Humphrey Bogart And Lauren Bacall’s Son Opens Up About His Iconic Parents

One of Hollywood’s most classic movie pairings is Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The couple shared the silver screen on several occasions and met one another while working on a film together. Unfortunately, their union was short-lived. Bacall was only in her early 30s when her husband passed away.

Bogart and Bacall’s love story is legendary. The couple had a magnetic attraction that her children, who were very young when their father died, easily recognized. While the two acting giants are no longer on earth, their son has some strong memories about their life together that he’s now shared with the public.

Bogart And Bacall Had A 25-Year Age Difference

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According to the American Film Institute, Humphrey Bogart is the greatest male star of classic American cinema. He started his acting career following the end of World War I by appearing in several Broadway shows. He made his transition to the silver screen following the 1929 crash on Wall Street.

Bogart was born on Christmas Day 1899 in New York City. His mother was a descendant of one of the passengers on the Mayflower. His future wife, Lauren Bacall, was born in 1924, in The Bronx, New York City. She became known in Hollywood for her sultry looks and distinctive voice.

Read on to learn what it was like to have the Hollywood icons as parents.

Bogart Starred In Casablanca And Won An Oscar For The African Queen

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Bogart is probably best known for his role in 1942 iconic film Casablanca. He previously appeared in High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. Bogart’s star power continued to rise after he married Bacall. In 1951, he received the Best Actor Academy Award for his role in The African Queen, opposite Katharine Hepburn.

He continued to choose good roles, and in 1954 received another Oscar nomination for his part in The Caine Mutiny. Bogart acted in many movies over the years. He starred alongside Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa and Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina.

Bacall Was A Model And Starred Alongside Marilyn Monroe

Monroe and Bacall
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Before meeting Bogart, Lauren Bacall was a model. Once her acting career got going, she appeared in several romantic comedies, such as 1953’s How to Marry a Millionaire with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable and 1957’s Designing Woman with Gregory Peck.

Bacall also starred alongside John Wayne in his final film, The Shootist in 1976. In the ’70s, she appeared in several Broadway shows and won Tony Awards for 1970’s Applause and 1981’s Woman of the Year. In 1996, she was nominated for an Oscar for The Mirror Has Two Faces.

Bogart and Bacall had the epitome of a work romance.

Humphrey And Bacall Fell In Love On Set

Bogart and Bacall Fall in love
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Bogart and Lauren Bacall worked together for the first time in 1944. The pair starred in the film To Have and Have Not, and sparks flew. Just one year later, the couple tied the knot at Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio. The home was owned by Bogart’s close friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield.

The couple continued to work together after they got married. They starred in The Big Sleep (pictured above) as well as Dark Passage and Key Largo. Their son Stephen was born on January 6, 1949, while Bogart was filming Tokyo Joe.

Bogart Was Very Proud Of His Son

Bogart & Bacall

Stephen was just a little boy when his father passed away, and Bogart spent a lot of time working. But there are some memories that are still fresh for Stephen, particularly when it comes to Bogart’s boat, the “Santana.”

“He would take me down to the ‘Santana,'” Stephen explained. “Eventually, finally, when I learned how to swim, we would go out on the boat. I remember going to Catalina Island and swimming back… to the ‘Santana.’ I made it and he was very proud of me at that time because he knew that I knew how to swim. That kind of pride sticks with you.”

Their Son And Daughter Grew Up With Some Pretty Famous Neighbors

Bacall with children
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Stephen was Bogart and Bacall’s first child. He was named after a character in the film To Have and Have Not, the movie that brought the two famous icons together. In his early years, Stephen lived next door to Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland. Later in life, he became a documentary filmmaker, writer, and news producer.

Stephen and his wife have three adult children and currently live in Naples, Florida. His sister Leslie Howard Bogart was born in 1952. She was named after one of Bogart’s friends who starred alongside him in The Petrified Forest.

Bogart’s Lifestyle Shortened His Life

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A couple of years after celebrating his 10-year wedding anniversary, Bogart got very ill, largely due to his smoking and drinking habits. Bacall convinced him to seek medical help in 1956, and the actor was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Shortly afterward, doctors removed his entire esophagus, two lymph nodes, and a rib.

Unfortunately, the surgery didn’t improve Bogart’s health, and chemotherapy didn’t work either. He battled cancer for nearly a year, but he was unable to win the fight. In his last hours, he put his hand on his wife’s arm and reportedly told her, “Goodbye, kid,” before dying.

Numerous Hollywood Icons Visited Bogart The Day Before He Died And Attended His Funeral

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In January 1957, famous pals Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy visited him to say their last goodbyes to their ailing friend. Bogart died the next day.

The actor was just 57 years old when he passed away. His body had wasted away to a mere 80 pounds. His family organize a simple funeral, and some of the biggest stars in Hollywood attended, including Hepburn, Tracy, Judy Garland, future President Ronald Reagan, Bette Davis, Danny Kaye, Joan Fontaine, Marlene Dietrich, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, Billy Wilder, and Jack Warner.

Stephen didn’t quite realize how famous his father really was.

Stephen Was Shocked By The Number Of People At His Father’s Funeral

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Stephen Bogart realized that his father was an important figure when he attended the funeral. Stephen was just eight years old when his dad passed away. “When my father died there were 3,000 people I didn’t know at the funeral,” Bogart told Fox News in 2019. “I figured there was something different. And there certainly was.”

Bogart was buried with a very special memento. It was a charm bracelet with a tiny gold whistle on it. Bogart had given the jewelry to Bacall before they wed, and it included a very sweet inscription related to the first film they appeared in together, To Have and Have Not.

The Couple’s Charm Bracelet Showed How Much They Loved One Other

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In the film, Bacall famously tells Bogart, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” Even by today’s standards, that line is quite risque. The inscription on the bracelet read: “If you want anything, just whistle.” The jewelry was obviously very special to the family, and Bacall wanted her husband to have it by his side even in death.

Bogart was cremated, and his remains were interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California. Following his death, fans created a “Bogie Cult” to celebrate the star. Members of the cult lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as in Greenwich Village, New York, and France.

Bogart Was ‘Sentimental And Romantic,’ According To His Daughter

the bogart and bacall family
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Bogart frequently gave his wife sentimental pieces of jewelry, a memory his daughter Leslie cherishes. In fact, the actor put a lot of thought behind the gifts he gave Bacall. Leslie told Harper’s Bazaar in 2015 that her dad loved engraving sweet messages on her mother’s accessories.

“My mother always described my father, Humphrey Bogart, as very sentimental and romantic,” Leslie revealed. “He often gave her beautiful jewelry, and almost every piece was engraved with a sweet sentence or thought and his initials or name. Romantic indeed!”

Bogart & Bacall Were Very Much In Love And Were ‘Good Together,’ According To Stephen

the couple relaxing with their dog
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When Bogart wasn’t making films, his favorite thing to do was spend time at home with Bacall, the love of his life. And Stephen could tell how much the cared for one another.

“When he’d come home from work, he would want to have dinner with her,” Bogart recalled. “It was the age in the ’50s when kids were seen, not heard. Parents had dinners, at least my mother and father did, with the adults. But they were in love. And they were good together. They were man and wife.”

Bogart loved Bacall because she was a really strong woman.

Bogart Was Drawn To Bacall’s Youth, Beauty, And Strength

the couple was deeply in love
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When Bogart first met Bacall, he was mesmerized by the actress. “She was pretty good looking,” Stephen explained.“She was 19 and he was 44. But I think it was her strength. She was a strong woman. She didn’t take crap from anybody. He thought she was very talented as well, but she could also keep up with him.”

Despite the huge age difference, the couple connected in a visceral way. When Bogart got ill, Bacall didn’t leave his bedside. Stephen recalled how his mother broke down “but snapped out of it” when his father died.

Life Changed A Lot For Stephen After His Father’s Death

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After his father passed away, Bacall decided to leave California to grieve in England. “I had a house with a pool in California. Life was pretty good. And then all of a sudden, there was a big change for all of us,” Stephen explained.

He added that his mother eventually started putting herself first and doing things she always wanted to do, such as moving to be near her mother in New York and working in theater productions.

Bacall Made Sure Her Son Was Honest, Just Like His Dad

Bacall, Stephen, and Jason Robards
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In 1961, four years after Bogart died, Bacall married her second husband, actor Jason Robards. The marriage ended in 1969 due to Robards’ alcoholism. Throughout it all, Bogart was always in Bacall’s thoughts.

“She would talk about him all the time,” Stephen said. “It was almost like, ‘What would your father think?’ or “Your father believed in treating people correctly.’ And that’s what she wanted me to do too. … She wanted me to remember that he didn’t like to lie. He wasn’t a liar. She always used to pound that into me. Don’t lie. Tell the truth. That was a big deal.”

Bacall Had Another Child During Her Second Marriage

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During Bacall’s eight-year-marriage to Robards, the couple had a son named Sam. He was born the same year the couple tied the knot. Sam Robards is an actor and is most known for his role as Henry Swinton in the 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which was directed by Steven Spielberg.

In 2002, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in Arthur Miller classic The Man Who Had All the Luck. Sam later recalled that he was devastated by his parent’s divorce. He has a total of seven half-siblings: five through his father and two from his mother (Stephen and Leslie).

Bacall struggled when she was in her 80s.

Bacall’s Final Years Were Difficult

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Bacall lived in the famous Dakota building in New York from 1958 until her death in 2014. She continued to act throughout the ’70s, but her last years weren’t easy. She was very sick and preferred to stay home rather than go out.

“I don’t know how you feel when you get to that point, but… it wasn’t great for her,” Stephen remembers. “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.”

Stephen Still Misses The Talks He Had With His Mom

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Bacall was 89 years old when she passed away in 2014. Stephen was very close to his mother throughout his life, and their close bond made it difficult for him to let her go.

“Just the fact that she’s not here anymore, you know?” Bogart revealed when asked what he missed the most about his mom. “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.”

Stephen Would Never Act Because He Couldn’t Compare To His Parents

the family during early years
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It’s not uncommon for children of actors to get into the family business. But for Stephen, he’s never been interested in following Bogart or Bacall’s footsteps. He tried acting when he was younger, but it didn’t stick.

“How do you compete with that?” Stephen 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.”

Stephen Carries On His Father’s Legacy And Tries To Keep Classic Hollywood Alive

Bogart and Bacall raise a glass in toast
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Stephen currently co-manages the Humphrey Bogart Estate, which helps puts on a Bogart Film Festival every year. “We try to do things that not only keeps him alive but classic Hollywood alive,” Stephen said. “There’s a lot of great movies now… but I think there’s still room for classic Hollywood.”

The estate also partnered with ROK Drinks to distribute Bogart’s Spirits. The actor loved many types of spirits, but his favorites were gin and whiskey. “Some of his favorite cocktails were martinis, which were made with gin in those days, gin and tonics, Manhattans and Old Fashioneds,” Stephen said.

Bacall And Bogart Married In A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author’s House

American actors Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart cut the cake at their wedding.
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On May 21st, 1945, Bacall and Bogart married in the Big House in Malabar Farm, Lucas, Ohio. The house belonged to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, who wrote works such as The Rains Came and Up Ferguson Way, many of which ended up on the big screen.

Bromfield was a good friend of Bogart and allowed the couple to use his Pleasant Valley farmhouse with Greek Revival accents. The house is still available to tour in Malabar Farm State Park. For Bogart and Bacall, though, the site offered a break from World War II, which was nearing its completion.

Bacall Continued To Excel In Acting After Bogart’s Death

Honorary Award recipient Lauren Bacall speaks onstage during the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland
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Bacall launched her acting career with the movie that sparked her marriage, To Have and Have Not. After her husband died in 1957, Bacall continued to act and made significant strides on the big screen.

In the 1970s, she won Tony Awards for her roles on Broadway, Applause and Woman of the Year. In 1996, she won a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for The Mirror Has Two Faces. The American Film Institute gave her an Academy Honorary Award in 2009, labeling her the 20th greatest female star in classic Hollywood films.

Leslie Bogart Grew Up To Instruct Yoga

Bacall and her daugher Leslie

Like Stephen, Leslie never desired to follow in her parents’ acting careers. She grew up to become both a nurse and a yoga teacher. She also married a master of the discipline, Erich Schiffmann, who wrote the bestseller Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness and filmed the acclaimed video, Yoga Mind and Body.

Leslie recalled that her mother also remained humble and romantic despite enjoying her success and riches. Bacall always recognized the artists who helped her get where she was. It seems that Leslie inherited her mother’s steadfastness.

Bacall And Bogart Had Different Religious Views

Actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall attend the Academy Awards in 1955
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Lauren Bacall grew up in a Jewish family and changed her name to adapt to Hollywood culture. According to her autobiography By Myself, she never regretted it since she “felt totally Jewish and always would.” Bogart was a Christian, and as such, the couple Christened their Stephen and Leslie.

Bacall explained Bogart’s reasoning “with discrimination still rampant in the world, it would give them one less hurdle to jump in life’s Olympics.” Although Bacall felt uneasy about this choice, she agreed that it would help her children grow up in a post-World War II environment.

Bacall Left Her Fortune To Her Children And Her Dog

Stephen Bogart with his parents, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
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After Lauren Bacall passed away on August 12th, 2014, she left the bulk of her fortune to her three kids. The family split her $26.6 million fortune, and she instructed them to keep her personal papers private.

Around $10,000 of her money went to her dog, a Papillon named Sophie. Neighbors often saw her walking Sophie around her Central Park West apartment. And finally, Bacall allotted the remaining $250,000 to her grandsons, Calvin and Sebastian Robards, to use for their college tuition.

Stephen Bogart Never Wanted To Draw Attention To Himself

Actor Humphrey Bogart and his wife, actress Lauren Bacall, are just plain folks to their two-and-1/2-year-old son Stephen
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In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Stephen Bogart admitted that his parents’ fame could be too much for him. “I wanted people to like or dislike me for who I was,” he said. He also mentioned that his mother, Lauren Bacall, didn’t like all the attention either.

“All my friends are real people,” he clarified. “Not that movie people aren’t real, but you know what I mean. Did my mother like it? No.” Stephen also mentioned that he rarely revealed his last name unless he had to.

Humphrey Bogart Was A Distant Father

Headshot of actor Humphrey Bogart, wearing a bow tie and smoking a cigarette
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“My father was older, and he was set in his ways,” Stephen Bogart said in his interview with Palm Beach Post. He mentioned that Humphrey Bogart would go to his boat on weekends and hardly ever see him.

“Babies were just not his thing,” his son said. “I believe we would have gotten closer as he grew older.” Despite Bogart making a great match for his wife, he seemed to not bond as easily with his young children.

Leslie Wanted To Be A Model When She Was Younger

Close-up portrait of Leslie Bogart (age 15), daughter of actors Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart.
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At age 15, Leslie Bogart aspired to follow in her mother’s footsteps and embark on a modeling career. She appeared on a four-page spread in a 1968 issue of Vogue magazine. Of course, Leslie never took this career further and instead cared for people as a Registered Nurse.

Growing up, Leslie’s best friend was Lorna Luft, the daughter of Judy Garland. Lorna later said that Lauren and Humphrey Bogart were great inspirations to her growing up. She now works as an actress.

Sam Robards Wasn’t Too Keen On His Mother’s New Marriage

American actress Lauren Bacall with her second husband, Jason Robards and their baby son Sam, who grew up to follow his parents into show business.
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In a 1983 interview with People magazine, Sam Robards offered his perspective on Lauren Bacall’s new marriage. As one would expect from a young child, he felt dismayed over his parents’ divorce. But as he grew older, he said that his parents taught him about the movie career through this process.

“They made me realize what the dedication of a professional was,” he said. With two households full of famous actors, Sam grew up understanding the strength and motivation needed to succeed in Hollywood.

The Movies Never Directly Impacted Bacall And Bogart’s Children

American actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall with their son Stephen, at home in Los Angeles.
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During an interview with the magazine Stay Thirsty, author Mark Yost asked Stephen Bogart what it was like to be Humphrey Bogart’s son. Stephen replied, “It’s not really that different than being anyone else’s son. Your father just happens to be in the movies. As a kid, you don’t focus on that.”

Despite Humphrey Bogart’s general absence on Stephen’s life, the actor seems to have made a great impact on his son. After he died, Stephen said, “I think about him almost every day.”

Humphrey Bogart Taught His Son To Be Playful And Cynical

American actor Humphrey Bogart (with his son Stephen in a jeep on the set of the 1953 film 'Battle Circus'
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Although Stephen didn’t spend a lot of time with his father Humphrey Bogart, he still realizes that he’s “like him in certain ways,” according to Stay Thirsty. “He was a needler and a kidder. I can be like that,” Stephen explained. “I think he was pretty cynical; I’m pretty cynical.”

But the most important trait inherited from his father, according to Stephen, was his belief in “treating people correctly.” His mother, Lauren Bacall, also taught him that mindset.

Bacall’s Kids Had A Friendly Relationship With Her Previous Husband

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Although Lauren Bacall’s previous husband, Jason Robards, had an alcoholism problem, he remained friendly with Bacall’s new children. Stephen Bogart said that they would “play ball,” and he grew up close to Robards’ son, Jason Jr.

“But I never though of Jason Robards as my dad,” Stephen clarified. “I liked him as a person, and he was married to my mother, but that’s it.” It seems that through all these years, Humphrey Bogart made a greater impression on his children.

Lauren Bacall Never Told Her Children What To Do

The American actress Lauren Bacall fondly plays with her children Leslie and Stephen
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According to Stephen Bogart, Bacall “did not suffer fools gladly” and was a stern, confident mother. “She never told me what to do,” he said. Lauren Bacall allowed her son to get away from Hollywood, as he wanted to do. “I wanted to find out who I was,” said Stephen, “over and above being the son of Humphrey Bogart.”

Although Bacall let her children live their own lives, she had no problem incorporating them into hers. “She brought us up to be certain types of people and live a certain life,” Stephen revealed.

Humphrey Bogart Died Just As He Began Enjoying Time With His Children

American actor Humphrey Bogart with wife Lauren Bacall, Ethel Barrymore and son Stephen Bogart in 1951.
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Humphrey Bogart’s death hit his family hard. Not only was it unexpected, but according to Stephen Bogart, his father was spending more time getting to know his kids the year he died.

“I was getting to the age where he could do things with me,” Stephen told The Chicago Tribune. “I could be a little adult. He could take me to dinner. We could go out on a boat, and he didn’t have to worry about me drowning. We could enjoy each other. We had just gotten to that point. Then he got sick, and it all went downhill.”

Stephen Bogart Learned About His Father Through His Projects

Actors Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall attend the premiere of her movie
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After building a family of his own and a life away from Hollywood, Stephen Bogart spent two years writing “Bogart: In Search of My Father.” In that time, he realized how little he truly know about Humphrey Bogart.

“My mother would ask me to describe him,” Stephen said in an interview. “I would, and she’d say, ‘That’s him from the movies.'” His research and dedication projects helped him “paint a human portrait” of his father. He discovered that he was similar to Humphrey Bogart in being “kind of a loner.”

Humphrey Bogart Never Realized That He “Had Something Special”

American actor Humphrey Bogart and Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman on the set of Casablanca
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Cinema Fanatic asked Stephen Bogart a fascinating question: did Humphrey Bogart ever realize he had a special something? “No,” Stephen responded. “That’s why he had the special something. If he had been aware of it, it wouldn’t have worked.”

Stephen asserts that Humphrey Bogart excelled in Hollywood because he was unabashedly himself. “He liked the ocean and he liked his boat and he liked his wife,” Stephen said. He also noted that Humphrey Bogart always thanked the screenwriters first for any award that he received.

Bacall And Bogart’s Children Weren’t Aware That They Were Living With Hollywood Royalty

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall playing ball with son, Stephen, and daughter, Leslie.
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Until Humphrey Bogart’s funeral, which hosted over 3,000 people, Stephen Bogart never understood the impact of his parents’ legacy. Their famous neighbors–Judy Garland, Sammy Cahn, Art Linkletter–were just “friends and parents.” Only when the children moved did they understand their comfortable life.

Stephen detailed that his family was simply his family. “Your mother and you father and you still get time out and they still argue with you and, ‘no mom!’ and you fight.” Bacall and Bogart raised their children as normally as possible, without spoiling them.

Lauren Bacall Never Advertised Herself

American screen star Lauren Bacall sitting cross-legged in a trouser suit, with her hands on her hips circa 1954
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Despite being one of the greatest Hollywood actors of all time, Lauren Bacall never advertised her likeness or marketed her name. Stephen Bogart says that she appreciated her wealth and life, but never bragged about it.

In terms of the AFI’s list of greatest Hollywood stars, Stephen said, “Well, if you know my mother at all, she’d be like ‘oh the living legends! I hate every bit of it!’ but really, she really appreciates it deep down.”

Humphrey Bogart “Wasn’t A Movie Star Guy”

American actor Humphrey Bogart smiles as he kneels with his wife, actor Lauren Bacall, and their pet dog, on a cushion on their front lawn
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In his interview with Cinema Fanatic, Stephen Bogart revealed that Humphrey Bogart liked to hang around non-actors. He spent much of his time with people like Frank Sinatra and Spencer Tracy, and loved to talk to the writers. He enjoyed hanging out with non-actors and having a blast.

Stephen calls this the “self-effacing way about him” that makes Humphrey Bogart so special and memorable. Although he understood the impact of his works such as Casablanca, he never let the fame get to his head.

Lauren Bacall Watched Other Movies All The Time

American actress Lauren Bacall poses behind a pane of glass decorated with two giant eyes, circa 1950.
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While she wasn’t working on her own sets, Lauren Bacall would go out to the theater and watch new movies. Her son said that before awards, she would watch every nominated movie in a row, and then cast her vote.

Surprisingly, Stephen Bogart also expressed that Bacall “knew a lot of the theater people as opposed to the movie people.” Having always wanted to act on Broadway, she took the time to know and befriend several Broadway actors such as Richard Burton, Betty Comden, and Roddy McDowall.