On This Day … 25 December [2022]


People (Births)

  • 1899 – Humphrey Bogart, American actor (d. 1957).

People (Deaths)

  • 1977 – Charlie Chaplin, English actor and director (b. 1889).
  • 1995 – Dean Martin, American singer and actor (b. 1917).

Humphrey Bogart

Enlisting at 18 in the US Navy in 1918, Bogart was recorded as a model sailor.

Humphrey DeForest Bogart (25 December 1899 to 14 January 1957), nicknamed Bogie, was an American film and stage actor. His performances in Classical Hollywood cinema films made him an American cultural icon. In 1999, the American Film Institute selected Bogart as the greatest male star of classic American cinema.

His most significant romantic lead role was with Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca (1942), which earned him his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He also played a World War II naval-vessel commander in The Caine Mutiny (1954), which was a critical and commercial hit and earned him another Best Actor nomination. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a cantankerous river steam launch skipper opposite Katharine Hepburn’s missionary in the World War I African adventure The African Queen (1951).

Military Service

With no viable career options, Bogart enlisted in the United States Navy in the spring of 1918 (during World War I), and served as a coxswain. He recalled later, “At eighteen, war was great stuff. Paris! Sexy French girls! Hot damn!” Bogart was recorded as a model sailor, who spent most of his sea time after the armistice ferrying troops back from Europe. Bogart left the service on 18 June 1919 at the rank of Boatswain’s Mate Third Class.] During the Second World War, Bogart attempted to re-enlist in the Navy but was rejected due to his age. He then volunteered for the Coast Guard Temporary Reserve in 1944, patrolling the California coastline in his yacht, the Santana.

He may have received his trademark scar and developed his characteristic lisp during his naval stint. There are several conflicting stories. In one, his lip was cut by shrapnel when his ship (the USS Leviathan) was shelled. The ship was never shelled, however, and Bogart may not have been at sea before the armistice. Another story, held by long-time friend Nathaniel Benchley, was that Bogart was injured while taking a prisoner to Portsmouth Naval Prison in Kittery, Maine. While changing trains in Boston, the handcuffed prisoner reportedly asked Bogart for a cigarette. When Bogart looked for a match, the prisoner smashed him across the mouth with the cuffs (cutting Bogart’s lip) and fled before being recaptured and imprisoned. In an alternative version, Bogart was struck in the mouth by a handcuff loosened while freeing his charge; the other handcuff was still around the prisoner’s wrist. By the time Bogart was treated by a doctor, a scar had formed. David Niven said that when he first asked Bogart about his scar, however, he said that it was caused by a childhood accident. “Goddamn doctor”, Bogart later told Niven. “Instead of stitching it up, he screwed it up.” According to Niven, the stories that Bogart got the scar during wartime were made up by the studios. His post-service physical did not mention the lip scar, although it noted many smaller scars. When actress Louise Brooks met Bogart in 1924, he had scar tissue on his upper lip which Brooks said Bogart may have had partially repaired before entering the film industry in 1930. Brooks said that his “lip wound gave him no speech impediment, either before or after it was mended.”

Charlie Chaplin

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. KBE (16 April 1889 to 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, the Tramp, and is considered one of the film industry’s most important figures. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.

Chaplin was attacked in the British media for not fighting in the First World War. He defended himself, claiming that he would fight for Britain if called and had registered for the American draft, but he was not summoned by either country. Despite this criticism Chaplin was a favourite with the troops, and his popularity continued to grow worldwide.

In 1918, Chaplin embarked on the Third Liberty Bond campaign, touring the United States for one month to raise money for the Allies of the First World War. He also produced a short propaganda film at his own expense, donated to the government for fund-raising, called The Bond. Chaplin’s next release was war-based, placing the Tramp in the trenches for Shoulder Arms. Associates warned him against making a comedy about the war but, as he later recalled: “Dangerous or not, the idea excited me.” He spent four months filming the picture, which was released in October 1918 with great success.

His first sound film was The Great Dictator (1940), which satirised Adolf Hitler.

Dean Martin

Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; 07 June 1917 to 25 December 1995) was an American singer, actor and comedian. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed “The King of Cool”. Martin gained his career breakthrough together with comedian Jerry Lewis, billed as Martin and Lewis, in 1946. They performed in nightclubs and later had numerous appearances on radio, television and in films.

Martin starred in the crime caper Ocean’s 11 (1960) and the Western comedy Sergeants 3 (1962).

On 21 March 1987, Martin’s son, actor Dean Paul Martin (formerly Dino of the 1960s “teeny-bopper” rock group Dino, Desi & Billy), died when his F-4 Phantom II jet fighter crashed while flying with the California Air National Guard.

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