Humphrey Bogart was born and raised in New York City, with a brief stint at a prep school in Andover, Massachusetts. He died in 1957 in Holmby Hills, California of smoking-related cancer.
Bogart’s mother was Episcopalian and his father a Presbyterian. Neither were very religious, though they officially raised Bogey as an Episcopalian.
He never really became religious at any point in his life, according to the accounts of his friends and family. His son, Stephen, wrote:
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.
Bogart’s fourth marriage was to Jewish actress, Lauren Bacall, though she was not religious either. Bogart’s friends described him as instilled with Christian values. For example, actor and writer Nat Benchley said:
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.
But other accounts paint a different picture. The story goes that Bogey was tending to one of his godsons, and was told that his role as godfather was to give the boy some sort of religious instruction. When the boy returned from a lunch date with Bogart, he said:
Mr. Bogart said, ‘Listen, kid, there are twelve commandments,’ and then he ordered a drink.
Politics, simple and straightforward, Bogey-style
I’ll let Bogart give you the rundown on his religious-political identity:
Democrat in politics, Episcopalian by upbringing, dissenter by disposition.
Well, we’ve covered that he probably wasn’t the greatest Episcopalian, but what about the other stuff?
In terms of being a Democrat, other than supporting Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s and Harry Truman’s respective campaigns and presidencies, there isn’t much. Unless you count his opposition to Republicans Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon’s House Un-American Committee. Bogart spoke out against the Committee, saying:
They’ll nail anyone who ever scratched his ass during the National Anthem.
But for his comments, and his defense of other Hollywood celebrities who were called to testify before the committee, Bogart was threatened with being blacklisted from working in Hollywood, and he recanted his position. Not one to stick to his guns when his career was on the line.
But he was certainly a “dissenter by disposition.” He said:
The only good reason to have money is this: so that you can tell any SOB in the world to go to hell.