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Montgomery Clift

Biography

This actor gave an excellent performance in From Here to Eternity and appeared in The Young Lions. His portrayal from the victim-hero archetype was probably greatest depicted in A LOCATION in sunlight and I Confess. He examined several dialects, including French, German and Italian. He is at Stanley Kramer’s Wisdom at Nuremberg and was known for playing the jobs of young delicate men. He previously a twin sister called Roberta and a youthful brother called William who was simply involved with celebrity Kim Stanley. He starred in The Youthful Lions with Marlon Brando.

Quick Facts


Full Name Montgomery Clift
Date Of Birth October 17, 1920
Died July 23, 1966, New York City, New York, United States
Place Of Birth Omaha, NE
Height 1.78 m
Profession Movie Actor
Nationality American
Parents William Brooks Clift, Ethel Fogg Anderson
Siblings William Brooks Clift Jr., Roberta Clift
Nominations Academy Award for Best Actor, Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
Movies A Place in the Sun, From Here to Eternity, Red River, The Misfits, Raintree County, The Heiress, I Confess, Judgment at Nuremberg, The Search, Suddenly, Last Summer, The Young Lions, The Big Lift, Wild River, The Defector, Lonelyhearts, Terminal Station, Freud: The Secret Passion, Starring Sigmund Freud
Star Sign Libra

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Appeared in two movies that are set partly at Hickam Field in Honolulu: The Big Lift (1950) and From Here to Eternity (1953).
2Robert LaGuardia, in his 1988 biography "Monty," claimed that director John Huston, who had paternalistic feelings towards Clift after directing the alcoholic and emotionally troubled actor in The Misfits (1961) (1961), became sadistic towards him during the troubled Freud (1962) (1962) shoot. Basing his charges on interviews with co-star Susannah York, LaGuardia claimed that Huston kept asking Clift about the Freudian concept of "represssion," obviously alluding to Clift's repressed homosexuality. Apparently, Huston himself could not broach the idea that Monty was gay in his own mind, but subconsciously, he reacted to Monty's homosexuality quite negatively. (Marilyn Monroe had admonished Monty not to work with Huston again, finding him a sadist on the "Misfits" set. Her ex-husband Arthur Miller, on the other hand, did not fault Huston in his autobiography "Timebends," but instead, marveled about how he kept his cool during the "Misfits" shoot, which was also troubled due to Marilyn Monroe's mental illness and frequent absences from the set.) Monty's biographer thought that Huston still had paternalistic feelings towards the actor, but was subconsciously appalled at his surrogate son's homosexuality; thus, he began to torture him on the set by insisting on unnecessary retakes and that he perform his own stunts, such as climbing up a rope. Despite Monty's many problems, he always proved a trouper, and gave as much as he could, including diving into a river in his last film, L'espion (1966) (1966).
3In the James Kirkwood novel "Hit Me With A Rainbow", early on the lead character is told that he resembles Montgomery Clift. He reflects that this has been happening often and surmises is it due to Clift's recent death.
4On the advice of his close friend Libby Holman, he turned down William Holden's role in Sunset Blvd. (1950) and Gary Cooper's role in High Noon (1952).
5Related to actor Michael Anderson Brown.
6In Italy, most of his early films were dubbed by Giulio Panicali, then by Giuseppe Rinaldi. He was occasionally dubbed by Gianfranco Bellini (in The Search (1948) and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)), Nando Gazzolo (in The Young Lions (1958)) and once by Pino Locchi in Raintree County (1957).
7He was a close friend of Elizabeth Taylor, although he greatly disliked her husband Richard Burton, and the feeling was mutual. Clift once said, "Richard Burton doesn't act, he just recites.".
8Voted for Republican Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 presidential election, but later actively campaigned for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 presidential election - much to the annoyance of his father.
9Son of William Brooks Clift and wife Ethel Anderson Fogg. Ethel is believed by some biographers to have been an illegitimate daughter of Woodbury Blair by Maria Latham Anderson. Woodbury Blair was the son of Montgomery Blair, after whom his great-grandson received his middle name, and wife Mary Elizabeth Woodbury, daughter of Levi Woodbury (1789-1851), US Supreme Court, and wife Elizabeth Wendell Clapp. Montgomery's ancestry was English, as well as more distant Scottish, Dutch, German, and French.
10Became good friends with Dean Martin while filming The Young Lions (1958), and Clift helped the singer, who was best known at that time as a light comedian, with rehearsing his heavy dramatic scenes. In later years, as Clift was ostracized by the Hollywood social set for his substance abuses and mental instability, Martin stuck by the troubled actor and often brought him along as his guest to parties.
11Turned down Dean Martin's role in Rio Bravo (1959), which would have reunited him with his Red River (1948) co-star John Wayne.
12Marilyn Monroe described him as "the only person I know who is in worse shape than I am."
13Is portrayed by Jeffrey Combs in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)
14A sometime guest of Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne at their rural retreat Ten Chimneys in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin.
15At his near-fatal car accident in 1956, Rock Hudson, Michael Wilding and Kevin McCarthy formed a protective shield to prevent Clift's photo from being taken by photographers as he was carried from the wreck to the ambulance.
16Hollywood folklore has it that his ghost haunts the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The actor had stayed there while filming From Here to Eternity (1953), even though all filming locations for "From Here to Eternity" were in Hawaii.
17One of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance. The other five actors are: Orson Welles, Lawrence Tibbett, Alan Arkin, Paul Muni and James Dean.
18His father was a violent, abusive, ultra-conservative bigot and did not get along with his son. As an actor, whenever Clift was playing characters snapping as they went up against ignorance or brutality, Clift was said to have acted with his father in mind as an antagonist.
19Spoke fluent French, Italian and German.
20Suffered from dysentery and colitis for most of his adult life.
21Marlon Brando, who calls him a "friend" in his autobiography, says that Clift was a tormented soul addicted to alcohol and chloral hydrate, a depressant and sedative which he drank. On the set of The Young Lions (1958), he warned Clift that he was destroying himself like Brando's own alcoholic mother had. For his part, Clift was always supportive of Brando as an actor, even when his career began faltering after Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).
22On the set of The Young Lions (1958), Marlon Brando insisted on doing his own stunt fall after being "shot" by co-stars Clift and Dean Martin and wound up dislocating his shoulder. Clift, seeing that Brando was in pain, offered him a swig from the thermos jug he carried with him at all times. The combination of vodka and prescription drugs in the thermos helped Brando through the ordeal.
23In Robert Laguardia's "Monty" (1977), the first published biography, Laguardia tells of how Clift was discomfited when he initially met co-star Burt Lancaster on the set of From Here to Eternity (1953). Lancaster was in awe of Monty and was so nervous, he actually shook during their first scene (as also mentioned in Lancaster's biography).
24Was Elizabeth Taylor's choice to play her husband, the closeted homosexual Major Weldon Penderton, in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967). He died before the film began shooting and was replaced by Marlon Brando, who at one time was considered his only rival as an attractive leading man who was also a great actor.
25He was voted the 60th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
26Younger brother of Brooks Clift.
27Always in high demand as an actor, he turned down the role played by William Holden in Sunset Blvd. (1950) and the part of James Dean's brother in East of Eden (1955). In 1955, alone, he passed on five Broadway plays, (among them Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under the Elms"), and he turned down the films Désirée (1954), Friendly Persuasion (1956), Prince of Players (1955), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Moby Dick (1956) and The Trouble with Harry (1955).
28He had so many health problems on the set of Freud (1962) that Universal sued him for the cost of the film's production delays. During the trial, the film opened and was such a huge hit that Clift's lawyers brought up the point that the film was doing well because of Clift's involvement. Clift won a lucrative settlement.
29Interred at Quaker Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
30The release of Red River (1948) made him an overnight sensation and instant star. He embodied a new type of man on screen, the beautiful, sensual and vulnerable man that seemed to appeal to women and men alike. After A Place in the Sun (1951) came out he was Hollywood's hottest male star and adored by millions. He looked incredible and was a fine actor, a rare combination. His only rival in this regard during the next few years was Marlon Brando, whose career turned out to be more stable and successful in the end. Clift's mental problems prevented him from staying at the top, as his drinking and drug problem began to affect his acting and bankability. The loss of his dashing looks in a well publicized road accident during the filming of Raintree County (1957) didn't help, either. What followed could be described as the longest suicide in show-business history.
31Was a close friend of Elizabeth Taylor, Kevin McCarthy, Marilyn Monroe and Roddy McDowall.
32He is the subject of R.E.M.'s song "Monty Got a Raw Deal", from their LP "Automatic For the People".
33He is the subject of the song "The Right Profile" on The Clash's album "London Calling".
34He is referred to in the Jets to Brazil song, "Conrad" on their album, "Orange Rhyming Dictionary".
351995: Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#29).


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
L'espion1966Prof. James Bower
Freud1962Sigmund Freud
Judgment at Nuremberg1961Rudolph Petersen
The Misfits1961Perce Howland
Wild River1960Chuck Glover
Suddenly, Last Summer1959Dr. Cukrowicz
The Young Lions1958Noah Ackerman
Lonelyhearts1958Adam White
Raintree County1957John Wickliff Shawnessy
From Here to Eternity1953Robert E. Lee Prewitt
Indiscretion of an American Wife1953Giovanni Doria
I Confess1953Father Michael Logan
A Place in the Sun1951George Eastman
The Big Lift1950Danny MacCullough
The Heiress1949Morris Townsend
Red River1948Matt Garth
The Search1948Ralph Stevenson
Hay Fever1939TV Movie

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
L'espion1966uncredited
Judgment at Nuremberg1961uncredited
The Search1948uncredited

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Heiress1949performer: "Plaisir d'amour The Joys of Love" 1780 - uncredited

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The New Bike2009Short acknowledgment

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Starring Sigmund Freud2012Documentary short
William Faulkner's Mississippi1965TV Movie documentaryNarrator
The David Susskind Show1964TV SeriesHimself
The Merv Griffin Show1963TV SeriesHimself
What's My Line?1963TV SeriesHimself - Mystery Guest
Here's Hollywood1962TV SeriesHimself
Operation Raintree1957Documentary shortHimself (uncredited)
The Ed Sullivan Show1954TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
La otra sala: Clásicos2016TV Series documentary
Sinatra: All or Nothing at All2015TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Listen to Me Marlon2015DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence2008TV SeriesPerce Howland in 'The Misfits'
How the West Was Lost2008TV Movie documentaryPerce Howland (uncredited)
Brando2007TV Movie documentaryHimself
Fragiles et sublimes... Stars en clair obscur2006TV Movie documentaryHimself
Ciclo Alfred Hitchcock2005TV SeriesFr. Logan
Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust2004Documentary
Biography1998-2003TV Series documentaryHimself
Sendung ohne Namen2002TV Series documentaryMatt Garth
Great Performances2002TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood Remembers Lee Marvin2000TV Movie documentaryHimself / John Wickliff Shawnessy
Sir John Mills' Moving Memories2000Video documentaryHimself
Omnibus2000TV Series documentary
The Rat Pack1999TV Series documentaryHimself
Great Romances of the 20th Century: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton1997TV Short documentary
The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender1997DocumentaryHimself
100 Years at the Movies1994TV Short documentaryHimself
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey1984DocumentaryHimself
Montgomery Clift1983DocumentaryHimself (film clips and documentary footage)
Sixty Years of Seduction1981TV Movie documentary
The Men Who Made the Movies: Howard Hawks1973TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
The Legend of Marilyn Monroe1966DocumentaryActor 'The Misfits' (uncredited)
The Love Goddesses1965DocumentaryHimself
The Ed Sullivan Show1955-1961TV SeriesPerce Howland / Himself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6104 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1962OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Supporting RoleJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Supporting ActorJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActorJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Male Supporting PerformanceJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1954OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Leading RoleFrom Here to Eternity (1953)
1952OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Leading RoleA Place in the Sun (1951)
1949OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Leading RoleThe Search (1948)

TitleSalary
Freud (1962)$130,000
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)Waived salary
Raintree County (1957)$250,000
From Here to Eternity (1953)$150,000
The Heiress (1949)$100,000
Red River (1948)$60,000
The Search (1948)$100,000

#Quote
1If I'm not interested in the movie, the audience is not going to be. How can you interest the audience if you're not interested yourself?
2The only line that's wrong in William Shakespeare is 'holding a mirror up to nature.' You hold a magnifying glass up to nature. As an actor you just enlarge it enough so that your audience can identify with the situation. If it were a mirror, we would have no art.
3Look, I'm not odd. I'm just trying to be an actor; not a movie star, an actor.
4I watched myself in Red River (1948) and I knew I was going to be famous, so I decided I would get drunk anonymously one last time.
5My childhood was hobgoblin - my parents traveled a lot. That's all I can remember
6There are parts of me all over the hospital. They can't find my colon. I know they must have been looking for it for days but they haven't mentioned it to me because they'll think I'll get upset. I don't care. To hell with it.
7Noah, from The Young Lions (1958), was the best performance of my life. I couldn't have given more of myself. I'll never be able to do it again. Never.
8[on being born the younger twin.] I was always the gentleman. I let sister see the moon before I did!
9[on Elizabeth Taylor] Liz is the only woman I have ever met who turns me on. She feels like the other half of me.
10[on Marilyn Monroe] Marilyn was an incredible person to act with, the most marvelous I ever worked with and I have been working for 29 years.
11I feel my real talent lies in directing for my later years.
12I don't want to be labeled as either a pansy or a heterosexual. Labeling is so self-limiting. We are what we do, not what we say we are.
13Good dialogue simply isn't enough to explain all the infinite gradations of a character. It's behavior -- it's what's going on behind the lines.
14[recalling his arrival in Hollywood] I told them I wanted to choose my scripts and my directors myself. "But sweetheart," they said, "you're going to make a lot of mistakes." And I told them, "You don't understand; I want to be free to do so."
15I keep my family out of my public life because it can be an awful nuisance to them. What's my mother going to tell strangers anyway? That I was a cute baby and that she's terribly proud of me? Nuts. Who cares?
16I love the stage, but after a few months you can get tired. I would rather do three movies than play in one stage hit. I played in four flops in a row when I was about 17 and I was delighted. I was being paid to be trained.
17What do I have to do to prove I can act?
18[his reported last words, upon being asked if he wanted to see one of his movies on TV] Absolutely NOT!

#Trademark
1Pioneered roles as dark, brooding, young outcasts later popularized by the likes of Marlon Brando and 'James Dean'
2Known for playing brooding sensitive characters
3Emotional acting style
4Often played emotionally tortured men
5Handsome appearance

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