Montgomery Clift

Montgomery Clift

American actor (1920-1966)
Edward Montgomery Clift was an American actor. A four-time Academy Award nominee, he was known for his portrayal of "moody, sensitive young men", according to The New York Times.Wikipedia
BornOctober 17, 1920
HometownOmaha, Nebraska, United States of America
Height5'9" (1.76m)
ParentsWilliam Brooks Clift , Ethel Anderson Fogg
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‘The longest suicide in Hollywood history’: who was the real Montgomery Clift?

  • “Montgomery Clift always looked as though he had the angel of death walking along beside him,” remarked Alfred Hitchcock, in his characteristically macabre way. Clift, who would die at 45, certainly pushed his own chances of survival to the limits. He drove “much too fast, like a daredevil”, according to his friend Kevin McCarthy. On a warm May evening in 1956, just after leaving a party at Elizabeth Taylor’s Beverly Hills house, Clift raced off a steep, winding canyon road and smashed into an electricity pole. Photographs of the wrecked Chevrolet Bel Air sedan only make you consider how remarkable it was that he even lived. “Monty’s face was torn away; it was a bloody pulp. I thought he was dead,” actor McCarthy told Film Talk in 2018. Clift owed his life to Taylor, who rushed from her home to help him. “In a strange voice, he told Elizabeth that his front teeth had been knocked out and they were stuck in his throat, choking him, and he asked her to get them out. Very gently she put her fingers down into his throat and pulled them out. Then the ambulance arrived.” At the time, 35-year-old Clift was world famous for his Oscar-nominated roles in The Search, A Place in the Sun and From Here to Eternity. In their 1979 song The Right Profile, a track on the album London Calling, The Clash sang about that crash: “I see a car smashed at night / Cut the applause and dim the light / Monty’s face is broken on a wheel.” Clift’s face was indeed shattered. His head was grotesquely swollen, his nose was split in two, his jaw was broken in four places, his cheekbones were cracked, two front teeth were missing and he had severe facial lacerations. “When I first saw him I almost went into shock,” the actor Jack Larson recalled. “the only feature that remained the same were his eyes – they were still glittering, but they were now brim-full of pain.” In 1963, recalling the trauma, Clift blamed a long day’s shoot as the reason for being “half-asleep” when he crashed on a “dangerous road”. He said “I didn’t recognise myself” when he was shown his face in a mirror. Clift, who had been filming Raintree County with Taylor and Lee Marvin, was in the hospital for months. He had extensive plastic surgery. For a private man, it must have been agony to know that his physical appearance would be a source of national speculation when Raintree County was released in December 1957. Even writer Christopher Isherwood chipped in with his verdict that “Montgomery Clift has a ghastly, shattered expression… nearly all his good looks are gone.” Adele Mailer, wife of the writer Norman, recalled meeting her friend for the first time since the accident when he visited their Greenwich Village home. “When I opened the door, I didn’t recognise him,” she said in 2001. “I was shocked. It was a different face. You see it in Raintree County; his face was all patched together. But the crash was something you didn’t talk about. You didn’t bring it up, and he didn’t bring it up.” REM’s Michael Stipe also wrote a song about Clift, called “Monty Got a Raw Deal”, which dealt with the actor’s tribulations in the “Hollywood” system. Stipe told NPR that he met Taylor in 1997 at Elton John’s 50th birthday dinner at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles (the hotel where Clift recuperated after leaving hospital) and told her about his song. “She turned around, grabbed my arm and said, ‘The love that we shared then did not have a name then, and it doesn’t have a name now. It was the deepest love I’ve ever experienced.’”

MOVIES & TV SHOWS

Suddenly, Last Summer
Suddenly, Last Summer
1h 54min
1959
Lonelyhearts
Lonelyhearts
1h 41min
1976
The Defector
The Defector
1h 46min
1966
Freud
Freud
2h 20min
1962
The Misfits
The Misfits
2h 4min
1961
Wild River
Wild River
1h 50min
1960
The Young Lions
The Young Lions
2h 47min
1958
Raintree County
Raintree County
3h 7min
1957
Indiscretion of an American Wife
Indiscretion of an American Wife
1h 3min
1954
From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity
1h 58min
1953
I Confess
I Confess
1h 35min
1953
A Place in the Sun
A Place in the Sun
2h 2min
1951
The Big Lift
The Big Lift
2h
1950
The Heiress
The Heiress
1h 55min
1949
Red River
Red River
2h 13min
1948
The Search
The Search
1h 45min
1948

AWARDS

YearAssociationsCategoryWorkResult
1962Academy AwardActor in a Supporting RoleJudgment at NurembergNominated
1962British Academy of Film & Television ArtsForeign ActorJudgment at NurembergNominated
1962Golden GlobeBest Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion PictureJudgment at NurembergNominated
1954Academy AwardActorFrom Here to EternityNominated
1952Academy AwardActorA Place in the SunNominated