Montgomery Clift, Actor, b. October 17, 1920, d. July 23, 1966.

Monty Clift was born in Omaha, Nebraska. Oddly enough, his father was a successful Wall Street stockbroker who was always in New York on business. Considering transportation speed in the 1920s, this was quite an achievement for Monty's father, but it kept him out of his son's life most of the time and forced his mother to play both parental roles.

Until the stock market crash, the Clifts led a fairly extravagant lifestyle, with frequent trips to Europe and Bermuda, where they had a second home. After the stock market crash, which happened when Monty was 13, the family moved to Sarasota, Florida and began a more modest lifestyle. It was in Sarasota that Montgomery began his acting career, joining a local theatre group. When it became clear that Monty was a natural on the stage, the family moved to Sharon, Massachusetts, allowing Monty to audition on Broadway and secure his first Broadway role in Fly Away Home.

After Fly Away Home ran for two seasons on Broadway, the Clifts moved to Manhattan. After Monty secured his second Broadway role, the lead in Dame Nature he became a star. He was 17.

Loving the stage but not the camera, Monty refused constant Hollywood offers and remained on Broadway. However, he would eventually receive an offer he could not refuse, co-starring with John Wayne and Walter Brennan in the classic western Red River. His next Hollywood role, in the film The Search would secure Montgomery Clift screen fame.

His famous friendship with Elizabeth Taylor helped create the powerful chemistry of A Place in the Sun. So fond of Liz Taylor, Clift would accept roles without reading the script as long as the opportunity to act with Taylor was involved. Then, after A Place in the Sun Clift would make himself unavailable for two years, re-emerging only after coaxing from Alfred Hitchcock for I Confess which led him to his most noted role in From Here to Eternity. He would eventually return to Broadway, but return to Hollywood for the film Raintree County. It would be the last film he would make before his infamous automobile accident.

It was May of 1957 and Monty Clift was attending a dinner party over at Elizabeth Taylor's place. Driving home, he went off the road and collided with a telephone pole. His injuries, which included a broken nose, jaw and severe facial lacerations required plastic surgery. After only eight weeks in the hospital, Monty Clift would begin the period of his acting career that "inspired" The Clash to later write their song "The Right Profile."

After the accident, Monty would not drop off the face of the earth, but instead went on to success in films such as Judgement at Nuremberg (for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and The Misfits (which was the last film for both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe) and The Young Lions with Marlon Brando. Montgomery Clift's last role would be in The Defector, a film he was cast in while waiting to film Reflections in a Golden Eye with Elizabeth Taylor. Before shooting on Reflections... could begin, Montgomery Clift died of a heart attack at home in July of 1966. This followed a period where Clift was sued and then smeared in the press for his excessive drinking, which many believe led to his heart attack at the age of 46.


Resources used: allmovie.com
and Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Stars of All Time

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