Bogart was raised in the Episcopalian faith, but did not have a strong belief in God.

Bogart’s birthday has been a subject of controversy; according to Warner Bros, he was born on Christmas Day, 1899. Others believe that this was a fiction created by the studio to romanticize their star, and that he was actually born on January 23, 1899. However, this story is now considered baseless: although no birth certificate has ever been found, his birth notice did appear in a New York newspaper in early January 1900, which supports the December 1899 date, as do other sources, such as the 1900 census.

Bogart’s father, Belmont, was a cardiopulmonary surgeon. His mother, Maud Humphrey, was a commercial illustrator, who received her art training in New York and France, including study with James McNeill Whistler, and who later became artistic director of the fashion magazine The Delineator. She was a militant suffragette. She used a drawing of baby Humphrey in a well-known ad campaign for Mellins Baby Food.In her prime, she made over $50,000 a year, then a vast sum, far more than her husband’s $20,000 per year.The Bogarts lived in a fashionable Upper West Side apartment, and had an elegant cottage on a fifty-five acre estate in upstate New York on Canandaigua Lake. As a youngster, Humphrey’s gang of friends at the lake would put on theatricals.

Humphrey was the oldest of three children; he had two younger sisters, Frances and Catherine Elizabeth (Kay).[10] His parents were very formal, busy in their careers, and frequently fought—resulting in little emotion directed at the children, “I was brought up very unsentimentally but very straightforwardly. A kiss, in our family, was an event. Our mother and father didn’t glug over my two sisters and me.” As a boy, Bogart was teased for his curls, his tidiness, the “cute” pictures his mother had him pose for, the Little Lord Fauntleroy clothes she dressed him in—and the name “Humphrey.” From his father, Bogart inherited a tendency for needling people, a fondness for fishing, a lifelong love of boating, and an attraction to strong-willed women.

The Bogarts sent their son to private schools. Bogart attended the Delancey School until fifth grade, when he was enrolled in Trinity School. He was an indifferent, sullen student who showed no interest in after-school activities.Later he went to the prestigious preparatory school Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, where he was admitted based on family connections. They hoped he would go on to Yale, but in 1918, Bogart was expelled. The details of his expulsion are disputed: one story claims that he was expelled for throwing the headmaster (alternatively, a groundskeeper) into Rabbit Pond, a man-made lake on campus. Another cites smoking and drinking, combined with poor academic performance and possibly some inappropriate comments made to the staff. It has also been said that he was actually withdrawn from the school by his father for failing to improve his academics, as opposed to expulsion. In any case, his parents were deeply dismayed by the events and their failed plans for his future.

Navy

With no viable career options, Bogart followed his love for the sea and enlisted in the United States Navy in the spring of 1918. He recalled later, “At eighteen, war was great stuff. Paris! French girls! Hot damn!” Bogart is recorded as a model sailor who spent most of his months in the Navy after the Armistice was signed, ferrying troops back from Europe.

It was during his naval stint that Bogart may have gotten his trademark scar and developed his characteristic lisp, though the actual circumstances are unclear. In one account, during a shelling of his ship the USS Leviathan, his lip was cut by a piece of shrapnel, although some claim Bogart did not make it to sea until after the Armistice with Germany was signed. Another version, which Bogart’s long-time friend, author Nathaniel Benchley, claims is the truth, is that Bogart was injured while on assignment to take a naval prisoner to Portsmouth Naval Prison in Kittery, Maine. Supposedly, while changing trains in Boston, the handcuffed prisoner asked Bogart for a cigarette and while Bogart looked for a match, the prisoner raised his hands, smashed Bogart across the mouth with his cuffs, cutting Bogart’s lip, and fled. The prisoner was eventually taken to Portsmouth. An alternate explanation is in the process of uncuffing an inmate, Bogart was struck in the mouth when the inmate wielded one open, uncuffed bracelet while the other side was still on his wrist.

By the time Bogart was treated by a doctor, the scar had already formed. “Goddamn doctor,” Bogart later told David Niven, “instead of stitching it up, he screwed it up.” Niven says that when he asked Bogart about his scar he said it was caused by a childhood accident; Niven claims the stories that Bogart got the scar during wartime were made up by the studios to inject glamor. His post-service physical makes no mention of the lip scar even though it mentions many smaller scars, so the actual cause may have come later. When actress Louise Brooks met Bogart in 1924, he had some scarred tissue on his upper lip, which Belmont Bogart may have partially repaired before Bogart went into films in 1930. She believes his scar had nothing to do with his distinctive speech pattern, his “lip wound gave him no speech impediment, either before or after it was mended. Over the years, Bogart practiced all kinds of lip gymnastics, accompanied by nasal tones, snarls, lisps and slurs. His painful wince, his leer, his fiendish grin were the most accomplished ever seen on film.”

Early career

Bogart returned home to find his father was suffering from poor health (perhaps aggravated by morphine addiction), his medical practice was faltering, and he lost much of the family’s money on bad investments in timber. During his naval days, Bogart’s character and values developed independent of family influence, and he began to rebel somewhat against their values. He came to be a liberal who hated pretensions, phonies, and snobs, and at times he defied conventional behavior and authority, traits he displayed in life and in his movies. On the other hand, he retained their traits of good manners, articulateness, punctuality, modesty, and a dislike of being touched. After his naval service, Bogart worked as a shipper and then bond salesman. He joined the Naval Reserve.

Bogart resumed his friendship with boyhood pal Bill Brady, Jr. whose father had show business connections, and eventually Bogart got an office job working for William A. Brady Sr.’s new company World Films. Bogart got to try his hand at screenwriting, directing, and production, but excelled at none. For a while, he was stage manager for Brady’s daughter’s play A Ruined Lady. A few months later, in 1921, Bogart made his stage debut in Drifting as a Japanese butler in another Alice Brady play, nervously speaking one line of dialog. Several more appearances followed in her subsequent plays. Bogart liked the late hours actors kept, and enjoyed the attention an actor got on stage. He stated, “I was born to be indolent and this was the softest of rackets”. He spent a lot of his free time in speakeasies and became a heavy drinker. A barroom brawl during this time might have been the actual cause of Bogart’s lip damage, as this coincides better with the Louise Brooks account.

Bogart had been raised to believe acting was beneath a gentleman, but he enjoyed stage acting. He never took acting lessons, but was persistent and worked steadily at his craft. He appeared in at least seventeen Broadway productions between 1922 and 1935. He played juveniles or romantic second-leads in drawing room comedies. He is said to have been the first actor to ask “Tennis, anyone?” on stage. Critic Alexander Woollcott wrote of Bogart’s early work that he “is what is usually and mercifully described as inadequate.” Some reviews were kinder. Heywood Broun, reviewing Nerves wrote, “Humphrey Bogart gives the most effective performance…both dry and fresh, if that be possible”.Bogart loathed the trivial, effeminate parts he had to play early in his career, calling them “White Pants Willie” roles.

Early in his career, while playing double roles in the play Drifting at the Playhouse Theatre in 1922, Bogart met actress Helen Menken. They were married on May 20, 1926 at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, divorced on November 18, 1927, but remained friends. On April 3, 1928, he married Mary Philips at her mother’s apartment in Hartford, Connecticut. She, like Menken, had a fiery temper and, like every other Bogart spouse, was an actress. He had met Mary when they appeared in the play Nerves, which had a very brief run at the Comedy Theatre in September 1924.

After the stock market crash of 1929, stage production dropped off sharply, and many of the more photogenic actors headed for Hollywood. Bogart’s earliest film role is with Helen Hayes in the 1928 two-reeler The Dancing Town, of which a complete copy has never been found. He also appeared with Joan Blondell and Ruth Etting in a Vitaphone short, Broadway’s Like That (1930) which was re-discovered in 1963.

Bogart then signed a contract with Fox Film Corporation for $750 a week. Spencer Tracy was a serious Broadway actor whom Bogart liked and admired, and they became good friends and drinking buddies. It was Tracy, in 1930, who first called him “Bogey”. (Spelled variously in many sources, Bogart himself spelled his nickname “Bogie”.) Tracy and Bogart appeared in their only film together in John Ford‘s early sound film Up the River (1930), with both playing inmates. It was Tracy’s film debut. Bogart then performed in The Bad Sister with Bette Davis in 1931, in a minor part.

Bogart shuttled back and forth between Hollywood and the New York stage from 1930 to 1935, suffering long periods without work. His parents had separated, and Belmont died in 1934 in debt, which Bogart eventually paid off. Bogart inherited his father’s gold ring which he always wore, even in many of his films. At his father’s deathbed, Bogart finally told Belmont how much he loved him. His second marriage was on the rocks, and he was less than happy with his acting career to date; he became depressed, irritable, and drank heavily.

The Petrified Forest

Bogart in the 1934 original theatrical trailer

Bogart starred in the Broadway play Invitation to a Murder at the Theatre Masque, now the John Golden Theatre, in 1934. The producer Arthur Hopkins heard the play from off-stage and sent for Bogart to play escaped murderer Duke Mantee in Robert E. Sherwood‘s new play, The Petrified Forest. Hopkins recalled:

When I saw the actor I was somewhat taken aback, for he was the one I never much admired. He was an antiquated juvenile who spent most of his stage life in white pants swinging a tennis racquet. He seemed as far from a cold-blooded killer as one could get, but the voice (dry and tired) persisted, and the voice was Mantee’s.

The play had 197 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York in 1935.[42] Leslie Howard though, was the star. New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson said of the play, “a peach… a roaring Western melodrama… Humphrey Bogart does the best work of his career as an actor.” Bogart said the play “marked my deliverance from the ranks of the sleek, sybaritic, stiff-shirted, swallow-tailed ‘smoothies’ to which I seemed condemned to life.” However, he was still feeling insecure.

Warner Bros. bought the screen rights to The Petrified Forest. The studio was famous for its socially realistic, urban, low-budget action pictures; the play seemed like the perfect property for it, especially since the public was entranced by real-life criminals like John Dillinger (whom Bogart resembled) and Dutch Schultz. Bette Davis and Leslie Howard were cast. Howard, who held production rights, made it clear he wanted Bogart to star with him. The studio tested several Hollywood veterans for the Duke Mantee role, and chose Edward G. Robinson, who had first-rank star appeal and was due to make a film to fulfill his expensive contract. Bogart cabled news of this to Howard, who was in Scotland. Howard’s cabled reply was, “Att: Jack Warner Insist Bogart Play Mantee No Bogart No Deal L.H.”. When Warner Bros. saw that Howard would not budge, they gave in and cast Bogart. Jack Warner, famous for butting heads with his stars, tried to get Bogart to adopt a stage name, but Bogart stubbornly refused. Bogart never forgot Howard’s favor, and in 1952 he named his only daughter “Leslie Howard” after Howard, who had died in World War II under mysterious circumstances. Robert E. Sherwood remained a close friend of Bogart’s.

Early film career

The film version of The Petrified Forest was released in 1936. His performance was called “brilliant”, “compelling”, and “superb.” Despite his success in an “A movie,” Bogart received a tepid twenty-six week contract at $550 per week and was typecast as a gangster in a series of “B movie” crime dramas. Bogart was proud of his success, but the fact that it came from playing a gangster weighed on him. He once said: “I can’t get in a mild discussion without turning it into an argument. There must be something in my tone of voice, or this arrogant face—something that antagonizes everybody. Nobody likes me on sight. I suppose that’s why I’m cast as the heavy.” Bogart’s roles were not only repetitive, but physically demanding and draining (studios were not yet air-conditioned), and his regimented, tightly scheduled job at Warners was not exactly the “peachy” actor’s life he hoped for. However, he was always professional and generally respected by other actors. In those “B movie” years, Bogart started developing his lasting film persona – the wounded, stoical, cynical, charming, vulnerable, self-mocking loner with a core of honor.

The studio system, then at its most entrenched, usually restricted actors to one studio, with occasional loan-outs, and Warner Bros. had no interest in making Bogart a top star. Shooting on a new movie might begin days or only hours after shooting on the previous one was completed. Any actor who refused a role could be suspended without pay. Bogart disliked the roles chosen for him, but he worked steadily: between 1936 and 1940, Bogart averaged a movie every two months, sometimes even working on two simultaneously, as movies were not generally shot sequentially. Amenities at Warners were few compared to those for their fellow actors at MGM. Bogart thought that the Warners wardrobe department was cheap, and often wore his own suits in his movies. In High Sierra, Bogart used his own pet dog Zero to play his character’s dog, Pard. Bogart’s disputes with Warner Bros. over roles and money were similar to those the studio had with other less-than-obedient stars, such as Bette Davis, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, and Olivia de Havilland.

Taking a back seat to James Cagney in The Roaring Twenties (1939)

The leading men ahead of Bogart at Warner Bros. included not only such classic stars as James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson, but also actors far less well-known today, such as Victor McLaglen, George Raft and Paul Muni. Most of the studio’s better movie scripts went to these men, and Bogart had to take what was left. He made films like Racket Busters, San Quentin, and You Can’t Get Away with Murder. The only substantial leading role he got during this period was in Dead End (1937), while loaned to Samuel Goldwyn, where he portrayed a gangster modeled after Baby Face Nelson. He did play a variety of interesting supporting roles, such as in Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) (in which his character got shot by James Cagney‘s). Bogart was gunned down on film repeatedly by Cagney and Edward G. Robinson, among others. In Black Legion (1937), for a change, he played a good man caught up and destroyed by a racist organization, a movie Graham Greene called “intelligent and exciting, if rather earnest”.

In 1938, Warner Bros. put Bogart in a “hillbilly musical” called Swing Your Lady as a wrestling promoter; he later apparently considered this his worst film performance.In 1939, Bogart played a mad scientist in The Return of Doctor X. He cracked, “If it’d been Jack Warner‘s blood…I wouldn’t have minded so much. The trouble was they were drinking mine and I was making this stinking movie.” Mary Philips, in her own stage hit A Touch of Brimstone (1935), refused to give up her Broadway career to go to Hollywood with Bogart. After the play closed, however, she went to Hollywood, but insisted on continuing her career and they divorced in 1937.

Dark Victory (1939) was one of the last films in which he played a supporting role

On August 21, 1938, Bogart entered into a disastrous third marriage, with actress Mayo Methot, a lively, friendly woman when sober, but paranoid when drunk. She was convinced that her husband was cheating on her. The more she and Bogart drifted apart, the more she drank, got furious and threw things at him: plants, crockery, anything close at hand. She even set the house on fire, stabbed him with a knife, and slashed her wrists on several occasions. Bogart for his part needled her mercilessly and seemed to enjoy confrontation. Sometimes he turned violent. The press accurately dubbed them “the Battling Bogarts.” “The Bogart-Methot marriage was the sequel to the Civil War,” said their friend Julius Epstein. A wag observed that there was “madness in his Methot.” During this time, Bogart bought a motor launch, which he named Sluggy, after his nickname for his hot-tempered wife. Despite his proclamations that, “I like a jealous wife,” “We get on so well together (because) we don’t have illusions about each other,” and, “I wouldn’t give you two cents for a dame without a temper,” it was a highly destructive relationship.

In California in 1945, Bogart bought a 55-foot (17 m) sailing yacht, the Santana, from actor Dick Powell. The sea was his sanctuary and he loved to sail around Catalina Island. He was a serious sailor, respected by other sailors who had seen too many Hollywood actors and their boats. About 30 weekends a year, he went out on his boat. He once said, “An actor needs something to stabilize his personality, something to nail down what he really is, not what he is currently pretending to be.”

Bogart had a lifelong disgust for the pretentious, fake or phony, as his son Stephen told Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne in 1999. Sensitive yet caustic, and disgusted by the inferior movies he was performing in, Bogart cultivated the persona of a soured idealist, a man exiled from better things in New York, living by his wits, drinking too much, cursed to live out his life among second-rate people and projects.

Bogart rarely saw his own films and avoided premieres. He even protected his privacy with invented press releases about his private life to satisfy the curiosity of the newspapers and the public. When he thought an actor, director, or a movie studio had done something shoddy, he spoke up about it and was willing to be quoted. He advised Robert Mitchum that the only way to stay alive in Hollywood was to be an “againster.” As a result, he was not the most popular of actors, and some in the Hollywood community shunned him privately to avoid trouble with the studios. But the Hollywood press, unaccustomed to candor, was delighted. Bogart once said:

All over Hollywood, they are continually advising me, “Oh, you mustn’t say that. That will get you in a lot of trouble,” when I remark that some picture or writer or director or producer is no good. I don’t get it. If he isn’t any good, why can’t you say so? If more people would mention it, pretty soon it might start having some effect.

Rise to stardom

High Sierra

High Sierra, a 1941 movie directed by Raoul Walsh, had a screenplay written by Bogart’s friend and drinking partner, John Huston, adapted from the novel by W. R. Burnett (Little Caesar, etc.). Both Paul Muni and George Raft turned down the lead role, giving Bogart the opportunity to play a character of some depth, although legendary director Walsh initially fought the casting of supporting player Bogart as a leading man, much preferring Raft for the part. The film was Bogart’s last major film playing a gangster (his final gangster role was in The Big Shot in 1942). Bogart worked well with Ida Lupino, and her relationship with him was a close one, provoking jealousy from Bogart’s wife Mayo.

The film cemented a strong personal and professional connection between Bogart and Huston. Bogart admired and somewhat envied Huston for his skill as a writer. Though a poor student, Bogart was a lifelong reader. He could quote Plato, Pope, Ralph Waldo Emerson and over a thousand lines of Shakespeare. He subscribed to the Harvard Law Review. He admired writers, and some of his best friends were screenwriters, including Louis Bromfield, Nathaniel Benchley and Nunnally Johnson. Bogart enjoyed intense, provocative conversation and stiff drinks, as did Huston. Both were rebellious and liked to play childish pranks. John Huston was reported to be easily bored during production, and admired Bogart (who also got bored easily off camera) not just for his acting talent but for his intense concentration on the set.

The Maltese Falcon

From the trailer, Bogart as Sam Spade in Dashiell Hammett‘s The Maltese Falcon

Raft turned down the lead in John Huston‘s directorial debut The Maltese Falcon (1941), due to its being a cleaned up version of the pre-Production Code The Maltese Falcon (1931), his contract stipulating that he did not have to appear in remakes. The original novel, written by Dashiell Hammett, was first published in the pulp magazine Black Mask in 1929. It was also the basis for another movie version, Satan Met a Lady (1936) starring Bette Davis. Complementing Bogart were co-stars Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook, Jr., and Mary Astor as the treacherous female foil.Bogart’s sharp timing and facial expressions as private detective Sam Spade were praised by the cast and director as vital to the quick action and rapid-fire dialogue. The film was a huge hit and for Huston, a triumphant directorial debut. Bogart was unusually happy with it, remarking, “it is practically a masterpiece. I don’t have many things I’m proud of… but that’s one”.

Casablanca

With Sydney Greenstreet in Casablanca. Bogart received an Oscar nomination for his performance.

Bogart gained his first real romantic lead in 1942’s Casablanca, playing Rick Blaine, the hard-pressed expatriate nightclub owner, hiding from the past and negotiating a fine line among Nazis, the French underground, the Vichy prefect and unresolved feelings for his ex-girlfriend. The film was directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Hal Wallis, and featured Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson. It was reportedly Bogart’s idea that Rick Blaine be portrayed as a chess player, which served as a metaphor for the sparring relationship of the characters played by Bogart and Rains. In real life Bogart played tournament chess, one division below master level, and often played with crew members and cast off the set. However, Paul Henreid proved to be the best player.

The on-screen magic of Bogart and Bergman was the result of two actors doing their very best work, not any real-life sparks, though Bogart’s perennially jealous wife assumed otherwise. Off the set, the co-stars hardly spoke during the filming, where normally Bergman had a reputation for affairs with her leading men. She later said of Bogart, “I kissed him but I never knew him.” Because Bergman was taller than her leading man, Bogart had 3-inch (76 mm) blocks attached to his shoes in certain scenes.

Casablanca won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Picture. Bogart was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but lost to Paul Lukas for his performance in Watch on the Rhine. The film vaulted Bogart from fourth place to first in the studio’s roster, finally exceeding James Cagney, and by 1946 more than doubling his annual salary to over $460,000, making him the highest paid actor in the world.

Bogart and Bacall

To Have and Have Not

Lauren Bacall, co-star married to Bogart from 1945 until his death

Bogart met Lauren Bacall while filming To Have and Have Not (1944), a loose adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel. The movie has many similarities with Casablanca – the same enemies, the same kind of hero, even a piano player sidekick (this time Hoagy Carmichael). When they met, Bacall was 19 and Bogart was 44. He nicknamed her “Baby.” She had been a model since she was 16 and had acted in two failed plays. Bogart was drawn to Bacall’s high cheekbones, green eyes, tawny blond hair, and lean body, as well as her poise and earthy, outspoken honesty. Reportedly he said, “I just saw your test. We’ll have a lot of fun together”. Their physical and emotional rapport was very strong from the start, and the age difference and different acting experience also created the additional dimension of a mentor-student relationship. Quite contrary to the Hollywood norm, it was his first affair with a leading lady. Bogart was still miserably married and his early meetings with Bacall were discreet and brief, their separations bridged by ardent love letters.The relationship made it much easier for the newcomer to make her first film, and Bogart did his best to put her at ease by joking with her and quietly coaching her. He let her steal scenes and even encouraged it. Howard Hawks, for his part, also did his best to boost her performance and her role, and found Bogart easy to direct.

Hawks at some point began to disapprove of the pair. Hawks considered himself her protector and mentor, and Bogart was usurping that role. Hawks fell for Bacall as well (normally he avoided his starlets, and he was married). Hawks told her that she meant nothing to Bogart and even threatened to send her to Monogram, the worst studio in Hollywood. Bogart calmed her down and then went after Hawks. Jack Warner settled the dispute and filming resumed. Hawks said of Bacall: “Bogie fell in love with the character she played, so she had to keep playing it the rest of her life.”

The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo

Just months after wrapping the film, Bogart and Bacall were reunited for their second movie together, the film noir The Big Sleep, based on the novel by Raymond Chandler, again with script help from William Faulkner. Chandler thoroughly admired Bogart’s performance: “Bogart can be tough without a gun. Also, he has a sense of humor that contains that grating undertone of contempt.” The film holds a rare niche in Hollywood history as having been completed and slated for release in 1945, then withdrawn and substantially re-edited with new, juiced up scenes added to better exploit the box office chemistry that shined between Bogie and Bacall in To Have and Have Not and the notoriety of their personal relationship. “After the public’s response to Bacall’s debut performance in To Have and Have Not at the urging of director Howard Hawks production partner Charles K. Feldman, scenes were re-written to heighten the ‘insolent’ quality that had intrigued critics and audiences in that film.” By chance, a 35 mm nitrate composite master positive (fine grain) of the 1945 version survived. The UCLA Film Archive, in association with Turner Entertainment and with funding provided by Hugh Hefner, the original film was restored and released in comparison with the 1946 version in 1996.

Bogart and Bacall in Dark Passage (1947), the third of four films they made together

Bogart was still torn between his new love and his sense of duty to his marriage. The mood on the set was tense, the actors both emotionally exhausted as Bogart tried to find a way out of his dilemma. The dialogue, especially in the newly shot scenes, was full of sexual innuendo supplied by Hawks, and Bogart is convincing and enduring as private detective Philip Marlowe. In the end, the film was successful, though some critics found the plot confusing and overly complicated. Reportedly Chandler himself could not answer the question who killed the limousine driver in the story when the baffled screenwriters called him up for final reference.

Dark Passage (1947) was Bogart’s and Bacall’s next collaboration. The first third of the film is shot from the protagonist’s point of view, with the camera seeing what he sees. After the character’s plastic surgery, the rest of the movie is shot normally with Bogart as the lead character. The picture is a suspense thriller with Bogart intent on finding the real killer in a murder he was blamed for and sentenced to prison.

Key Largo was directed by John Huston and, in addition to the presence of Bogart and Bacall, features Edward G. Robinson as “Johnny Rocco,” a seething older synthesis of many of his past vicious gangster roles. The cast is trapped during a spectacular hurricane in a hotel owned by Bacall’s character’s father in law, played by Lionel Barrymore. Claire Trevor won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Rocco’s physically abused, alcoholic, girlfriend. Robinson had always had top billing over Bogart in their previous films together but for this movie, Robinson’s name appears to the right of Bogart’s, but placed a little higher on the posters, and also in the film’s opening credits, to indicate Robinson’s near-equal status. Robinson’s image was also markedly larger and centered on the original poster, with Bogart relegated to the background. In the film’s trailer, Bogart is repeatedly mentioned first but Robinson’s name is listed above Bogart’s in a cast list at the trailer’s very end. Robinson’s role remains similar in circumstance to Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest (1936), Bogart’s initial breakthrough which the studio had originally earmarked for Robinson.

Final marriage

Bogart filed for divorce from Methot in February 1945. He and Bacall married in a small ceremony at the country home of Bogart’s close friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, at Malabar Farm near Lucas, Ohio on May 21, 1945.

Bogart and Bacall moved into a $160,000 (equal to $2,065,508 today) white brick mansion in an exclusive neighborhood in Holmby Hills. The marriage proved to be a happy one, though there were the normal tensions due to their differences. He was a homebody and she liked nightlife; he loved the sea, which made her seasick. Bogart’s drinking sometimes inflamed tensions.

Bogart became a father at age 49 when Bacall gave birth to Stephen (Steve) Humphrey Bogart on January 6, 1949, during the filming of Tokyo Joe. Bogart told Tokyo Joe’s screenwriter, Steve Fisher, “Don’t get any stupid ideas. It just happens to fit.” Stephen was actually named after Bogart’s character’s nickname in To Have and Have Not. Stephen would go on to become an author and biographer, later hosting a television special about his father on Turner Classic Movies. Their daughter, Leslie Howard Bogart, was born on August 23, 1952 and named after British actor Leslie Howard, his co-star in The Petrified Forest.

Later career

The enormous success of Casablanca redefined Bogart’s career. For the first time, Bogart could be cast successfully as a tough, strong man and, at the same time, as a vulnerable love interest. Despite Bogart’s elevated standing, he did not yet have a contractual right of script refusal, so when he got weak scripts, he dug in his heels, and locked horns again with the front office, as he did on the film Conflict (1945). Though he submitted to Jack Warner on that picture, he successfully turned down God is My Co-Pilot (1945). During part of 1943 and 1944, Bogart went on USO and War Bond tours accompanied by Mayo, enduring arduous travels to Italy and North Africa, including Casablanca.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

from the trailer of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Riding high in 1947 with a new contract which provided some script refusal rights and the right to form his own separate production company, Bogart reunited with John Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a stark tale of greed involving three gold prospectors played out in the dusty back country of Mexico. Absent any love story or a happy ending, it was deemed a risky project.Bogart later said of co-star (and John Huston’s father) Walter Huston, “He’s probably the only performer in Hollywood to whom I’d gladly lost a scene”.

The film was grueling to make, and was done in summer for greater realism and atmosphere.James Agee wrote, “Bogart does a wonderful job with this character…miles ahead of the very good work he has done before”. John Huston won the Academy Award for direction and screenplay and his father won Best Supporting Actor, but the film had mediocre box office results. Bogart complained, “An intelligent script, beautifully directed—something different—and the public turned a cold shoulder on it”.

House Un-American Activities Committee

Bogart, a liberal Democrat, organized a delegation to Washington, D.C., called the Committee for the First Amendment, against the House Un-American Activities Committee‘s harassment of Hollywood screenwriters and actors. He subsequently wrote an article “I’m No Communist” in the March 1948 edition of Photoplay magazine in which he distanced himself from The Hollywood Ten to counter the negative publicity that resulted from his appearance. Bogart wrote: “The ten men cited for contempt by the House Un-American Activities Committee were not defended by us.”

Santana Productions

In addition to being offered better, more diverse roles, in 1948 he started his own production company, Santana Productions, named after his private sailing yacht. (Santana was also the name of the cabin cruiser featured in the 1948 film Key Largo). Bogart’s contract gave him the right to have his own production company, but Jack Warner was reportedly furious at this, fearing that other stars would do the same and major studios would lose their power. The studios, however, were already under a lot of pressure, not just from free-lancing actors like Bogart, James Stewart, Henry Fonda and others (who also saved taxes as independents), but also from the eroding impact of television and from anti-trust laws which were breaking up theater chains. Bogart performed in his final films for Warners, Chain Lightning, released early in 1950, and The Enforcer, released early in 1951.

Under Bogart’s Santana Productions, which released its films through Columbia Pictures, Bogart starred in Knock on Any Door (1949), Tokyo Joe (1949), In a Lonely Place (1950), Sirocco (1951) and Beat the Devil (1954). Santana made two other films without him: And Baby Makes Three (1949) and The Family Secret (1951).

While the majority of his films lost money at the box office (the main reason for Santana’s end), at least two of them are still remembered today; In a Lonely Place is now recognized as a masterpiece of film noir. Bogart plays embittered writer Dixon Steele, who has a history of violence and becomes a suspect in a murder case at the same time that he falls in love with a failed actress, played by Gloria Grahame. Many Bogart biographers and actress/writer Louise Brooks agree that the role is the closest to Bogart’s real self and is considered among his best performances. She wrote that the film “gave him a role that he could play with complexity, because the film character’s pride in his art, his selfishness, drunkenness, lack of energy stabbed with lightning strokes of violence were shared by the real Bogart”. The character even mimics some of Bogart’s personal habits, including twice ordering Bogart’s favorite meal of ham and eggs.

Beat the Devil, Bogart’s last film with his close friend and favorite director John Huston, also enjoys a cult following. Co-written by Truman Capote, the movie is a parody of The Maltese Falcon, and is a tale of an amoral group of rogues chasing an unattainable treasure, in this instance uranium.

Bogart sold his interest in Santana to Columbia for over $1 million in 1955.

The African Queen

With Katharine Hepburn in a promotional image for The African Queen

Bogart starred with Katharine Hepburn in the film The African Queen in 1951, again directed by his friend John Huston. The novel was overlooked and left undeveloped for fifteen years until producer Sam Spiegel and Huston bought the rights. Spiegel sent Katharine Hepburn the book and she suggested Bogart for the male lead, firmly believing that “he was the only man who could have played that part”. Huston’s love of adventure, a chance to work with Hepburn, and Bogart’s earlier successes with Huston convinced Bogart to leave the comfortable confines of Hollywood for a difficult shoot on location in the Belgian Congo in Africa. Bogart was to get 30 percent of the profits and Hepburn 10 percent, plus a relatively small salary for both. The stars met up in London and announced the happy prospect of working together.

Bacall came for the duration (over four months), leaving their young child behind, but the Bogarts started the trip with a junket through Europe, including a visit with Pope Pius XII. Later, the glamor would be gone and she would make herself useful as a cook, nurse and clothes washer, for which Bogart praised her, “I don’t know what we’d have done without her. She Luxed my undies in darkest Africa”. Just about everyone in the cast came down with dysentery except Bogart and John Huston, who subsisted on canned food and alcohol. Bogart explained: “All I ate was baked beans, canned asparagus and Scotch whisky. Whenever a fly bit Huston or me, it dropped dead.” The teetotaling Hepburn, in and out of character, fared worse in the difficult conditions, losing weight, and at one time, getting very ill. Bogart resisted Huston’s insistence on using real leeches in a key scene where Bogart has to drag the boat through a shallow marsh, until reasonable fakes were employed. In the end, the crew overcame illness, soldier ant invasions, leaking boats, poor food, attacking hippos, bad water filters, fierce heat, isolation, and a boat fire to complete a memorable film. Despite the discomfort of jumping from the boat into swamps, rivers and marshes the film apparently rekindled in Bogart his early love of boats and on his return to California from the Congo he bought a classic mahogany Hacker-Craft runabout which he kept until his death.

The African Queen was the first Technicolor film in which Bogart appeared. He appeared in relatively few color films during the rest of his career, which continued for another five years. The role of Charlie Allnutt won Bogart his only Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1951. Bogart considered his performance to be the best of his film career. He had vowed to friends that if he won, his speech would break the convention of thanking everyone in sight. He advised Claire Trevor, when she had been nominated for Key Largo, to “just say you did it all yourself and don’t thank anyone”. But when Bogart won the Academy Award, which he truly coveted despite his well-advertised disdain for Hollywood, he said “It’s a long way from the Belgian Congo to the stage of this theatre. It’s nicer to be here. Thank you very much…No one does it alone. As in tennis, you need a good opponent or partner to bring out the best in you. John and Katie helped me to be where I am now”. Despite the thrilling win and the recognition, Bogart later commented, “The way to survive an Oscar is never to try to win another one…too many stars…win it and then figure they have to top themselves…they become afraid to take chances. The result: A lot of dull performances in dull pictures”.

Final roles

Bogart dropped his asking price to get the role of Captain Queeg in Edward Dmytryk‘s The Caine Mutiny, then griped with some of his old bitterness about it. For all his success, he was still his melancholy old self, grumbling and feuding with the studio, while his health was beginning to deteriorate. The character of Captain Queeg mirrored those Bogart had played in The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and The Big Sleep—the wary loner who trusts no one—but with none of the warmth or humor of those roles. Like his portrayal of Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Bogart played a paranoid, self-pitying character whose small-mindedness eventually destroyed him. Three months before the film’s release, Bogart as Queeg appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, while on Broadway Henry Fonda was starring in the stage version (in a different role), both of which generated strong publicity for the film.

In Sabrina, Billy Wilder, unable to secure Cary Grant, chose Bogart for the role of the older, conservative brother who competes with his younger playboy sibling (William Holden) for the affection of the Cinderella-like Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn). Bogart was lukewarm about the part, but agreed to it on a handshake with Wilder, without a finished script, and with the director’s assurances to take good care of Bogart during the filming. But Bogart got on poorly with his director and co-stars. He also complained about the script, which was written on a last-minute, daily basis, and that Wilder favored Hepburn and Holden on and off the set. The main problem was that Wilder was the opposite of his ideal director, John Huston, in both style and personality. Bogart told the press that Wilder was “overbearing” and “is the kind of Prussian German with a riding crop. He is the type of director I don’t like to work with… the picture is a crock of crap. I got sick and tired of who gets Sabrina.” Wilder said, “We parted as enemies but finally made up.” Despite the acrimony, the film was successful. The New York Times said of Bogart, “he is incredibly adroit… the skill with which this old rock-ribbed actor blend the gags and such duplicities with a manly manner of melting is one of the incalculable joys of the show.”

The Barefoot Contessa, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, was filmed in Rome, and released in 1954. In this Hollywood back-story movie, Bogart again is the broken-down man, this time the cynical director-narrator who saves his career by making a star of a flamenco dancer Ava Gardner, modeled on the real life of Rita Hayworth. Bogart was uneasy with Gardner because she had just split from “rat-pack” buddy Frank Sinatra and was carrying on with bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín. Bogart told her, “Half the world’s female population would throw themselves at Frank’s feet and here you are flouncing around with guys who wear capes and little ballerina slippers.” He was also annoyed by her inexperienced performance. Later, she credited him with helping her. Bogart’s performance was generally praised as the strongest part of the film. During the filming, while Bacall was home, Bogart resumed his discreet affair with Verita Peterson, his long-time studio assistant whom he took sailing and enjoyed drinking with. But when Bacall suddenly arrived on the scene discovering them together, Bacall took it quite well. She extracted an expensive shopping spree from him and the three traveled together after the shooting.

Bogart could be generous with actors, particularly those who were blacklisted, down on their luck, or having personal problems. During the filming of The Left Hand of God (1955), he noticed his co-star Gene Tierney having a hard time remembering her lines and also behaving oddly. He coached Tierney, feeding her lines. He was familiar with mental illness (his sister had bouts of depression), and Bogart encouraged Tierney to seek treatment, which she did. He also stood behind Joan Bennett and insisted on her as his co-star in We’re No Angels when a scandal made her persona non grata with Jack Warner.

In 1955, Bogart made three films: We’re No Angels (dir. Michael Curtiz), The Left Hand of God (dir. Edward Dmytryk) and The Desperate Hours (dir. William Wyler). Mark Robson‘s The Harder They Fall (1956) was his last film.

Television and radio work

Bogart rarely appeared on television. However, he and Bacall appeared on Edward R. Murrow‘s Person to Person in which they disagreed in answering every question. Bogart was also featured on The Jack Benny Show. The surviving kinescope of the live Benny telecast features Bogart in his only TV sketch comedy outing. Bogart and Bacall also worked together on an early color telecast, in 1955, an NBC adaptation of The Petrified Forest for Producers’ Showcase; only a black and white kinescope of the live telecast has survived.

Bogart performed radio adaptations of some of his best known films, such as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon. He also recorded a radio series called Bold Venture with Lauren Bacall.

The Rat Pack

Bogart was a founding member and the original leader, until his death, of the Rat Pack. In the spring of 1955, after a long party in Las Vegas with Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, her husband Sid Luft, Mike Romanoff and wife Gloria, David Niven, Angie Dickinson and others, Lauren Bacall surveyed the wreckage of the party and declared, “You look like a goddamn rat pack.”

Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills was where the Rat Pack became official. Sinatra was named Pack Leader, Bacall was named Den Mother, Bogie was Director of Public Relations, and Sid Luft was Acting Cage Manager. When asked by columnist Earl Wilson what the purpose of the group was, Bacall responded “to drink a lot of bourbon and stay up late.”

Death

By the mid-1950s, Bogart’s health was failing. Once, after signing a long-term deal with Warner Bros., Bogart predicted with glee that his teeth and hair would fall out before the contract ended. Bogart had formed a new production company and had plans for a new film Melville Goodwin, U.S.A., in which he would play a general and Bacall a press magnate. His persistent cough and difficulty eating became too serious to ignore and he dropped the project. The film was renamed Top Secret Affair and made with Kirk Douglas and Susan Hayward.

Bogart, a heavy smoker and drinker, developed cancer of the esophagus. He almost never spoke of his failing health and refused to see a doctor until January 1956. A diagnosis was made several weeks later and by then removal of his esophagus, two lymph nodes, and a rib on March 1, 1956, was too late to halt the disease, even with chemotherapy. He underwent corrective surgery in November 1956 after the cancer had spread. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy visited him at this time. Frank Sinatra was also a frequent visitor. With time, Bogart grew too weak to walk up and down stairs. He valiantly fought the pain and joked about his immobility: “Put me in the dumbwaiter and I’ll ride down to the first floor in style.” The dumbwaiter was then altered to accommodate his wheelchair.In an interview, Hepburn described the last time she and Spencer Tracy saw Bogart (the night before he died):

Spence patted him on the shoulder and said, “Goodnight, Bogie.” Bogie turned his eyes to Spence very quietly and with a sweet smile covered Spence’s hand with his own and said, “Goodbye, Spence.” Spence’s heart stood still. He understood.

Bogart had just turned 57 and weighed 80 pounds (36 kg) when he died on January 14, 1957, after falling into a coma. He died at 2:25 am at his home at 232 South Mapleton Drive in Holmby Hills, California. His simple funeral was held at All Saints Episcopal Church with musical selections from Bogart’s favorite composers, Johann Sebastian Bach and Claude Debussy. The ceremony was attended by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, David Niven, Ronald Reagan, James Mason, Bette Davis, Danny Kaye, Joan Fontaine, Marlene Dietrich, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck and Gary Cooper, as well as Billy Wilder and Jack Warner. Bacall had asked Tracy to give the eulogy, but Tracy was too upset, so John Huston spoke instead and reminded the gathered mourners that while Bogart’s life had ended far too soon, it had been a rich one.

Himself, he never took too seriously—his work most seriously. He regarded the somewhat gaudy figure of Bogart, the star, with an amused cynicism; Bogart, the actor, he held in deep respect…In each of the fountains at Versailles there is a pike which keeps all the carp active; otherwise they would grow overfat and die. Bogie took rare delight in performing a similar duty in the fountains of Hollywood. Yet his victims seldom bore him any malice, and when they did, not for long. His shafts were fashioned only to stick into the outer layer of complacency, and not to penetrate through to the regions of the spirit where real injuries are done…He is quite irreplaceable. There will never be another like him.”

Bogart’s cremated remains were interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California. He was buried with a small, gold whistle once part of a charm bracelet he had given to Lauren Bacall before they married. It was inscribed with a quote from their first movie together: “If you want anything, just whistle.”

The probate value of Bogart’s estate was $910,146 gross; $737,668 was the final estate value.

Legacy and tributes

After his death, a “Bogie Cult” formed at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as Greenwich Village, New York and in France, which contributed to his spike in popularity in the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1997, Entertainment Weekly magazine named him the number one movie legend of all time. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the Greatest Male Star of All Time.

Jean-Luc Godard‘s Breathless (1960) was the first film to pay tribute to Bogart. Later, in Woody Allen‘s comic tribute to Bogart Play It Again, Sam (1972), Bogart’s ghost comes to the aid of Allen’s bumbling character, a movie critic with woman troubles and whose “sex life has turned into the ‘Petrified Forest'”.

Awards and honors

On August 21, 1946, Humphrey Bogart was honored in a ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater to record his hand and footprints in cement. On February 8, 1960 he was posthumously given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6322 Hollywood Boulevard. During his career he was nominated for several awards including the BAFTA award for best foreign actor in 1952 for The African Queen and three Academy Awards.

Academy Awards
Year Award Film y/n
1943 Best Actor Casablanca Nominated
1951 Best Actor The African Queen Won
1954 Best Actor The Caine Mutiny Nominated

In 1997, the United States Postal Service honored Bogart with a stamp bearing his image in its “Legends of Hollywood” series as the third figure to be recognized. At a formal ceremony attended by Lauren Bacall, and the Bogart children, Stephen and Leslie, Tirso del Junco, the chairman of the governing board of the USPS, provided an eloquent tribute:

“Today, we mark another chapter in the Bogart legacy. With an image that is small and yet as powerful as the ones he left in celluloid, we will begin today to bring his artistry, his power, his unique star quality, to the messages that travel the world.”

On June 24, 2006, a section of 103rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City was renamed “Humphrey Bogart Place”. Lauren Bacall and her son Stephen Bogart were present at the commemorative event. “Bogie would never have believed it,” Lauren Bacall expressed to the assembled group of city officials and onlookers in attendance.

In popular culture

Humphrey Bogart’s life has inspired writers and others:

  • Two Bugs Bunny cartoons featured Humphrey Bogart:
    • In Slick Hare (1947), Bogart orders fried rabbit in a Hollywood restaurant. Told that they do not have any, he becomes insistent, leading waiter Elmer Fudd to try (unsuccessfully as usual) to serve Bugs as the meal. Bogart finally gives up, saying: “Baby will just have to have a ham sandwich instead.” – “Baby” being Bacall’s nickname. Bugs, upon hearing the name, immediately presents himself and goes completely ga-ga over Bacall, who looks on with amusement.
    • In 8 Ball Bunny (1950) Bugs decides to take a baby penguin back to the South Pole. At intervals, “Fred C. Dobbs” (Bogart’s character in Treasure of the Sierra Madre) appears and asks Bugs to “help out a fellow American who’s down on his luck” – a line Bogart says a number of times in the film to Walter Huston, playing an American gringo.
  • Bogart is featured in one of Woody Allen‘s comic movies, Play It Again, Sam (1972), which relates the story of a young man obsessed by his persona.
  • Issue No.70 of the US The Phantom (1977) comic book is known as the “Bogart” issue, as the story stars Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Claude Rains and is a mixture of Casablanca, The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
  • The Man with Bogart’s Face (1981) was an homage to Bogart and starred Bogart lookalike Robert Sacchi.
  • The slang term “bogarting” refers to taking an unfairly long time with a joint that is supposed to be shared. It derives from Bogart’s style of cigarette smoking, with which he left his cigarette dangling from his mouth rather than withdrawing it between puffs. The term also inspired a 1968 song Don’t Bogart Me (also known as Don’t Bogart That Joint) by US band Fraternity of Man, which became popular in counterculture through its inclusion in the soundtrack of the 1969 film Easy Rider, and the song Don’t Bogart My Heart by Australian singer/songwriter Darren Hanlon. “Bogart” can also refer to coercion or bullying in African-American slang
  • 2HB is a song written by Bryan Ferry and first recorded by Roxy Music for their 1972 debut album, Roxy Music. Ferry also recorded a version for his 1976 solo album, Let’s Stick Together. The title is a pun, not about the European nomenclature of pencil leads, but a dedication to Bogart (“2HB” = “to Humphrey Bogart”). In particular, the song references “Casablanca”.

Bogart is credited with five of the American Film Institute’s top 100 quotations in American cinema, the most by any actor:

  • 5th: “Here’s looking at you, kid” – Casablanca
  • 14th: “The stuff that dreams are made of.” – The Maltese Falcon
  • 20th: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” – Casablanca
  • 43rd: “We’ll always have Paris.” – Casablanca
  • 67th: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” – Casablanca

Bogart is also credited with one of the top movie misquotations. In Casablanca, neither he nor anyone else ever said, “Play it again, Sam,” although that “quote” is widely credited to him, and is the title of the Woody Allen tribute movie. When Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), his former love, first enters the Café Americain, she spots Sam, the piano player (Dooley Wilson) and asks him to “Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake.” When he feigns ignorance, she responds, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'” Later that night, alone with Sam, Rick says, “You played it for her and you can play it for me,” and “If she can stand it, I can! Play it!”

Happy Birthday Cary Grant!

18 Jan

The Original Gentleman

Cary Grant (born Archibald Alexander Leach; January 18, 1904 – November 29, 1986) was an English-born American film and stage actor.

Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and “dashing good looks”, Grant is considered one of classic Hollywood‘s definitive leading men.

Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. He was known for both comedic and dramatic roles; his best-known films include The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gunga Din (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Notorious (1946), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), To Catch A Thief (1955), An Affair to Remember (1957), North by Northwest (1959) and Charade (1963).

Nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor (Penny Serenade and None But the Lonely Heart) and five times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Grant was continually passed over. In 1970, he was presented an Honorary Oscar at the 42nd Academy Awards by Frank Sinatra “for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues”.

Archibald Alexander Leach was born at 15 Hughenden Road, Horfield, Bristol, to Elsie Maria (née Kingdon; 1877–1973) and Elias James Leach (1873–1935). An only child, Leach had an unhappy upbringing, attending Bishop Road Primary School. His mother had suffered from clinical depression since the death of a previous child. Her husband placed her in a mental institution, and told his nine-year-old son only that she had gone away on a “long holiday”. Believing she was dead, Grant did not learn otherwise until he was 31 and discovered her alive in a care facility. When Grant was 10, his father abandoned him after remarrying and having a baby with his new young wife.

Grant was expelled from the Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol in 1918. After joining the “Bob Pender Stage Troupe”, Leach performed as a stilt walker and traveled with the group to the United States in 1920 at the age of 16 on the RMS Olympic, on a two-year tour of the country. He was processed at Ellis Island on 28 July 1920.

When the troupe returned to the UK, he decided to stay in the U.S. and continue his stage career. During this time, he became a part of the vaudeville world and toured with Parker, Rand and Leach. Still using his birth name, he performed on the stage at The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri, in such shows as Irene (1931), Music in May (1931), Nina Rosa (1931), Rio Rita (1931), Street Singer (1931), The Three Musketeers (1931) and Wonderful Night (1931). Leach’s experience on stage as a stilt walker, acrobat, juggler and mime taught him “phenomenal physical grace and exquisite comic timing” and the value of teamwork, skills which would benefit him in Hollywood.

Grant later became a naturalized United States citizen, on June 26, 1942, at which time he also legally changed his name from “Archibald Alexander Leach” to “Cary Grant”.

After appearing in several musicals on Broadway under the name Archie Leach, Grant went to Hollywood in 1931. When told to change his name, he proposed “Cary Lockwood”, the name of the character he had played in the Broadway show Nikki, based upon the recent film The Last Flight. He signed with Paramount Pictures, where studio bosses decided that the name “Cary” was acceptable, but that “Lockwood” was too similar to another actor’s surname. Paramount gave their new actor a list of surnames to choose from, and he selected “Grant” because the initials C and G had already proved lucky for Clark Gable and Gary Cooper, two of Hollywood’s biggest film stars.

Grant appeared as a leading man opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932), and his stardom was given a further boost by Mae West when she chose him for her leading man in two of her most successful films, She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel (both 1933). I’m No Angel was a tremendous financial success and, along with She Done Him Wrong, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, saved Paramount from bankruptcy. Paramount put Grant in a series of unsuccessful films until 1936, when he signed with Columbia Pictures. His first major comedy hit was when he was loaned to Hal Roach‘s studio for the 1937 Topper (which was distributed by MGM).

The Awful Truth (1937) was a pivotal film in Grant’s career, establishing for him a screen persona as a sophisticated light comedy leading man. As Grant later wrote, “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.” Grant is said to have based his characterization in The Awful Truth on the mannerisms and intonations of the film’s director, Leo McCarey, whom he resembled physically. As writer/director Peter Bogdanovich noted, “After The Awful Truth, when it came to light comedy, there was Cary Grant and then everyone else was an also-ran.”

Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story

The Awful Truth began what The Atlantic later called “what would be the most spectacular run ever for an actor in American pictures.” During the next four years, Grant appeared in several classic romantic comedies and screwball comedies, including Holiday (1938) and Bringing Up Baby (1938, both opposite Katharine Hepburn); The Philadelphia Story (1940) with Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart; His Girl Friday (1940) with Rosalind Russell; and My Favorite Wife (1940), which reunited him with Irene Dunne, his co-star in The Awful Truth. During this time he also made the adventure films Gunga Din with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Only Angels Have Wings (both 1939) with Jean Arthur and Rita Hayworth, and dramas Penny Serenade (1941, also with Dunne) and Suspicion (1941, the first of Grant’s four collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock).

Grant remained one of Hollywood’s top box-office attractions for almost 30 years. Howard Hawks said that Grant was “so far the best that there isn’t anybody to be compared to him”. David Thomson called him “the best and most important actor in the history of the cinema“.

Grant was a favorite of Hitchcock, who called him “the only actor I ever loved in my whole life”.[15] Besides Suspicion, Grant appeared in the Hitchcock classics Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest (1959). Biographer Patrick McGilligan wrote that, in 1965, Hitchcock asked Grant to star in Torn Curtain (1966), only to learn that Grant had decided to retire after making one more film, Walk, Don’t Run (1966); Paul Newman was cast instead, opposite Julie Andrews. Producers Broccoli and Saltzman originally sought Cary Grant for the role of James Bond in Dr. No, but discarded the idea as Grant would be committed to only one feature film, and the producers decided to go after someone who could be part of a franchise.

In the mid-1950s, Grant formed his own production company, Granart Productions, and produced a number of films distributed by Universal, such as Operation Petticoat (1959), Indiscreet (1958), That Touch of Mink (co-starring with Doris Day, 1962), and Father Goose (1964). In 1963, he appeared opposite Audrey Hepburn in Charade. His last feature film was Walk, Don’t Run three years later, with Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton.

Grant was the first actor to “go independent” by not renewing his studio contract, effectively leaving the studio system, which almost completely controlled what an actor could or could not do. In this way, Grant was able to control every aspect of his career, at the risk of not working because no particular studio had an interest in his career long term. He decided which films he was going to appear in, he often had personal choice of the directors and his co-stars and at times even negotiated a share of the gross revenue, something uncommon at the time. Grant received more than $700,000 for his 10% of the gross for To Catch a Thief, while Hitchcock received less than $50,000 for directing and producing it.

Grant was nominated for two Academy Awards, for Penny Serenade (1941) and None But the Lonely Heart (1944), but never won a competitive Oscar; he received a special Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1970. Accepting the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 1965, Father Goose co-writer Peter Stone had quipped, “My thanks to Cary Grant, who keeps winning these things for other people.” In 1981, Grant was accorded the Kennedy Center Honors.

Grant poked fun at himself with statements such as, “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant—even I want to be Cary Grant,”sometimes elaborating, “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.” He poked fun at himself in ad-lib lines—such as in the film His Girl Friday, saying, “I never had so much fun since Archie Leach died”, and in Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) a gravestone is seen bearing the name Archie Leach. According to an extremely famous story now believed to be apocryphal, after seeing a telegram from a magazine editor to his agent asking “How old Cary Grant?” Grant reportedly responded with “Old Cary Grant fine. How you?”

Personal life

Second wife Barbara Hutton

Marriages, relationships and sexuality

Grant was married five times. He wed Virginia Cherrill on February 10, 1934. She divorced him on 26 March 1935, following charges that Grant had hit her. In 1942, he married Barbara Hutton, one of the wealthiest women in the world, and became a father figure to her son, Lance Reventlow. The couple was derisively nicknamed “Cash and Cary”, although in an extensive prenuptial agreement Grant refused any financial settlement in the event of a divorce. After divorcing in 1945, they remained lifelong friends. Grant always bristled at the accusation that he married for money: “I may not have married for very sound reasons, but money was never one of them.”

Wife Betsy Drake in trailer of her film with Grant, Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)

On December 25, 1949, Grant married Betsy Drake. He appeared with her in two films. This would prove to be his longest marriage, ending on August 14, 1962. Drake introduced Grant to LSD, and in the early 1960s he related how treatment with the hallucinogenic drug—legal at the time—at a prestigious California clinic had finally brought him inner peace after yoga, hypnotism and mysticism had proved ineffective. Grant and Drake divorced in 1962.

He eloped with Dyan Cannon on July 22, 1965 in Las Vegas. Their daughter, Jennifer Grant, was born prematurely on February 26, 1966. He frequently called her his “best production” and regretted that he had not had children sooner. They divorced in 1968.

On April 11, 1981, Grant married Barbara Harris, a British hotel public-relations agent, who was 47 years his junior. They renewed their vows on their fifth wedding anniversary. (Fifteen years after Grant’s death, Harris would marry former Kansas Jayhawks All-American quarterback David Jaynes in 2001.)

Some, including Hedda Hopper and screenwriter Arthur Laurents, have said that Grant was bisexual. Grant allegedly was involved with costume designer Orry-Kelly when he first moved to Manhattan, and lived with actor Randolph Scott off and on for 12 years. Richard Blackwell wrote that Grant and Scott were “deeply, madly in love”,. Scotty Bowers alleged in his memoir Full Service, published in 2012, that he was a lover of both Grant and Scott.All of these claims were published many years after Grant had died.

Barbara, Grant’s widow, has disputed that there was a relationship with Scott. When Chevy Chase joked about Grant’s being gay in a television interview, Grant sued him for slander; they settled out of court. However, Grant’s one-time girlfriend Maureen Donaldson wrote in her 1989 memoir, An Affair to Remember: My Life with Cary Grant, that Grant told her that his first two wives had accused him of being homosexual. In Chaplin’s Girl, a biography of Virginia Cherrill (Grant’s first wife), the writer Miranda Seymour acknowledged that Grant and Scott were only platonic friends.

Former showgirl Lisa Medford claimed that Cary Grant wanted her to have his child, but she did not want children.Grant’s daughter Jennifer Grant denied that her father was gay in her 2011 memoir.  Jennifer’s mother, Dyan Cannon, Grant’s fourth wife, also denied that Grant was gay when she was promoting her memoir of Grant in 2012. Betsy Drake, in an interview during the American Movie Classics Channel’s documentary on Grant’s life, was quoted as saying that “When we were married we were fucking like rabbits.”

Politics

Cary Grant in 1973

Grant did not think film stars should publicly make political declarations. Grant described his politics and his reticence about them this way:

I’m opposed to actors taking sides in public and spouting spontaneously about love, religion or politics. We aren’t experts on these subjects. Personally I’m a mass of inconsistencies when it comes to politics. My opinions are constantly changing. That’s why I don’t ever take a public stand on issues.

Throughout his life, Grant maintained personal friendships with colleagues of varying political stripes, and his few political activities seemed to be shaped by personal friendships. Repulsed by the human costs to many in Hollywood, Grant publicly condemned McCarthyism in 1953, and when his friend Charlie Chaplin was blacklisted, Grant insisted that the actor’s artistic value outweighed political concerns Grant was also a friend of the Kennedy brothers and maintained close ties with the Mankiewicz family, particularly Robert Kennedy‘s press secretary Frank Mankiewicz. He hosted one of Robert Kennedy’s first political fundraisers at his home. He made one of his rare statements on public issues following the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, calling for gun control.

In 1976, after his retirement from films, Grant made his one overtly partisan appearance in introducing his friend Betty Ford, the First Lady of the United States, at the Republican National Convention. Even in this he maintained some distance from partisanship, speaking of “your” party, rather than “ours” in his remarks.

Retirement and death

Cary Grant in 1949; he had the mole on his cheek removed the following year.

Cary Grant retired from the screen at 62 when his daughter Jennifer was born, in order to focus on bringing her up and to provide a sense of permanency and stability in her life. While bringing up his daughter, he archived artifacts of her childhood and adolescence in a (bank quality) room sized vault he had installed in the house. His daughter attributed this meticulous collection to the fact that artifacts of his own childhood had been destroyed during the Luftwaffe’s bombing of Bristol in the Second World War (an event that also claimed the lives of his uncle, aunt and cousin as well as the cousin’s husband and grandson) and he may have wanted to prevent her from experiencing a similar loss.

Although Grant had retired from the screen, he remained active.

In the late 1960s, he accepted a position on the board of directors at Fabergé. By all accounts this position was not honorary, as some had assumed; Grant regularly attended meetings and his mere appearance at a product launch would almost certainly guarantee its success. The position also permitted use of a private plane, which Grant could use to fly to see his daughter wherever her mother, Dyan Cannon, was working. He later joined the boards of Hollywood Park, the Academy of Magical Arts (The Magic Castle, Hollywood, California), Western Airlines (now Delta Air Lines) and MGM.[34]

He was a keen motoring enthusiast and owned many notable cars like many other Hollywood stars of the era. One of the first he owned was a 1929 Cadillac Cabriolet. His love of Cadillacs never waned and he later purchased a Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. Other cars that he owned included an MG Magnette and a Sunbeam Alpine series one roadster.

Statue of Cary Grant in Millennium Square, Bristol

In the last few years of his life, Grant undertook tours of the United States in a one-man show, A Conversation with Cary Grant, in which he would show clips from his films and answer audience questions. Grant was preparing for a performance at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa, on the afternoon of November 29, 1986, when he sustained a cerebral hemorrhage (he had previously suffered a stroke in October 1984). He died at 11:22 p.m. in St. Luke’s Hospital at the age of 82. The bulk of his estate, worth millions of dollars, went to his fifth wife, Barbara Harris, and his daughter, Jennifer Grant.

Legacy

In 2001, a statue of Grant was erected in Millennium Square, a regenerated area next to the harbour in his city of birth, Bristol.

In November 2005, Grant came in first in the “The 50 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time” list by Premiere Magazine. Richard Schickel, the film critic, said about Grant: “He’s the best star actor there ever was in the movies.”

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17 Jan

                                            

Secrets of Highclere Castle – Home of Downton Abbey

17 Jan

Famous as the location backdrop to the hugely-popular costume drama Downton Abbey, the castle also has its own extraordinary tales to tell.

For centuries it has been the real-life home of the aristocratic Carnarvon family, and has entertained Kings and Queens of England along with a host of nobilities and celebrities. An ancestor of the modern-day Lord and Lady Carnarvon bankrolled the expeditions that discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen, which explains one of this stately home’s astonishing secrets. Hidden within secret compartments in its wall are centuries-old Egyptian relics, while in the basement are replicas of the contents of the tomb itself: a slice of Egyptian history transported to the depths of the English countryside.

The show explores Highclere’s illustrious history and reveals that truth can often be stranger than fiction. Many of the events played-out in the fictional Downton Abbey are based-upon true tales from Highclere’s past. Just like its television counterpart, the castle was, for example, a military hospital that played a vital role in the First World War. The hospital, complete with operating theater, was set-up and run by the fabulously wealthy Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, who traded the trappings of her comfortable aristocratic life for the chance to nurse wounded officers brought home from the battlefront.

 

In the early years of the 20th Century,English aristocrats owned more than half of the land in the country, and the phrase ‘nothing exceeds like excess’ was coined to describe their lifestyles. It was a world of luxury and indolence for a wealthy few, supported by an army of servants toiling ceaselessly “below stairs” to make the privileged lives of their Lords and Ladies run as smoothly as possible. And Highclere was no exception. It was deemed, the social epicenter of Edwardian England, and even hosted HRH The Prince of Wales, the future King of England, for the most extravagant shooting party in Highclere’s history.  The bill came to a staggering thirty thousand dollars just to feed the guests.

Unsurprisingly, such highlife took its toll on the pockets of the aristocrats. Owners of British manor houses were “land rich,” but “cash poor,” and many sought out rich wives as a means of improving their financial fortunes. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon earned new money for the estate through his marriage to a teenage heiress named Almina Wombwell, the illegitimate daughter of banking giant Alfred De Rothschild. She gained a title and access to High Society: he gained access to her fabulous wealth.

Even so, the social and political changes that followed the end of the war in 1918 were to spell ruin for many British country estates. Huge increases in income tax and death duties meant that many families were forced to sell homes that had stood proud for centuries. For British aristocracy it was the end of life as they knew it.  Great country estates fell into ruin and many were demolished. Life at Highclere changed forever – but the house withstood it all.

Today, the castle remains the family home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon. At around a million dollars a year in upkeep, the life of the English nobility is no longer one of extravagant parties and opulence. Secrets of Highclere Castle gives a privileged, behind-the-scenes taste of what it is like to be a modern-day Lord and Lady living in a home with 1300 years of English history.

About Secrets of the Manor House

Exactly 100 years ago, the world of the British manor house was at its height. It was a life of luxury and indolence for a wealthy few supported by the labor of hundreds of servants toiling ceaselessly “below stairs” to make the lives of their lords and ladies run as smoothly as possible. It is a world that has provided a majestic backdrop to a range of movies and popular costume dramas to this day, including PBS’ Downton Abbey.

But what was really going on behind these stately walls? Secrets of the Manor House looks beyond the fiction to the truth of what life was like in these British houses of yesteryear. They were communities where two separate worlds existed side by side: the poor worked as domestic servants, while the nation’s wealthiest families enjoyed a lifestyle of luxury, and aristocrats ruled over their servants as they had done for a thousand years.

Maids ironing and doing the laundry at Petworth House.

Lord Egremont, Petworth House

Maids ironing and doing the laundry at Petworth House.

The program talks to present-day British lords and ladies and to the descendants of those who lived and worked in manor houses across the country. A series of expert historians explain the true picture of how life was lived within the walls of these stately homes that had changed very little for centuries. It explains the hierarchy of the British establishment: led by the king with a supporting cast of dukes, earls and barons, each keenly aware of his or her place. It visits modern manor houses, where aristocratic families sometimes still rule over scores of servants, in homes with 100 and more bedrooms, and where the lord still enjoys a luxurious life of hunting, shooting and fishing among the beauty of rural Britain. And it details the true hardship of life as a “downstairs” servant: maids would carry 45 gallons of hot water along hidden servants’ passageways to fill one aristocratic lady’s bath, and a housemaid’s day would start before dawn and last for 17 hours as she scrubbed floors, cleaned grates and carried coal — all for a wage of $15 a year.

But, precisely a century ago, a perfect storm of financial hardship and political and social change was threatening to engulf this traditional British way of life. Some impoverished British aristocrats married wealthy American heiresses to prop up and sustain their fading manor houses; the working classes were finding a voice and demanding both political power and better jobs; and the terrible disaster of World War I was looming in the wings. When war came, nothing in the life of the British manor house was ever the same again.

 

Downton Abbey Season 3

16 Jan

The Crawley Sisters – Daughters of Downton Abbey

After a very long wait, Downtown Abbey has not only returned but sure has stormed into 2013 with more drama, excitement, intrigue, loss and hope than anyone could have hoped for.  While most viewers are still in “shock and awe” from Lady Edith being left at the alter, let us not forget the other very powerful moments of Season 3, Episode 2!

First, let’s begin with Daisy’s seemingly growing affection for the new kitchen help. Have any of you noticed how strikingly similar he looks to William, her husband who died in Season 2? In fact, when I first saw this character, I thought it was William! Anyhow, I am sure there is a richly developing story there as he is a handsome lad indeed and he has already dipped  into the “Downstairs Crew” by smooching one of the other new characters whose presence at Downton is assumed to be short-lived, however, I think she may be around for much longer than any of us think.

Now for the not-so-shocking shocker. Sir Anthony leaves Lady Edith at the alter in all her bridal glory. I have to add that Mary spoke briefly with Lady Edith just before she entered the church and I was surprised and almost proud of Mary’s admission : “Dearest Edith, I know we haven’t always gotten along , and I doubt things change much in the future, but today I wish  you all the luck in the world”. What a poignant moment as Edith consistently shared her enthusiasm that all of the sisters will now be married = success. However, it was not to be for Lady Edith Crawley and Sir Anthony Strallan as his senses finally came to him moments before the duo were to exchange vows. Ever the sharp-tongued matriarch, Dowager Countess immediately intervenes as soon as the words leave Sir Anthony’s lips. She sarcastically comments, “That’s the smartest thing you’ve come  up with in 6 months!”

Edith, as expected, is devastated. She is already convinced that she is going to end up an old maid. I do believe, in time, she will come to be thankful for Sir Anthony’s very excellent decision to not marry her, although, that will take some time. Lord Robert quickly informs the staff to usher any and all wedding related things put away so as not to cause any additional heartache for Lady Edith. This decision results in quite a nice dinner for the staff as they now have the opportunity to dine on lobster and some very very fine foods.

In the middle of all of this we see more of the durgy Mr. Bates in prison as he continues to acclimate to that social climate. Other inmates attempt to plant contraband in his cell but another inmate gives him the heads up and he is able to locate the item as guards are walking in to search his cell. Mr. Bates seems very clear that this is no joke and you can sense a shift in him….one where it feels like he might just end up being the bad guy after all. Only time will tell as Mr. Bates seems to be such an adored character.

Lastly, we find out at that Mrs. Hughes’ ailment is nothing to be concerned with and is not, in fact, cancer as suspected. You can feel her relief and the relief of other household members upon sharing this news. I must say, my instincts tell me that Mrs. Hughes’ medical issues are not over with as I have a gut feeling she will be dealing with some very serious, and possibly, unexpected health concerns!

What a week it has been indeed! A cancer scare, a wedding, a jilted wedding, new staff kissing, threats of murder! It’s almost too much! Can’t wait to see what happens on next week’s episode of Downton Abbey!

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