HOLLYWOOD, July 30 (UPI) -- Movie producers this summer are receiving letters from an agent with a scandalous story about the greatest actor in Hollywood history. Humphrey Bogart.
According to publications and people who deal with anomalous probabilities, Bogart is the foremost film star ever, a screen icon second to none.
Ergo: Bogart remains a superstar to generations unborn when he was the nation's top box-office attraction.
Ergo No. 2: It is speculated Bogie in absentia remains a viable box-office enticement today.
At least those are the assumptions of one-time hairdresser Verita Bouvaire Thompson and her agent Dean M. Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of Content Providers, L.L.C.
Ms. Thompson, now 84, wrote a kiss-and-tell memoir titled "Bogie and Me: A Love Story," published in 1977 -- 25 years after Bogart's death.
It did not become a best-seller.
The bloom no longer is on the peach with Ms. Thompson, but she is as vibrant and attractive as ever and living in Santa Monica, according to agent Shapiro.
Bogart would be 103.
Photographs of Verita record a petite brunette with an elfin smile, knockout figure and adventure in her bright dark eyes.
Not as much could be said for Bogart even in his prime.
Bogie was never what anyone would call conventionally handsome. He had a prominent scar on his face and was somewhat shorter than most movie stars. He had a distinctive lisp and a less-than-impressive physique.
But Bogie had penetrating eyes and a macho personality that was both arresting and vaguely menacing.
He fostered a reputation as a tough guy, but his only notable fights were with his third wife, Mayo Methot, who occasionally beat the hell out of Bogie when they squared off both in public and private.
On the screen, as in life, Bogart was all male, a guy who could hold his liquor and who was an extraordinary raconteur.
He was catnip to the ladies, possibly because, as Lana Turner once said, "He's very sexy, but you know Bogie won't waste time romancing you."
In his pitch letter to producers, Shapiro writes: "For 15 years Verita was Humphrey Bogart's personal hair stylist and his secret lover.
"Their affair began in 1942, shortly after Bogie finished shooting "Casablanca," and it lasted throughout his marriage to Lauren Bacall, up to his death in 1957."
The story is a shocker by 1950s standards, but it is a half-century later when tabloid readers wouldn't raise an eyebrow at headlines claiming J-Lo is the secret lover of Bill Clinton.
All the same, J-Lo is no Verita, nor Clinton as virile a dude as Bogey.
Both Verita and Shapiro would like to see some daring producer bring her clandestine affair to the screen.
Americans were led to believe Bogie and Lauren Bacall had the most ideal, loving marriage in Hollywood's bumpy history of matrimony.
According to Verita, she and Bogart were cuddle-bunnies throughout his marriage to Bacall, ending with Bogart's death.
Shapiro's letter continues: "Verita's intimate relationship with Bogie is the stuff of legend." (The word "legend" may be significant here).
"The two of them traveled thousands of miles together and enjoyed adventures that were both numerous and humorous. Verita was a frequent guest aboard Bogie's yacht and was his traveling companion during promotional tours for his movies.
"Their liaison took place during the heyday of the major studios and Verita hobnobbed (sic) with some of the biggest name stars, directors, producers and agents.
"During this time Verita kept detailed diaries, documenting the relationship -- all of which can be made available to the production company that contracts for this project."
Cynics may shout, "Bogie was bald! How could he need a hairdresser?"
According to Shapiro, Verita was also a talented wig-maker and provided Humph with suitable toupees.
This week Shapiro said, "His picture (with one of Verita's hairpieces on his head) was recently featured on a U.S. commemorative postage stamp."
Shapiro goes on: "Following (Bogart's) death Verita opened a series of successful restaurants in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Many of the world's greatest celebrities were her customers, in addition to former future Presidents and other heads of state.
"Verita is one of the last living links to a great era and we believe the story of her affair with Bogie would make a fascinating feature film."
Shapiro also said, "We're understandably anxious to get this project rolling. Verita is 84 and would like to see it done before she 'kicks the bucket,' as she likes to say."
Bacall more than likely would like to kick more than Verita's bucket if and when the fiery actress gets word of this proposed movie project.
The smoky-voiced Bacall has a notoriously short fuse, especially where her late husband is concerned and perhaps a better left hook than Mayo's.