No actor nor actress won an Academy Award for their work in the film Casablanca, yet the film’s cast is full of acting professionals of incredible skill and accomplishment. The diverse and international cast is often credited with making the film feel more authentic than it otherwise would have. It is also worth noting that many of the cast members had an emotional connection to the subject matter of the film having fled war torn Europe themselves.
Humphrey Bogart – This Christmas born actor rose to stardom through his work in The Maltese Falcon (1941) among other noir detective films. He was nominated three times for the Best Actor Academy Award (first being nominated for his role in Casablanca) winning once for playing Charlie Allnut in The African Queen (1951). His acting in the films The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), also featured on our film list, and In a Lonely Place (1950) are often considered his greatest acting works. In 1946 he cast his hand- and footprints in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. In 1999 the American Film Institute named him the greatest male star of classic American cinema.
Ingrid Bergman – This Swedish actress is perhaps most well know for her role in Casablanca despite being one of the most well awarded actresses in history. She is tied with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Walter Brennan for second place for the most acting Academy Awards won (Katharine Hepburn has won 4). Two of her Academy Awards were for Best Actress for playing Paula Alquist Anton in Gaslight (1944 )and for the titular role in Anastasia (1956), while her third and final win was for playing Greta Ohlsson in Murder on the Orient Express (1974) her only Supporting Actress nomination. The American Film Institute ranked Bergman as the fourth-greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood Cinema. She also won the inaugural Tony Award for her role as Joan of Arc in the play within a play Joan of Lorraine.
Claude Rains – This World War I veteran is perhaps one of the greatest acting talents of all time to never win an Academy Award. His film debut was as the titular Dr. Jack Griffin in The Invisible Man (1933). He was nominated for 4 Academy Awards and won a Tony Award for playing Rubashov in the play Darkness at Noon. He is also known for his performances in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Notorious (1946) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) among many others. He was commonly praised by his fellow actors for his talent and work ethic.
Paul Henreid – He worked as a director, producer, and writer in addition to his work as an actor. In all he was involved in 63 film and television projects but is best known for his role in Casablanca and for his role as Jerry Durrance in Now, Voyager (1942). Despite never reaching the same fame as his co-stars he is a talented artist.
Other Notable Cast Members
Sydney Greenstreet – Often played in films with Humphrey Bogart, perhaps most notably The Maltese Falcon (1941). He started acting at the age of 61.
Conrad Veidt – Fled Germany with his Jewish wife Ilona Prager when the Nazi party came to power. Also well known for his part in the British film The Thief of Bagdad (1940).
Peter Lorre – This actor of Jewish descent also fled Germany when Adolf Hitler was elected. He rose to fame after his role as a serial killer in the German film M (1931).
Dooley Wilson – This drummer pantomimed playing the piano in the film. He had a few other prominent roles including the Western Passage West (1951).