BOGART: In Search of My Father by Stephen Humphrey with Gary Provost Bogart

BOGART: In Search of My Father

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bogart was only eight when his famous father died; now that he's a grown-up, a published author (Play It Again, 1995), and a TV producer, he is ready to confront the legend. As a young man, Stephen Bogart was troubled by the fame of his father; he felt abandoned after the actor's premature death at 57 and oppressed by his equally famous mother's enshrining of Bogie's memory. When Mom--Lauren Bacall (who will contribute the book's forward)--urged him to learn about his father, Stephen resisted mightily, ""fleeing my father's ghost at every turn."" Now an adult with kids of his own, Stephen is ready to confront his family past, and this biography of Bogie--as much about Stephen's growing up as about his father's life and career--is the result. The book opens by paraphrasing the sappy pop song ""Key Largo"": ""When I was a kid I had it all. Just like Bogie and Bacall. In fact, I had them, too."" It's a bad omen. The author in fact has little to add to the already familiar story of his father's roots in wealth, rebellion against his parents, ups and downs on Broadway, sputtering Hollywood career, and eventual skyrocketing takeoff with High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca. He repeats some familiar anecdotes about his old man's excessive drinking and needling wit, talks to some of his cronies, and offers us the results in artless, flat prose that does nothing to engage the reader. Bogart contributes nothing to our knowledge of his father's films, his politics, his sex life, or his marriage to Bacall. He spends entirely too much time making inappropriate comparisons between his father's habits, beliefs, and conduct and his own. A memoir clearly written to exorcise some personal ghosts.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1995
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton