Posted: Friday March 07, 2008
Verita Thompson—Humphrey Bogart’s longtime hairstylist, secretary and reputed mistress—died of natural causes Feb. 1 in New Orleans. She was 89.
Thompson, a runner-up in the 1935 Miss Arizona beauty contest, came to Hollywood in the 1940s as a contract actress. The studio released her from her contract after she fell from a horse and broke her arm; while she was recuperating in Mexico City, she met and formed a partnership with a wig and toupee maker. When she returned to Hollywood and found she couldn’t work in studio make-up departments because of the union’s cosmetology license requirement, she became licensed.
Thompson subsequently worked with such leading men as Charles Boyer and Gary Cooper. During a toupee fitting with Warner Bros. Make-up Supervisor Gordon Bau, Thompson met Bogart. She served as his personal hairstylist and secretary from 1950 to 1957; they worked on more than 16 films together, including Dead Reckoning, The Barefoot Contessa and Sabrina.
She married film producer Walter Thompson in 1955. In 1982, she wrote the memoir Bogie and Me: A Love Story, in which she described a 14-year love affair with Bogart. In her final years, Thompson owned a restaurant in New Orleans and was known for dressing in Chanel suits, hat and gloves.