When Stars Collide: Humphrey Bogart and Rod Steiger

When Rod Steiger accepted the gig alongside 'Bogie' in The Harder They Fall, he was rightly excited to see the master up close. What he didn't expect to see was the bravery of a dying man.
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Rod Steiger: "Of course I loved Bogart's movies, so when I had a chance to work with him on The Harder They Fall I was thrilled. I was playing a mobster who owned a title contender, and Bogart was playing the journalist who I was trying to corrupt. We had many scenes together and he was a great professional. He would turn up every day at 9 o'clock. He would never turn up late and he would never stay longer than six.

“I remember one morning I walked with him to the set, we were shooting in New York, and we were just making small talk and I remember Bogart's eyes were watering. That became the thing I most remembered from that movie. We had a young director called Mark Robson and while filming he would shout, 'No close ups on Bogart!' and I remember thinking at the time this was very insensitive. 'No close ups on Bogart!' he would yell, because of the eyes watering, and nobody knew why they were watering.

“Bogart never said anything and nobody would ask. He would just turn up every day and do his bit and go home, and in the end it was a great performance and the movie was pretty good. It wasn't until after the film that we found out Humphrey had cancer and shortly after the movie was released he died.

“I always thought how wonderfully brave he was. He kept his illness to himself and just got on with it, he didn't want anybody's sympathy and didn't even react to the director hollering. It said a lot about the man and about the time. If anybody has so much as a broken fingernail these days, everybody has to know."