Happy Birthday, Mayo Methot

Mayo Methot was born March 3, 1904, with this year marking her 119th birthday.

Mayo is remembered in disparate ways, due in part to her colorfully segmented life. Depending on who you ask, she might be thought of as either the innocent Broadway ingenue, sexy siren, or Hollywood bad girl. Often, Mayo is recalled as the wife of film legend Humphrey Bogart.

Regardless of how Mayo is portrayed, her 47 brief years were anything but boring. Early in her career, Mayo Methot was the ‘girl next door,’ yet she was far from ordinary. Armed with ambition, ability and a natural persona, Broadway and Hollywood both wanted her, as did a then-budding actor named Humphrey Bogart. As a result, Mayo lived out a drama-filled life that sometimes mirrored her roles. She also achieved the challenging ‘trifecta’ of starring on New York’s Broadway stage, followed by years in film, then marrying the man named the greatest screen legend of all time by the American Film Institute.

Mayo’s biography, ‘Sluggy: Bogie’s Other Baby’ covers her storied life. It also sets the record straight about many commonly-held tabloidesque inaccuracies. Among the most common is that Mayo and husband Bogie lived as ‘the battling Bogarts’ throughout their time together. However, along with their seven year marriage, photos like these by Bogart friend Eric Hatch (among others) suggest otherwise.

Among Mayo’s most significant contributions to movie history is her influence on Humphrey Bogart’s elevation from fledgling actor to superstar as stated by actress Louise Brooks, who knew them both:

“Besides Leslie Howard, no other person contributed so much to Humphrey’s success as his third wife, Mayo Methot. He found her at a time of lethargy and loneliness when he might have gone on playing secondary gangster parts at Warner Brothers for a year and then out. But he met Mayo and she set fire to him. Those passions – envy, hatred and violence – which were essential to the Bogey character, which had been simmering beneath his failure for so many years, she brought to a boil, and blew the lid off all his inhibitions forever. Part of her mission was accomplished under my direct observation.”

Celebrate Mayo’s birthday with ‘Bogie’s Other Baby’ here. It’s a well-researched biography with the real scoop on Mayo’s storied life.