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A Humphrey Bogart comes along only once in a century: someone who isn't conventionally handsome or particularly versatile, but who can convince an audience that whatever character he's playing is of great importance, because he represents something vital about themselves and their time. He honed his craft for years in the theatre only becoming a star at the age of 42 as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon . In the 16 years that were left to him, he made an indelible mark on movies - such that film-makers as diverse as Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard paid homage to him in their films. At the heart of this biography is Bogey's love affair with the 19-year-old Lauren Bacall, who stole To Have And Have Not - and his heart - by lolling in a doorway, tossing insolent remarks and teaching him to put his lips together and whistle.
Stefan Kanfer is the author of Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball and Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando. He was a writer and editor for Time magazine for more than twenty years. He lives in New York and on Cape Cod.