All the Actors Who’ve Played Sam Spade, From Humphrey Bogart to Clive Owen

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Clive Owen takes on the role of private detective Sam Spade in the new AMC series “Monsieur Spade.” He’s the first actor in decades to play the Dashiell Hammett character made famous by Humphrey Bogart in the 1941 classic “The Maltese Falcon.”

But, as Spade fans know, Bogart wasn’t the first to play the P.I., just the best known. Hammett’s novel had already been adapted twice by Hollywood in now hard-to-find versions from 1931 and 1936.

Several other actors voiced the character for radio and still more, including Peter Falk and George Segal, played characters based on the hardboiled detective. Here’s the Sam Spade lineup, in chronological order:

Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez in "The Maltese Falcon" (1931)
Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez (Credit: Warner Bros.)

Ricardo Cortez in “The Maltese Falcon” (1931)

Ricardo Cortez, who also played lawyer Perry Mason in the 1936 film “The Case of the Black Cat,” was the first to portray Hammett’s sleuth in this Pre-Code film that costarred Bebe Daniels.

Bette Davis and Warren William in "Satan Met a Lady"
Bette Davis and Warren William (Credit: Warner Bros.)

Warren William as Ted Shayne in “Satan Met a Lady” (1936)

This remake changed the characters’ names — the lead is now known as “Ted Shayne” —  and he’s looking for a priceless ram’s horn, not a Maltese falcon. William also played Perry Mason several times, as well as detective Philo Vance.

Peter Lorre and Humphrey Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon"
Peter Lorre and Humphrey Bogart (Credit: FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon” (1941)

The third time was the charm: Humphrey Bogart was perfection as the tough-talking private eye in John Huston’s acclaimed 1941 adaptation. Bogart went on to play another famous literary detective, Philip Marlowe, in 1946’s “The Big Sleep.” Bogart was often reteamed with his “Falcon” costars Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor throughout his career.

Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson (Credit: William Grimes/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Edward G. Robinson (1943)

The “Double Indemnity” actor, who came to fame in gangster movies like “Little Caesar” in the 1930s, voiced the sleuth in a 1943 Lux Radio Theatre production.

Howard Duff
Howard Duff, circa 1951. (Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Howard Duff (1946-1950)

The actor, who starred in classic noirs “Brute Force” and “The Naked City,” voiced Spade in radio series “The Adventures of Sam Spade.”

Tommy Farrell as Sam Diamond in "The Addams Family"
Tommy Farrell (Credit: ABC)

Tommy Farrell as Sam Diamond in “The Addams Family” (1965)

“Sam Diamond” was called in when Thing goes missing in a 1965 episode of the sitcom. Farrell was known for his roles on “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” and “The Loves of Dobie Gillis.”

George Segal and Stephane Audran in "The Black Bird"
George Segal and Stephane Audran (Credit: Getty Images)

George Segal as Sam Spade Jr. in “The Black Bird” (1975)

The “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” Oscar nominee played the son of Sam Spade in this spoof, which received terrible reviews. Segal’s other films include “The Owl and the Pussycat” with Barbra Streisand, “California Split” and “Fun With Dick and Jane.” He costarred on the sitcoms “Just Shoot Me!” and “The Goldbergs.”

Eileen Brennan and Peter Falk in "Murder by Death"
Eileen Brennan and Peter Falk (Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Peter Falk as Sam Diamond in “Murder by Death” (1976)

The “Columbo” star played another spoof version of Sam Spade in these ’70s comedies that parodied numerous fictional detectives. For example, David Niven and Maggie Smith costarred as Dick and Dora Charleston, a twist on the classic Nick and Nora Charles duo of the “Thin Man” movies, which were also based on a Hammett novel.

Tom Wilkinson in 2004
Tom Wilkinson in 2004 (Credit: Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Tom Wilkinson in “The Maltese Falcon & Other Adventures” (1984)

The late “In the Bedroom” actor, who died in December, voiced Spade in a 1984 BBC Radio 4 production. You can listen to it at the Internet Archive.

Michael Madsen in 2009
Michael Madsen in 2009 (Credit: Getty Images)

Michael Madsen in “The Maltese Falcon” (2009)

The “Reservoir Dogs” star voiced the famous detective in a 2009 audio production by the Hollywood Theater of the Air. The cast also included Sandra Oh and Edward Herrmann.

Clive Owen in "Monsieur Spade"
Clive Owen in “Monsieur Spade”. (Credit: AMC)

Clive Owen in “Monsieur Spade” (2024)

The “Children of Men” star is the first actor to play the character (and not a spoof) on screen since Bogart 81 years earlier. The AMC series places him in the south of France in the ’50s and ’60s, where he is happily retired — until a brutal murder happens in his small town.

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