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LGBT People of History 65 - Montgomery Clift

Updated on April 12, 2012
Montgomery in 'The Search'
Montgomery in 'The Search' | Source
Montgomery in 'Judgement at Nuremberg'
Montgomery in 'Judgement at Nuremberg' | Source

Montgomery Clift

Born Edward Montgomery Clift, on October 17th 1920 in Omaha Nebraska.
His parents were William Brooks Clift and Ethel Fogg Anderson.

Clift and his siblings never attended school as they were home schooled by their mother and had private tuition in the United States and Europe. They lived like aristocrats.

Montgomery could speak French, German and Italian.

During the Second World War he was rejected for military service on medical grounds, due to him suffering from allergies and colitis. He used medication for these lingering conditions.

He appeared in Broadway at 15 years old and remained on the stage for 10 years until he moved to Hollywood.

His acting was of such an intensity that he could bring grown men to tears. He would study and develop his roles intensively. He was a tortured soul feeling intense guilt about his homosexuality. This intense emotional awareness perhaps contributed to his character development on screen.

He was perhaps one of the most handsome actors of his era and in fact in the early 1950s Marlon Brando and he were the ‘biggest’ movie actors of the era. He was close friends with Elizabeth Taylor who always supported him.

In 1956 he was involved in a horrific car crash which left him facially disfigured. He then started to rely more and more on pills and alcohol to get relief as he had taken medication previously for his intestinal problems. From this point in his life he physically and mentally deteriorated.

His major movie performances include ‘A Place in the Sun’ (1951),’From Here to Eternity’ (1953), ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ (1959). ‘The Misfits’ (1961) andJudgement at Nuremberg’ (1961). He never won an Oscar though he was nominated several times.

A powerful example of his acting ability is in ‘Judgement at Nuremberg’. He plays a survivor of Nazi concentration camp sterilisation experiments with such intensity that no-one could fail to be moved. At this point he could no longer remember lines so he ad-libbed most of them!

On July 23rd 1966 Montgomery was found dead at 6am, he had suffered a heart attack brought on by ‘occlusive coronary disease’.

Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia.


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    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      And such passion and intensity he put into his roles...


    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      He was a great actor Ian :)

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Thankyou tillsontitan. He certainly gave so much to so many people - such a pity he couldn't have some himself...


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      I've always liked Montgomery Clift an his acting ability amazed me. As you said, so intense! I never knew he was a homosexual but it still wouldn't have mattered. How sad that so much talent did nothing to enrich his life.