On this day in 1942, Casablanca, a World War II-era drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City; it will go on to become one of the most beloved Hollywood movies in history.
In the film, Bogart played Rick Blaine, a former freedom fighter and the owner of a swanky North African nightclub, who is reunited with the beautiful, enigmatic Ilsa Lund (Bergman), the woman who loved and left him. Directed by Michael Curtiz, Casablanca opened in theaters across America on January 23, 1943, and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Bogart. It took home three Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film featured a number of now-iconic quotes, including Rick’s line to Ilsa: “Here’s looking at you, kid,” as well as “Round up the usual suspects,” “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” and “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
Bogart was born on December 25, 1899, in New York City, and during the 1930s established his movie career playing tough-guy roles. He gained fame as Detective Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941), which marked John Huston’s directorial debut. Bogart and Huston later collaborated on such films as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and The African Queen (1951) with Katharine Hepburn, which earned Bogart a Best Actor Oscar. In 1945, Bogart married his fourth wife, the actress Lauren Bacall, with whom he co-starred for the first time in 1944’s To Have and Have Not. Bogey and Bacall became one of Hollywood’s legendary couples and went on to appear together in The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948). Among Bogart’s other film credits are The Barefoot Contessa (1954), with Ava Gardner; Sabrina (1954), with Audrey Hepburn; and The Caine Mutiny (1954), which earned him another Best Actor nomination. Bogart’s final film was The Harder They Fall (1956). He died on January 14, 1957.
Casablanca was also the movie for which the Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman is perhaps best remembered. Bergman, born August 29, 1915, received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for 1943’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, which was followed by a win in the same category for 1944’s Gaslight. She was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar again for 1945’s The Bells of St. Mary’s and 1948’s Joan of Arc. Bergman worked with the acclaimed director Alfred Hitchcock on Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946) and Under Capricorn (1949). In 1949, the then-married Bergman began a romance with director Roberto Rossellini that created a huge scandal after she became pregnant with his child. (Bergman and Rossellini, who later married, had three children together, including the noted actress Isabella Rossellini.) Although Bergman won another Best Actress Academy Award for 1956’s Anastasia, the actor Cary Grant accepted the award on her behalf, and Bergman did not return publicly to Hollywood until the 1958 Oscars, at which she was a presenter. She won her third Academy Award, in the category of Best Supporting Actress, for 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express. Her final Oscar nomination, in the Best Actress category, was for 1978’s Autumn Sonata, which was helmed by famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (to whom she was not related). She died on August 29, 1982.