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Legends of Hollywood

Humphrey Bogart [1899-1957]

Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe
Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade

July 31, 1997, Scott #3152
(of a pane of 20)
photo., perf: 11.1

...designed by Michael Deas,
based on the (1946) movie poster
for The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe).

(click to enlarge)

USPS issues Bogie Stamp

HOLLYWOOD - Humphrey Bogart, whose name is synonymous with the golden age of American film, took center stage again today when a U.S. postage stamp bearing his likeness was issued here. Lauren Bacall, legendary actress and wife of Bogart, and their children, Stephen and Leslie, were on hand when the stamp made its premiere in a ceremony at Mann's Chinese Theater -- a Hollywood landmark and the site of some of Hollywood's most glamorous and star-studded movie premieres.

Bacall and her children joined Tirso del Junco, M.D., chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors; Postmaster General Marvin Runyon; Jean Picker Firstenberg, director and CEO, American Film Institute (AFI); and Sandy Reisenbach, executive vice president, corporate marketing and strategic planning, Warner Bros., in dedicating the stamp. Anjelica Huston, whose father John directed Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and Across The Pacific, was the master of ceremonies. Jim Moret, host of CNN's "Showbiz Today," conducted pre-event interviews with arriving participants and guests. "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," said del Junco.

Born on Christmas Day in 1899, Humphrey Deforest Bogart began his career as an assistant stage manager in the theater, becoming an actor by chance -- taking over for an actor who missed a performance. After that, he appeared in seven hit Broadway shows in a row culminating with his 1937 enormous success as Duke Mantee in Robert Sherwood's The Petrified Forest, with Leslie Howard later reprising his role in the film version. With a career that included more than 75 films, he appeared in supporting roles in many Warner Bros. pictures, finally moving on by starring in such classics as High Sierra, Sahara, The Maltese Falcon, and Across The Pacific, both of which were directed by John Huston.

Then came Casablanca, To Have And Have Not, The Big Sleep, Key Largo and many more. Bogart was nominated for an Academy Award for Treasure Of The Sierra Madre and The Caine Mutiny, and finally won the Oscar for The African Queen. "Bogie died more than 40 years ago only to re-emerge as possibly the biggest star the motion picture industry has ever seen. This event is a tribute to him, not only as an extraordinary actor, but as an extraordinary man. We will not see his like again," said Bacall.

Firstenberg said, "For thirty years the AFI has advanced and preserved the art of film, television and all forms of the moving image. Humphrey Bogart played a starring role in the rich heritage of American film history and it gives us great pride to be part of the ceremony that will forever immortalize this movie icon on a U.S. postage stamp." Bogart joins Marilyn Monroe and James Dean as the third star in the Postal Service's "Legends of Hollywood" series, which showcases individuals who had a major impact on the development of American films. Michael Deas, who illustrated the stamp, based the image on a movie poster produced for The Big Sleep (1946). Deas, who has won awards for his stamp artwork, also designed the Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tennessee Williams stamps.

USPS press release

BK267 - booklet cover has a "window" to view actual stamps,
a folded 3×5 pane of the mini-sheet (including left selvage), tipped in.

USPS First Day Booklet

(click to enlarge)

Booklet text

Forty years after his death, the legend of "Bogie continues to captivate generations of movie lovers who treasure his films, his characters, his life.

Born Humphrey DeForest Bogart on Christmas day, 1899, his father was a well-to-do Manhattan surgeon who originally hoped his son would have a career in medicine. To prepare him for classes at Yale, Dr. Bogart sent Humphrey to the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, but he was dismissed showing a lack of interest in his studies. At the time, World War I was coming to a close, but, looking for excitement, Bogie joined the Navy. Disappointed with his brief stint, he later said, "I was sorry that the war had not touched me mentally."

Bogies acting career originated on a New York stage, followed by minor parts in hits and disasters in Broadway plays and Hollywood films. A big break came in 1936 when he played Duke Mantee, the last great prophet of rugged individualism", in the movie The Petrified Forest. His portrayal of the relentless, on-the-run killer placed him before the public eye.

Gradually Bogie's roles changed from those of violent criminals to more complex and memorable roles as individualistic romantic loners. High Sierra, released in 1941, was considered a cinematic turning point for him. His part as Roy "Mad Dog" Earle was his first chance to play a more complete character, sympathetic and affecting, finally a gangster with a soul. Later that year, Bogart played the part of Sam Spade, a ruthless private eye in The Maltese Falcon, and many agree that this performance established him as a star.

The famous Bogie characterization was soon followed by others: Rick Blaine in Casablanca, Harry Morgan in To Have and Have Not, and Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. It was during the filming of To Have and Have Not that he met and fell in love with Lauren Bacall.

Diverse films of the 1950s dramatically extended his range and secured Bogart's place as an actor with an eternal impact. His later characters included Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele in In A Lonely Place, Canadian lowlife Charlie Allnut in The African Queen, earning him an Academy Award, and psychotic Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny. Bogie continued to be a top box-office attraction through to the time of his death from cancer in January 1957. Only a few actors have achieved the lasting appeal and notoriety of Bogie.

The United States Postal Service is proud to honor Humphrey Bogart with the issuance of a 32-cent commemorative stamp. Designed by Michael Deas of Brooklyn Heights, New York, the Bogart stamp is the latest addition to the Postal Service's Legends of Hollywood series.

First Day Covers

Philip Marlowe at Thrilling Detectve.com

Sam Spade at Thrilling Detective.com