The Passing of Peter Jennings
Bogart and his party were shown to their regular booth in the second bay and proceeded to order lunch.
After we had finished eating, my father asked me if I wanted to meet Bogart. I declined. The great star was clearly in terrible shape and the one thing he did not need was to have his private time interrupted by one more 21-year-old fawning kid.
My father went over and they had a brief exchange, and we left.
As I tell people, I am probably the only person on the planet who had a chance to shake hands with Humphrey Bogart and didn’t.
It was the right thing to do. He died in January 1957 at age 57.
Thinking back now, I do not believe Bogart had yet been diagnosed with cancer. As I recall, very shortly after the diagnosis he was operated on. His esophagus was found to be riddled with cancer, so they sewed him up and sent him home to die a slow and dreadful death. But it was obvious to me that day at ‘21’ that he was gravely ill.
I do not know whether anyone counted the number of on-screen cigarettes Bogart smoked in his 71 films. He was a consummate actor who always knew his lines and his films were made with a minimum of takes. But counting the out-takes and the scenes that were a wrap, he must have consumed tens of thousands of cigarettes.
And, of course, he was a heavy smoker in his private life.
Bogart was cut down in his prime--as was Peter Jennings.
What a shame. What a waste.
Cigarettes in the Workplace
Many years ago I worked for a man who was addicted to cigarettes. His breath smelled of smoke. His clothes smelled like an ashtray. Ten minutes out of every hour were spent taking a smoke break out on the fire escape, regardless of the weather. That meant he spent more than one hour a day, or five hours a week, or the equivalent of six weeks a year, out on the fire escape killing himself on company time.