Humphrey Bogart was an icon of heterosexuality. He was known for portraying the quintessential masculine ideal in his films. And his offscreen life was largely devoted to sexual conquest. But was his romantically prolific lifestyle driven by a suppressed homosexual impulse? Was Humphrey Bogart gay? One biographer believes it's possible.
Bogart was married three times before meeting long-term wife Lauren Bacall. Before Bacall, estimates place Bogart's bedpost notches at somewhere around the 1,000 mark. His flames included Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman and Jean Harlow.
Biographer Darwin Porter, author of Humphrey Bogart: The Making of a Legend, believes that Bogart's second marriage, to actress Mary Philips, was troubled water for his sexual identity. During their relationship, Philips maintained open relationships with other men, even spending the night before she was wed to Bogart with one of his friends.
Bogart allegedly had problems with impotence. "If only Mary didn't make it worse," he told a friend. "When I can't perform she mocks and ridicules me. I should never have married her."
Bogart may also have been suicidal. He reportedly confided in a friend, "...I never get beyond the thinking stage. I just can't see myself taking a razor to my throat."
So was Humphrey Bogart gay? Or could suicidal ideation and rampant sexual activity be explained in other ways? It seems plausible that someone who bedded one thousand women was heterosexual.
Porter has been criticized before for making overreaching, unsupported and fraudulent claims in his celebrity biographies. Is Humphrey Bogart gay? Or is it a claim made to made a borderline tabloid book? Probably the latter.