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Humphrey Bogart was in a tough place in 1934 after the death of his father. Bogie promised himself that he would pay off his father’s debt, but the sum was approximately least ten thousand dollars.
The stress was visible to playwright Robert Emmet Sherwood, and he helped the actor get cast in his upcoming play The Petrified Forest.
Sherwood pictured Bogie as Boze, the former football player with a crush on the diner’s daughter. However, director Arthur Hopkins remembered Humphrey from his performance in Invitation to a Murder, where he played a villain. Bogie’s own personal struggles also apparently aided the casting decision, as the director felt that his demeaner matched that of Duke Mantee.
Critics raved at Bogie’s performance, especially his facial hair, which he grew out. The play ran for approximately six months and allowed Humphrey to pay off his father’s debt and set money aside.
Little did he know that in a few years he would once again play the role, but this time on the silver screen. The role would be his first big movie role and hint at the success that was to come.