Unlikely star material - a slight, tight-lipped man with a lisp - he was Hollywood's antihero: self-reliant, cynical, sardonic. He made a hit on Broadway as the gangster in The Petrified Forest (1935), transferring successfully to film. Five years of gangster roles followed.
In 1941 he had his next big chances in High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon: his great popularity continued until his death and revived in the sixties. Credits include Casablanca (1943), The Big Sleep (1946), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1947) and The African Queen (1952).