Film and stage actor; born on October 17, 1920, in Omaha, Nebraska. Monty was the second born of twins. His mother, Sunny Clift, was the child of two southern aristocrats who gave her up for adoption, and she spent her life trying to groom her offspring for the aristocratic life she never had. The Clifts were taken on tours of Europe and tutored at home.
Monty escaped his repressive home life when he moved to New York and became a noted Broadway actor in the 1940s. An addiction to pills that began when he took painkillers for intestinal disease in the late 1940s was compounded by alcoholism.
Brooding, sensual, and classically handsome, Clift was wooed away from Broadway by Hollywood directors and starred in such film as Red River (1948). His performances in The Search (1948), A Place in The Sun (1951), and From Here to Eternity (1953) earned him Oscar nominations. In film after film, he portrayed troubled idealists whose actions often mirrored those in his own life.
In 1956, a car accident, caused not by alcohol but by long hours on the film Raintree Country, damaged his facial muscles. This both limited his range of expression and hurt his self-esteem. After this, Clift tended to take unglamourous roles which worsened his bad public image. A lawsuit with Universal Pictures and his growing addictions forced him into a four-year retirement in 1962.
Although he was preparing for a comeback in the mid 60s, he suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack in 1966.
Although many actors and actresses go to Hollywood seeking stardom, the roles were reversed in the beginning for Montgomery Clift. Hollywood went after him in search of a new star. Monty had already proven his talents on Broadway, and Hollywood producers and directors were constantly pursuing him to star in almost any film. In 1946, he conceded to their efforts. After 12 years of turning down every film script directors proposed, Monty finally found one script too intriguing to reject. It was a western co-starring John Wayne, titled Red River. The move from Broadway to Hollywood did not alter his dedication and desire for stage acting, but Monty’s life was soon filled with new and exotic experiences.
Montgomery Clift was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska. His father, William Brooks Clift, was a successful Wall Street stockbroker. His mother, Ethel Anderson, filled both parental roles while her husband was away. She would often take Monty, his twin sister Roberta and older brother Brooks on long trips to Europe or spend time at their second home in Bermuda while their father was busy with work in New York. Private tutors traveled with the family to educate the children while abroad. When the stock market crashed in 1929, the Clift’s had to conform to a different lifestyle. They moved to a modest home in Sarasota, Florida when Monty was 13. He joined a local youth theatrical club there and tried acting for the first time. Montgomery was very committed to his work and his mother saw how natural he looked on stage. She started pushing Monty towards an acting career. His family moved to Sharon, Massachusetts where he auditioned for a part in the Broadway play, “Fly Away Home.” Monty was cast and the play ran for two seasons. His family moved to Manhattan when Monty secured another lead in the play “Dame Nature.” His lead in “Dame Nature” earned him Broadway star status at only 17.
Over the next three years, Monty took the lead in several Broadway plays including “There Shall Be No Night,” “The Skin of Our Teeth,” “Our Town” and “Foxhole in the Parlor.” During this time, members of the film industry continually tried to coax Monty to Hollywood. He rejected every offer. He loved to act, but he preferred the stage, not on camera. His passion was for Broadway. As with any growing young star, new horizons were inviting, and he finally decided to visit Hollywood for talks, but he was adamant about going there on his own terms. When MGM would not give him the agreements he requested, he walked out of the studio. Almost immediately United Artists agreed to what Monty’s terms and he was cast alongside John Wayne and Walter Brennan in what became one of the most famous westerns of all time, “Red River.” Monty was excited to try a new type of role with both film acting and a western movie. Soon after “Red River” was completed, he was asked to play American G.I. Ralph Stevenson in “The Search.” This heartfelt war story gave Monty his Hollywood fame.
Becoming a Hollywood star, Monty formed many new friendships. One of his close friends was Mira Rostova, who coached Monty in almost every acting role he had. Perhaps the most famous friendship in Monty’s life was his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor. The bond between them strengthened when the two starred together in” A Place in the Sun.” He would act with Taylor in two other films, “Raintree County” (1956) and “Suddenly Last Summer” (1959). He accepted both roles without even looking at a script. He just wanted to act with Taylor. After “A Place in the Sun,” Clift did not make a movie for two years.
His return to the movie screen was in “From Here to Eternity,” which won eight Oscars and earned Monty a Best Actor nomination. He went on to star in the Hitchcock film "I Confess” and the movie “Indiscretion of an American Housewife” before taking another leave from acting. Monty was not seen on a stage or screen for more than three years.
One night in May of 1957 Monty accepted an invitation from Elizabeth Taylor for a dinner party. Afraid he would not be able to see his way home on the winding road Monty was the first to leave that evening. He veered off the road and his car collided into a telephone pole. The accident left Monty with a broken jaw and nose, a crushed sinus cavity, two missing teeth and severe facial lacerations which required plastic surgery. His remarkable recovery let him return home after only eight weeks in the hospital.
After the accident, Monty starred in seven movies and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in “Judgment at Nuremberg.” He also co-starred in “The Misfits,” which was Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable's last movie. Monty was set to co-star with Elizabeth Taylor in “Reflections in a Golden Eye,” but filming would not start until after the current project she was working on. So in the meantime, he was cast for “The Defector.” No one suspected this would be his last role. While waiting to begin work on “Reflections,” Clift suffered a heart attack and died in his home on July 23, 1966. At the age of 45, he was buried in Quaker Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. Edward Montgomery Clift
was born on 17 October 1920 at Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. He was the son of William Brooks Clift
and Ethel Anderson Blair
. Edward Montgomery Clift died on 23 July 1966 at Manhattan, New York County, New York, at age 45.
He was buried at Quaker Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.