BORN: October 17, 1920
DIED: July 23, 1966
AGED: 45 yrs
DIED FROM: Heart Attack brought on from years of drug taking and alcohol
AFFAIRS: Libby Holman, Roddy McDowell, possibly Kevin McCarthy
REAL NAME: Edward Montgomery Clift
NICKNAMES: Monty and Rumpled Movie Star
KNOWN FOR: His sheer talent; having a twin sister (Edith or Roberta as a first name); His amazingly good looks; his chronic dysentery (probably had Colitis or Crohn's Disease); his inner anguish
OSCAR NOMINATIONS: The Search (1949), A Place In The Sun (1951), From Here To Eternity (1953) and Judgement At Nuremberg (1961)
This man was held in very high esteem by Marlon Brando, James Dean and many others for his sheer acting talent. Burt Lancaster visibly shook while acting opposite him out of sheer anxiety. Clift had major acting chops and was from the new school of acting called "Method" which did not bode well with some of the old guys of Hollywood like John Wayne although John Wayne did respect the kid's talent. Clift was offered the role, that went to William Holden in "Sunset Blvd", as it was written with him in mind, but he felt it hit too close to home since he was with Libby Holman at the time who was 16 yrs his senior and had a fascination for him. He became lifelong friends with Elizabeth Taylor when they starred in "A Place In The Sun" and it was rumoured she fell for him but he never reciprocated (or did he? Who knows and who cares as they were great friends). When he hit on hard times, she was one of the few who stayed by him along with Dean Martin.
It seems his mom spent every moment claiming to be from Southern high society and tried to prove it, while his dad was a bit of a jerk but he and his siblings (he had an older brother) didn't lack for anything. Due to his painful intestinal woes, he started taking prescription meds to dull the pain. During the making "Raintree County", with Taylor, he was in a horrible car accident. He was at a dinner party at Taylor's home with her then husband, Michael Wilding, and Kevin McCarthy and Rock Hudson etc... He left, with McCarthy driving ahead to help steer him down the curvy road, when Clift slammed into a tree. McCarthy went back to Taylor's home and she ran down to where the accident was. Clift couldn't breathe because 2 of his teeth were slammed partway down his throat, so she took her small hand and got the teeth out and held him until the ambulance arrived. Taylor, Kevin, Michael and Rock all shielded him from the reporters who were trying to take pictures of him. His face was quite smashed in and it took a few months before he could return to work. The sad thing is that people went to see the movie to figure out whether they could see how he looked before and after the accident. From that time on, he seemed to be on a straight downward path where, his former acting teacher, Robert Lewis, stated that it "was the longest suicide in Hollywood history."
When he made "Suddenly, Last Summer" with Liz Taylor and Katherine Hepburn, he was a mess to which, the director, Joseph Mankiewicz, really bullied the poor actor. When filming wrapped, Hepburn asked the director if she was needed for any more re-shoots etc.. When he said no, she spat in his face and told him off (good for her!). By this time, he was not only hooked on meds but was an alcoholic...he was one messed up guy. It is said he had a hard time dealing with his homosexuality which could be the case given the times but, I think, that is not it alone...having such strong-minded parents, chronic pain and many other issues, contributed to this man's short life. Marilyn Monroe once said that the only person more screwed up than her was Monty.
1. Red River-1948
2. The Search-1948
3. The Heiress-1949
4. A Place In The Sun-1951
5. From Here To Eternity-1953
6. Raintree County- 1957
7. The Young Lions-1958
8. Suddenly, Last Summer- 1959
9. The Misfits- 1961
10. Freud, The Secret Passion-1962
Thanks for shining the spotlight on one of the great actors of the 20th century, Montgomery Clift. I remember him well, have seen several of his features: A Place In The Sun, From Here To Maternity :)... Raintree, Suddenly Last Summer and Misfits, and I already knew sketchy details about his short and troubled life, his chronic health problems and horrible auto accident. Thanks for filling in many more interesting details for us. I'll tell you this. If I were holding and smooching Liz Taylor, my innards would have been in an uproar too. It's touching that Liz was such a faithful friend and helped Monty in so many ways, not the least of which was saving his life following the car crash. Based on the clip you posted, it is easy to see why method acting giants like Marlon Brando and James Dean respected Monty's talents.
I also appreciated the quote from MM at the end of the post. They were both "candles in the wind" with lives cut tragically short. Thank you again for profiling Monty Clift, a fine new school actor who made a name for himself in old school Hollywood.
Have a wonderful Tuesday, dear friend BB, and I'll be back to see you tamale on song day!
I'm glad you like Clift so much. It is said that Clift was the only one that Brando was in awe of. Yes, both were candles in the wind. He had such a troubled life but at least we can see him in the moviesDelete
Hi Birgit…such a torturous life ,I just love watching him and love his films…the price of fame….ReplyDelete
Hope you are keeping well…take care xxxx
I'm ok. He did have a tortured life and, I think, his parents were partly to blame.Delete
I had heard his name, but never watched any of his films. Being gay in 40s and 50s Hollywood would have been bad enough, much less bullying parents and directors. I learned a lot about an actor I had never seen act before. thanks for spotlighting him this month.ReplyDelete
I won't be around Thursday. Just wanted you to know.
No problem but glad you could comment Gere and about an actor you didn't know about. He was brilliantDelete
Very sad story. I did know he was gay, but I didn't know of his chronic health issues. Those would definitely make life hard for him. Gorgeous man.ReplyDelete
Some say he was bi because he was with Libby Holman for so long but I think he was mixed up. He had to deal with bullies a lot.Delete
I enjoy your star of the month posts. His life was so short, too bad it wasn't happier.ReplyDelete
I know! He was one sad soul but I'm glad Liz Taylor was there for himDelete
One of his lovers was Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen on "The Adventures Of Superman." Clift advised him to get out of acting and he became a successful writer and director.ReplyDelete
Yes! They were lovers and he was a real guidance for OlsenDelete
Hi Birgit - he was born on my Mum's birthday ... odd snippet to add to the mix. I knew he was gay, but hadn't known anything else about him ... poor chap - so mixed up. On top of that he had a twin sister ... another possible challenge. He was good looking though. Interesting - thanks for telling us about him - cheers HilaryReplyDelete