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The Religious Affiliation of
great American actor
In the biography that Stephen Humphrey Bogart wrote about his father (Bogart: In Search of My Father, Penguin Books, 1995), he had this to say about his father and his mother, actress Lauren Bacall:
My mother was a lapsed Jew, and my father was a lapsed Episcopalian. Neither of my parents had any strong belief in God, but, like many parents, they sent their children to Sunday school, out of a vague sense that religion was a good thing for a kid. We were being raised Episcopalian rather than Jewish because my mother felt that would make life easier for Leslie and me during those post-World War II years.
Bogart was buried at All Saint Episcopal Church (Bogart: In Search of My Father, pg. 66).
...In that tree [at the age of 8] I gave up a belief in God, and nothing I have seen in the last thirty-seven years has changed my mind on that point.
From: Axel Madsen, John Huston: A Biography, Doubleday and Company: Garden City, New York (1978), page 160:
John [Huston] returned to Hollywood for the editing on New Year's Day 1957 and to see Bogey one last time. Bogart died January 13, three weeks after his fifty-sixth birthday. Betty asked John to say a few words at the funeral service at the Beverly Hills All Saints Episcopal Church.
Bogart: In Search of My Father, pages 152-153:
My father was also a "personal-religionist," which is a phrase I never heard until I read it in a press release about him. Basically, it means he didn't practice his religion...
Bogart: In Search of My Father, page 15:
[Bogart's son Stephen was christened in an Episcopal Church as a child.]
"Bogie was not a religious man," my mother says. "But he was a great believer in the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule."
Nat Benchley says, "His moral code was strict, and was based on, and almost indistinguishable from, the Ten Commandments. He didn't always obey them, but he believed in them."
Because Dad [Humphrey Bogart] was uncomfortable with kids, there are not many stories about Bogie and children before I came along. But one of them is that when Bogie was married to Mary Philips, he was godfather to the son of his friends John and Eleanor Halliday. Bogie once offered to take the boy to lunch. When the day came, he said to Eleanor Halliday, "For God's sake, what do you talk to a thirteen-year-old boy about?"
From: Darwin Porter, The Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart: The Early Years (1899-1931), The Georgia Literary Association: Staten Island, New York (2003), page 9:
"Well," she said, "you're his godfather. That means you're supposed to be in charge of his religious instruction."
Later, when the boy returned from lunch his mother asked him, "What did you and Mr. Bogart talk about?"
"Not much," the boy told her. "Mr. Bogart said, 'Listen, kid, there are twelve commandments,' and then he ordered a drink."
What [Humphrey Bogart's] parents didn't pass on to their son was their political conservatism. Belmont was a Republican and a Presbyterian. Maud a Tory an Episcopalian. Humphrey would grow up to become a liberal Democrat.
Humphrey Bogart's mother Maud was anti-Semitic, a trait not shared by her son. From Porter, page 14:
Born on Christmas Day, 1899... He'd had an elongated foreskin, and his doctor father had recommended circumcision. Maud had been adamantly opposed, claiming that "was a barbaric Jewish custom."
"Father wants me to study medicine and follow in his footsteps."
Porter, page 23:
"Become anything but a shyster lawyer," Mencken [a famous journalist] said. "I detest lawyers, especially Jewish lawyers. They are the worst."
Hump [Humphrey] silently noted that Mencken shared Maud's anti-Semitism.
It wasn't until an hour later, after Lee had gone, that Maud stormed into his bedroom. "Don't you ever invite that stinking little tramp into my house again," she yelled at her son.
..."She's a slimy Jew," Maud charged. "I don't want a son of mine going out with a Jewess. These money-changers are the anti-Christ. They have no appreciation of the finer things of life. They're all about greed and chicanery. They are the bottom-feeders of life."
"Jews are just as good as anybody else," Hump [Humphrey] said. "No better, no worse."
Webpage created 24 June 2005. Last modified 19 July 2005.
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