Mayo Jane Methot (March 3, 1904 – June 9, 1951) was an American film and stage actress. She appeared in over 30 films, as well as in various Broadway productions, though she attracted significant media attention for her tempestuous marriage to actor Humphrey Bogart.
Methot c. 1922
Mayo Jane Methot
March 3, 1904
|Died||June 9, 1951 47) (aged|
|Resting place||Portland Memorial Mausoleum|
|Education||Miss Catlin's School|
(m. 1921; div. 1927)
Percy T. Morgan, Jr.
(m. 1931; div. 1937)
(m. 1938; div. 1945)
The daughter of a marine captain, Methot was born in Chicago but raised in Portland, Oregon, where she was active in theater beginning at age five, appearing in stage productions of Sapho (1909) opposite Florence Roberts, and The Awakening of Helena Richie (1912). A prolific child actress, Methot gained local fame, and earned the nickname "The Portland Rosebud." She went on to become a regular player with the Portland-based Baker Stock Company, and starred in their numerous theatrical productions throughout the late 1910s and early 1920s.
In 1922, she relocated to New York City to pursue a stage career on Broadway. She appeared in numerous Broadway musicals and plays beginning in 1923, including the Vincent Youmans musical Great Day (1929), in which she introduced the standard "More Than You Know". After starring in over ten Broadway shows, Methot relocated to Los Angeles in 1930 to embark on a film career. She signed a film contract with Warner Bros. and appeared in various supporting roles for the studio, often portraying hard-edged women. Her film credits include the mystery film The Night Club Lady (1932), the comedy Jimmy the Gent (1934), and the crime drama Marked Woman (1937).
Methot met Humphrey Bogart on the set of Marked Woman, and the two became romantically involved. After marrying in 1938, the couple carried on a tempestuous marriage marked by violent fights which were frequently documented by the press. Throughout her marriage to Bogart, Methot struggled with severe alcoholism, and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia following a suicide attempt in 1943. She divorced Bogart in 1945 after numerous repeated reconciliations. Unable to gain traction in her film career, she returned to her native Portland, and her alcoholism and depression worsened. She died of complications stemming from alcoholism in 1951, aged 47.
Life and career
1904–1922: Early life and career beginnings
Mayo Jane Methot[lower-alpha 1] was born March 3, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois,[lower-alpha 2] the only child of Evelyn and John Dillon "Jack" Methot, a ship captain. Shortly after her birth, the family relocated to Portland, Oregon, where she was raised. She showed a proclivity for literature and acting as a young child, memorizing passages from Romeo and Juliet. She began performing on stage professionally at the age of five, appearing as Josef in a Portland production of Sapho, opposite Florence Roberts.
In 1912, Methot starred as David, a young boy, in a production of The Awakening of Helena Richie, at the Grand Opera House in Salem, Oregon. In an article detailing the play, it was noted: "Her grasp of what is required of her during rehearsals of plays is held to be most unusual, while those who have seen her as David in The Awakening of Helena Richie, are warm in their praise of her dramatic ability." In press promoting the production, the then-eight-year-old Methot stated that she was inspired by French actress Sarah Bernhardt. Around this time, she told reporter Fay King of The Spectator: "I'm going to be a fine actress, if I can."
Methot was subsequently chosen to travel with selected Portland delegates to Washington, D.C. where she presented President Woodrow Wilson with a bouquet of flowers. Methot began performing with the Portland-based Baker Stock Company at age nine, and her frequent appearances in local theater productions earned Methot the nickname "The Portland Rosebud." In January 1916, she starred as the lead in a Baker Stock Company production of The Littlest Rebel.
After Methot graduated from Miss Catlin's School in 1919, she pursued a full-time career with the Baker Stock Company, appearing in an August 1919 production of Come Out of the Kitchen opposite Verna Felton. This was followed by lead roles in the company's Dawn o' the Mountains (staged in May 1920), in which she portrayed a teenage boy; as a bride's sister seeking a lover in Parlor, Bedroom and Bath (October 1920); and in the comedy That Girl Patsy, in May 1921.
While appearing in locally produced serial short films for filmmaker Robert C. Bruce (among them the 1922-released And Women Must Weep), Methot met cameraman Jack Lamond, a war veteran, and the two began a whirlwind romance in the summer of 1921. On September 21 of that year, they married at Saint Luke's Episcopal Church in Vancouver, Washington. Methot continued to perform in local productions with the Baker Stock Company, including Linger Longer Letty in November 1921, and in a revival of Parlor, Bedroom and Bath in March 1922. In November 1922, Methot and Lamond relocated to New York City, where Lamond was employed at Cosmopolitan Productions.
1923–1929: Broadway career
Shortly after her arrival in New York, Methot began appearing on Broadway, her first production being director William Brady's The Mad Honeymoon in the summer of 1923. Though the play received unfavorable reviews from critics, Mayo was the lone member of the cast to not receive criticism for her performance.
Based on her performance in The Mad Honeymoon, Methot was cast as the female lead of Leola Lane in George M. Cohan's production of The Song and Dance Man, which opened on New Year's Eve 1923. In 1924, she appeared as The Bride in a Philadelphia production of Owen Davis's The Haunted House. The following year, she returned to Broadway as Phyllis Halladay in Alias the Deacon, opposite Berton Churchill. This was followed by a 1927 production of The Medicine Man, staged by Sam H. Harris at the New Cort Theatre in Queens, New York City. On December 30, 1927, Methot and Lamond divorced, after she asserted that he had deserted her in 1925.
Methot's performance as Florence Wendell in a winter 1929 Broadway production of All the King's Men garnered her praise from Donald Mulhern of the Brooklyn Standard Union, who wrote that she "handles her emotional scenes with both art and warmth and makes the woman very real." She subsequently originated a role in the Vincent Youmans/Billy Rose musical Great Day (1929), introducing the standard "More Than You Know" and several others. Her subsequent performance in Half Gods (also 1929) at the Plymouth Theatre earned critical praise, with Alvin Kayton of The Brooklyn Citizen writing: "As Hope Ferrier, Mayo Methot, recently in Youmans' Great Day, was extraordinarily capable, expressing her part with an emotion and understanding which made Hope seem almost lifelike. We doubt if the role could have been bettered."
1930–1937: Move to Hollywood
Methot moved to Hollywood in 1930, hoping to transition from stage to a career in film. She had her first major speaking role in United Artists's gangster film Corsair (1931). On November 28, 1931, Methot married Percy T. Morgan, an oil tycoon and the co-owner of the Cock n' Bull restaurant on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard.
In 1932, after signing a contract with Warner Bros., Methot starred as the female lead in The Night Club Lady, a murder mystery co-starring Adolphe Menjou. What followed was a long line of roles as unsympathetic second leads and tough-talking "dames" in many of Warner's contemporary crime melodramas, such as The Mind Reader and William Wyler's Counsellor at Law (both 1933), as well as Jimmy the Gent (1934) opposite Jimmy Cagney and Bette Davis. In 1934, she had roles in three First National Pictures features: first as a nurse in the drama Registered Nurse, followed by supporting parts in Side Streets and Mills of the Gods.
Methot followed this with minor parts in the Perry Mason mystery film The Case of the Curious Bride, and as a gangster's moll in the crime film Dr. Socrates (both released in 1935). She was subsequently cast in the crime drama Marked Woman (1937), again starring opposite Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Methot divorced her husband, Percy Morgan, in February 1937, claiming that he would not allow her to accept an acting role in New York City.
1938–1944: Marriage to Humphrey Bogart
Methot became romantically involved with Humphrey Bogart after co-starring with him in Marked Woman. The couple were married on August 28, 1938 in Beverly Hills. Bogart had been married to actresses Helen Menken and Mary Philips before marrying Methot, and blamed his previous divorces on his wives' careers and their long separations. Two years after Methot and Bogart were married, Methot gave up acting. The two became a high-profile Hollywood couple, but it was not a smooth marriage. Both drank heavily, and Methot gained a reputation for her violent excesses when under the influence. They became known in the press as "The Battling Bogarts," with Methot known, due to her combativeness, as "Sluggy". Bogart later named his motor yacht Sluggy in her honor. After Methot attempted suicide in 1943, Bogart urged her to visit a psychiatrist, and upon doing so, she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
During World War II, the Bogarts traveled Europe entertaining the troops. At one point in their travels during the war, the Bogarts met with director John Huston in Italy. During a night of heavy drinking, Methot insisted that everyone listen to her perform a song. Though they tried to persuade her to desist, she sang anyway. The performance was so bad and embarrassing that Huston and Bogart remembered it several years later and based a scene in Key Largo (1948) on the incident. It is the scene in which the alcoholic girlfriend (played by Claire Trevor) of the mobster (played by Edward G. Robinson) sings "Moanin' Low" off key and while intoxicated.
Numerous battles took place at the Hollywood residence of the famous couple, nicknamed Sluggy Hollow, including one in which Methot stabbed Bogart in the shoulder, and another in which the two hit one another in the head with whiskey bottles. Actress Gloria Stuart—a friend of Bogart and Methot—recalled, in her later years, attending a dinner party at which Methot drunkenly brandished a pistol and threatened to shoot Bogart. Stuart also recalled seeing Methot with bruises on her face on several occasions, and witnessing physical fights between the couple, including one in which Bogart tore Methot's dress off of her. The couple separated and reconciled several times over the course of their marriage.
While filming To Have and Have Not in 1943, Bogart fell in love with his 19-year old co-star Lauren Bacall and the couple began an affair. Methot caught wind of the affair and visited the set often. Bogart attempted to save the marriage but Methot's alcoholism intensified as did their fighting. Bogart announced that he had moved out of the couple's home on October 19, 1944. On October 30, Bogart announced that he had reconciled with Methot and that he was "going home. [...] In other words, we'll return to our normal battles." The reconciliation proved to be short lived; Methot announced that Bogart had moved out of their home yet again on December 3, 1944.
1945–1951: Career decline and return to Oregon
Methot filed for divorce on May 10, 1945, in a Las Vegas court. The divorce was granted one hour after she filed the decree. Bogart married Lauren Bacall on May 21, 1945. After the divorce, Methot retreated from the public eye for several months, and spent a period at the Malabar Farm State Park (the location of Bogart and Bacall's wedding).
In August 1945, Methot attempted to resume a stage career in New York. However, she was unable to renew the career that she had given up, and became locked into a pattern of alcoholism and depression. In the late 1940s, she moved back to Oregon where her mother helped take care of her.
Methot died on June 9, 1951 at Holladay Park Hospital in Portland. Though the press at the time reported that Methot died during an unspecified surgery,[lower-alpha 3] her actual cause of death was attributed to acute alcoholism. Methot left her estate, totaling $50,000, to her mother Evelyn. Additionally, she bestowed her personal library of classic books to the Catlin Gabel School, her alma mater, as well a scholarship fund for the institution.
Methot's remains are interred at the Portland Memorial Mausoleum in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, alongside her parents. Bogart continued to send flowers to Methot's crypt until his death in 1957.
|1922||And Women Must Weep||Serial short|||
|1930||Taxi Talks||Short film|||
|1932||The Night Club Lady||Lola Carewe|||
|1932||Afraid to Talk||Marge Winters||Alternative title: Merry-Go-Round|||
|1933||The Mind Reader||Jenny|||
|1933||Lilly Turner||Mrs. Durkee||Uncredited|||
|1933||Goodbye Love||Sandra Hamilton|||
|1933||Counsellor at Law||Zedorah Chapman|||
|1934||Jimmy the Gent||Gladys Farrell|||
|1934||Harold Teen||Sally LaSalle||Alternative title: Dancing Fool|||
|1934||Registered Nurse||Nurse Gloria Hammond|||
|1934||Side Streets||Maizie Roach||Alternative title: A Woman in Her Thirties|||
|1934||Mills of the Gods||Sarah|||
|1935||The Case of the Curious Bride||Mrs. Florabelle Lawson|||
|1935||We're in the Money||Minor Role||(scenes deleted)|||
|1935||Dr. Socrates||Muggsy, Red's Moll|||
|1936||Mr. Deeds Goes to Town||Mrs. Semple||Uncredited|||
|1936||The Case Against Mrs. Ames||Cora Lamont|||
|1937||Marked Woman||Estelle Porter|||
|1938||Women in Prison||Daisy Saunders|||
|1938||Numbered Woman||Alternative title: Private Nurse|||
|1939||Should a Girl Marry?||Betty Gilbert|||
|1939||Unexpected Father||Ethel Stone||Alternative title: Sandy Takes a Bow|||
|1939||A Woman Is the Judge||Gertie|||
|1940||Brother Rat and a Baby||Girl in Bus||Alternative title: Baby Be Good, (final film role)|||
|1912||The Awakening of Helena Richie||David||Grand Opera House, Salem, Oregon|||
|1919||The Littlest Rebel||Virgie Cary||Baker Stock Company, Portland, Oregon|||
|1919||Come Out of the Kitchen||Claudia Daingerfield||Baker Stock Company, Portland, Oregon|||
|1920||Dawn o' the Mountains||Bub McNair||Baker Stock Company, Portland, Oregon|||
|1920||Parlor, Bedroom and Bath||Angelica Irving||Baker Stock Company, Portland, Oregon|||
|1921||That Girl Patsy||Patricia Davis||Baker Stock Company, Portland, Oregon|||
|1921||Linger Longer Letty||Nancy||Baker Stock Company, Portland, Oregon|||
|1922||Parlor, Bedroom and Bath||Angelica Irving||Baker Stock Company, Portland, Oregon|||
|1923||The Mad Honeymoon||Marie Wilson||Playhouse Theatre|||
|1923||The Song and Dance Man||Leola Lane||Hudson Theatre|||
|1924||The Haunted House||The Bride||Broad Street Theatre, Philadelphia|||
|1925||Alias the Deacon||Phyllis Halliday||Sam H. Harris Theatre|||
|1927||The Medicine Man||New Cort Theatre, Jamaica, Queens|||
|1927||What Ann Brought Home||Ann||Wallack's Theatre|||
|1928||The Song Writer||Patricia Thayer||48th Street Theatre|||
|1929||All the King's Men||Florence Wendell||Fulton Theatre|||
|1929||Now-A-Days||Paula Newhall||Forrest Theatre|||
|1929||Great Day||Emma Lou Randolph||Cosmopolitan Theatre|||
|1929||Half Gods||Hope Ferrier||Plymouth Theatre|||
|1930||Torch Song||Ivy Stevens||Plymouth Theatre|||
|1931||Torch Song||El Capitan Theatre|||
|1935||Strip Girl||Dixie Potter||Longacre Theatre|||
Notes and references
- Methot's full name, Mayo Jane Methot, is printed on her marriage certificate to Humphrey Bogart.
- Many sources erroneously refer to Methot's birthplace as Portland, but her July 1951 obituary in The Oregonian contradicts this, stating that she was in fact born in Chicago; this coincides with 1920 United States Census reports from Portland, which list the then-16-year-old Mayo's birthplace as Illinois, and her employment as "stock company theater." A clipping of the original July 1951 obituary that displays Chicago as her birthplace is visible in a 2012 article published by The NW Examiner (see page 15 of issue).
- Some newspaper reports stated at the time that Methot died during a surgical procedure.
- "Marriage License #11653: Humphrey Bogart and Mayo Jane Methot". California County Marriages, 1850–1952. State of California Vital Records and Statistics – via FamilySearch. (registration required). Archive scan of certificate.
- "Mayo Methot Bogart Biography". University of Oregon. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019.
- "Humphrey Bogart's Ex-Wife Claimed". The Daily Times. New Philadelphia, Ohio. June 11, 1951. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com.
- Fisher & Londré 2017, p. 452.
- "Mayo Methot Bogart Dies In Portland After Illness". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. p. 7.
- "Mayo J. Methot in household of John D. Methot", United States Census, 1920; Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon; roll 1499, line 11, enumeration district 34, Family History film 1821499.
- "Mayo Methot's Success". The Standard Union. Brooklyn, New York City. February 17, 1924. p. 15 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Descendent Of Long Line Of Play Folk". The Capital Journal. Salem, Oregon. September 18, 1912. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
- Schilling 1961, p. 364.
- "East Knows Rose City Has A Place Upon The Big Map". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. June 29, 1913. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mayo Methot, "Rosebud Of North," Captures High Officials' Hearts". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. March 25, 1914. p. 6.
- Duchovnay 1999, p. 15.
- "Verna Felton to Play Leads at Baker". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. August 28, 1919. p. 12 – via Newspapers.com.
- A. S. J. (May 11, 1920). "Love Theme Is Strong at Baker". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. p. 13 – via Newspapers.com.
- A. S. J. (October 19, 1920). "Baker Players Do Well in Light Farce". The Oregon Daily Journal. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
- L. H. (May 9, 1921). "Mayo Methot Is In Star Role At Baker". The Oregon Daily Journal. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Drama Featured In These Films". Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. March 12, 1922. p. 12 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mayo Methot's Wedding a Surprise". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. September 29, 1921. p. 12 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Actress Wins Divorce". Times-Union. Brooklyn, New York City. December 30, 1927. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
- C. T. H. (November 14, 1921). "Baker Players Shine in Old Comedy". The Oregon Daily Journal. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
- C. T. H. (March 20, 1922). "Jane Gilroy Is Hailed as Real Comedienne". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Choice Bits of Rialto News; Record Price Paid For Film". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. November 26, 1922. pp. 1, 4 – via Newspapers.com.
- ""Torch Song" Defined". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. February 8, 1931. p. 37 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mayo Methot Vault". Playbill. Archived from the original on July 22, 2019.
- "The Haunted House Is Full Of Laughs". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. December 2, 1924. p. 20 – via Newspapers.com.
- "A Little Love, A Little Kiss, $200 Saved". New York Daily News. New York City. p. 44 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mayo Methot". Times-Union. Brooklyn, New York City. October 25, 1927. p. 70 – via Newspapers.com.
- Mulhern, Donald (February 5, 1929). "The New Play". Brooklyn Standard Union. Brooklyn, New York City. p. 15 – via Newspapers.com.
- Paymer & Post 1999, p. 159.
- "The Stage". The Brooklyn Citizen. Brooklyn, New York City. December 23, 1929. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mayo Methot filmography". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on July 22, 2019.
- "Weds Again". Oakland Tribune. Oakland, California. November 29, 1931. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
- Parsons, Louella O. (August 12, 1947). "Hepburn's Screen Career Unaffected By Frankness". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. p. 8.
- "Menjou, New Leading Lady". News-Journal. Mansfield, Ohio. November 1, 1932. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- Roman 2015, p. 164.
- "Marriage Vs. Career; Latter Wins Actress". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. February 6, 1937. p. 8.
- Sickels 2013, p. 69.
- "Humphrey Bogart Free to Re-Wed". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. May 11, 1945. p. 8.
- "Fighting Bogarts Finally Separate". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 20, 1944. p. 16.
- Thomas 1990, p. 110.
- Roman 2015, p. 162.
- Frank 1982, p. 34.
- Thorburn 2000, p. 134.
- Harmetz, Aljean (2002). The Making of Casablanca. Hyperion. p. 313. ISBN 0-7868-8814-8.
- Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 78–81.
- Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 79.
- "Humphrey Bogart Leaves Home Again". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. December 5, 1944. p. 11.
- Duchovnay 1999, p. 24.
- Sickels 2013, p. 71.
- "Bogart and Wife Make Up". San Jose News. San Jose, California. October 30, 1944. p. 5.
- "Bogarts Again Having Parted". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. December 4, 1944. p. 5.
- "Bogart Divorced; Will Marry 'Baby'". San Jose News. San Jose, California. May 10, 1945. p. 1.
- McCarthy, Julia (August 25, 1945). "Mayo Hunts Stage Role, Wishes Bliss for Bogey". New York Daily News. p. 212 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Bacall-Bogart Wedding Simple". The Gazette. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. May 22, 1945. p. 7 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Obituary: Mayo Methot". New York Daily News. New York City, New York. June 10, 1951. p. 304 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ex-Mrs. Bogart Dies". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. June 10, 1951. p. A-6. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
- Donnelley 2003, p. 110.
- "Bogart Ex Leaves Estate". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. August 2, 1951. p. 18 – via Newspapers.com.
- Wells, Carol (January 2012). "Troubled film stars got their start at 23rd avenue school" (PDF). The NW Examiner. Portland, Oregon. pp. 1, 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 8, 2019.
- Barnes 2004, p. 44.
- Libby, Brian (October 14, 2011). "Long Gone Blonde". Portland Monthly. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015.
- Finnie, Moira (January 16, 2008). "A small toast to Mayo Methot (1904–1951)". FilmStruck. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on July 22, 2019.
- Bradley 2015, p. 408.
- "Calendar of This Week's Attractions". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. January 2, 1916. p. 32 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mayo Methot of the Baker Players, cast this week as a tomboy". The Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. May 14, 1920. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
- "New Bills At Theaters" (PDF). The Morning Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. November 14, 1921. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 22, 2019.
- Dietz 2018, p. 392.
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- Duchovnay, Gerald (1999). Humphrey Bogart: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-22338-9.
- Fisher, James; Londré, Felicia Hardison (2017). Historical Dictionary of American Theater: Modernism (2nd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-538-10786-7.
- Frank, Alan (1982). Humphrey Bogart. New York: Exeter Books. ISBN 978-0-896-73134-9.
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- Roman, James (2015). Chronicles of Old Los Angeles: Exploring the Devilish History of the City of the Angels. Chicago, Illinois: Museyon. ISBN 978-1-938-45076-1.
- Schilling, Lester Lorenzo (1961). The History of the Theatre in Portland, Oregon, 1846-1949 (Thesis). 2. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison. OCLC 45408028.
- Sickels, Robert C., ed. (2013). 100 Entertainers Who Changed America: An Encyclopedia of Pop Culture Luminaries. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-598-84831-3.
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