Dan Seymour


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Birth Name: Dan Seymour Katz

Birth: February 22, 1915

Death: May 25, 1993

Number of Films Dan Seymour Made with Humphrey Bogart: 4

The Lowdown

There was one moment in particular that put me over the edge on whether or not Dan Seymour should go into The Usual Suspects pantheon. I knew that he was in Casablanca. I knew that he was in To Have and Have Not. I knew that he was in Key Largo. But then I noticed an uncredited role in his filmography for Sirocco.

Sirocco? Seymour’s a pretty hard guy to miss. He’s a large man, and although mostly silent in two of his four Bogart films, his imposing figure is hard to miss. So I rewatched Sirocco. Doggone if I still had a hard time picking him out as the “Wealthy Syrian.” I’ll leave that story for below, but it gave me a whole new appreciation for one of Warner Brothers’ great character actors.

Seymour got to play friend, enemy, and nuisance to Bogart over their four films, and his final role with Bogie in Sirocco is enough to make me want to keep hunting down his other films!

A connoisseur of rare liquors and cigars, a good friend of Fritz Lang, and always a generous compliment-er of Bogart in his interviews, today we welcome Dan Seymour into The Usual Suspects!

The Filmography

Casablanca – 1942

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Seymour plays Abdul the Doorman in a small role with few lines. But who needs words when you can understand every subtle gesture from your boss, Rick Blaine. Got a customer who looks a little shady? Just watch for Rick’s subtle no head shake and close the door on that creep, asap!

You can read my original post on the film here.

To Have and Have Not – 1944

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In his biggest role from a Bogart film, Seymour plays Captain Renard, Bogart’s ruthless foil that’s trying to catch the resistance fighters Bogart smuggled into town on his boat. Seymour sheds his silent tough guy persona here and takes on a gleeful dose of sleaze, overconfidence, and sadism. Makes me wish he’d had a little more room to shine in his other three Bogie films! Seymour has stated in interviews that Director Howard Hawks let him improvise some key scenes with Bogart while rehearsing, letting Hawks’ secretary scribble down the additions to the script as they went along. How man actors can say that?

You can read my original post on the film here.

Key Largo – 1948

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It’s another “intimidation through glares” role for Seymour as he plays Angel, one of Edward G. Robinson’s thugs. Not a ton to mention here except that Seymour’s presence adds great atmosphere to the already claustrophobic feel of the film. If I walked into a bar and saw Seymour as the bartender, I don’t know if I’d be as confident and comfortable as Bogart was in this film.

You can read my original post on the film here.

Sirocco – 1951

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So, IMDB says that Seymour appears as the “Wealthy Syrian” in the film in an uncredited role. Really? I’ve seen the film a few times and DO NOT remember him. So I go back and watch it. Towards the beginning, there’s a scene where a man comes in looking for Bogart’s help to get his family out of the country. He nervously sweats, fidgets, and desperately rambles out Arabic before Bogart kicks him out of the barber shop where he’s getting his shave. Was this Seymour? If it was, I couldn’t tell under the fez, glasses, mustache, and accent, but where else could he appear in the film?

The height was right, but the Syrian in Sirocco seemed lighter, and not nearly as menacing as the silent tough that Seymour was so good at. Google searches turned up nothing.

So I took some stills from the film and compared them to his other roles in Bogart films. Then i found it. He has a scar on his chin that’s perceptible for just a second in this film, and appears a little more prominently in others.

Well, I’ll be. Way to go Dan Seymour! Disappearing into a role so deeply you were unrecognizable. I have to find some of his other films now!

You can read my original post on the film here.

*The Usual Suspects is an ongoing section of the blog where I highlight some of Bogart’s more regular collaborators. You can read the rest of the write ups here.*

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2 thoughts on “Dan Seymour

  1. Nice write-up on Dan Seymour, an actor who was also good friends with Peter Lorre (and whom Stephen Youngkin interviewed for his book “The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre”).

    A correction, however — Abdul was not a silent doorman in “Casablanca”. As someone approaches the door to the gambling room, he says, “Just a moment.” and looks to his boss, Rick, for the OK or the No — and on the “No”, says, “Excuse me, this is a private room!”

    Not much dialogue — but not silent.

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