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Son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Recalls Growing up With the Hollywood Legends

Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images

Few names in Hollywood history evoke the same mystique and admiration as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Theirs was a love story set against the backdrop of classic cinema, filled with glamour, talent, and enduring appeal. Through the eyes of their son, Stephen Bogart, we gain a deeper understanding of these iconic figures’ lives, loves, and legacies.

Saying goodbye to the Hollywood legend

Portrait of Humphrey Bogart.
A portrait of actor Humphrey Bogart. (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

The year 1957 marked a somber moment in Hollywood history as Humphrey Bogart, one of its most beloved stars, bid farewell to the world. After an 11-month battle with cancer, Bogart passed away at the age of 57, leaving behind an unparalleled legacy in film. Stephen Bogart reflects on his father’s departure, stating, “When my father died there were 3,000 people I didn’t know at the funeral. I figured there was something different. And there certainly was.” Bogart’s passing marked the end of an era, but his impact on cinema would endure for generations.

Despite his father’s absence during much of his childhood due to Bogart’s busy career, Stephen remembers vivid moments of bonding, such as their time on their boat, the Santana. “He would take me down to the Santana… I remember going to Catalina Island and swimming back… I made it and he was very proud of me,” recalls Bogart. These memories remain etched in Stephen’s mind, reminding him of his father’s pride and love.

Preserving Bogart’s legacy

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall toasting their drinks to the camera.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall attend a cocktail party at the Calvados Cabaret Club on the Champs Elysees, Paris, 1951. (Photo Credit: FPG / Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Stephen Bogart has made it his mission to ensure that his father’s legacy remains alive and vibrant. As the co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, he works tirelessly to introduce new audiences to classic Hollywood charm. “We’re trying to do stuff that will reach a lot of people,” says Bogart. “We try to do things that not only keep him alive but classic Hollywood alive.” Through partnerships like Bogart’s Spirits, inspired by his father’s love for cocktails, Stephen keeps the spirit of Bogie alive in the modern world.

Most recently, the estate launched a partnership with ROK Drinks to offer Bogart’s Spirits, honoring the actor’s fondness for cocktails. “My dad liked a wide variety of spirits, but he preferred gin and whiskey,” shares Bogart. This initiative not only celebrates Bogart’s legacy but also keeps classic Hollywood alive for contemporary audiences.

Bogart and Bacall’s beautiful romance

Humphrey Bogart caressing Lauren Bacall's neck.
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in a scene from the 1947 film, “Dark Passage.” (Photo Credit: Donaldson Collection / Getty Images)

The romance between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall is the stuff of Hollywood legend. Their on-screen chemistry in To Have and Have Not ignited a real-life love affair that captivated the world. Stephen fondly recalls his parents’ relationship, stating, “She was pretty good looking. She was 19 and he was 44. But I think it was her strength… She didn’t take crap from anybody.” Their love endured until Bogart’s passing, leaving behind a legacy of one of Hollywood’s most iconic couples.

Bogart and Bacall’s love story extended beyond the silver screen. “When he’d come home from work, he would want to have dinner with her,” recalls Bogart. “They were in love. And they were good together. They were man and wife.” Their bond serves as a timeless example of love and partnership in the golden age of Hollywood.

Stephen shared a strong connection with his mother

Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and their son Stephen.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bogart look lovingly at their son, Stephen, on July 11, 1952. (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

Bacall passed away in 2014 at the age of 89, and Stephen explained how her final years were tough for her. “She was sick and in bed a lot,” he said. “The last couple of years, they weren’t great for her. Not that they’re great for anybody as they go down that road, as I’m now 70 years old. She had a couple of illnesses and she really didn’t go out much. She liked to stay at home. I don’t know how you feel when you get to that point, but… it wasn’t great for her. She was used to getting up and doing things, going out. She had assistants there for her all the time if she needed them. But I think it was a very tough time for her, those last few years.”

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When asked what he misses most about Bacall, he said, “Just the fact that she’s not here anymore, you know? Being able to talk to her. I left home to go to boarding school when I was 13. I didn’t really live with her after that, but she was always there to talk to and just to hear her voice. I think hearing her voice is a big thing.”

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When asked if he ever thought to pursue the family business, he said absolutely not. “How do you compete with that?” he said. “The comparisons would have been obvious. No, never. Plus, I was lousy at it. I was in a couple of plays in high school. I wasn’t very good. I couldn’t do it. I just wasn’t very good at all. It’s not an easy thing to do, to be someone else.”

June Steele

June Steele is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News