Montgomery Clift

Montgomery Clift


10/17/1920, Omaha, Nebraska



Birth Name

Edward Montgomery Clift


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Edward Montgomery Clift was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska. Monty was born just after his twin sister Roberta and eighteen months after his brother Brooks. Their father William made a lot of money in banking but was quite poor during the depression. Their mother Ethel…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Montgomery: (on Noah, the part he played in The Young Lions) Noah 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.

    • Whenever Montgomery played a role of a person who had to go up against an ignorant, brutal or violent person (as in the movie From here to Eternity) he would act with his father in mind as the antagonist, as his father was a violent and abusive person whom Montgomery did not get along with.

    • Montgomery was Elizabeth Taylor's choice to play her husband, the closeted homosexual Major Weldon Penderton, in the movie Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967). However, due to Montgomery's untimely death he was replaced by Marlon Brando.

    • While filming Freud (1962) Montgomery suffered from many different health problems, causing production delay on the movie set. Universal sued him for the cost of production delay. During the trial, the film was released and proved to be a big hit, prompting Montgomery's lawyers to bring up the point that the movie was a big hit because of Montgomery's involvement. The court accepted Montgomery's lawyers claim and he won a rewarding settlement.

    • Montgomery turned down Gary Cooper's role in High Noon (1952).

    • Although Montgomery was close friends with Elizabeth Taylor, he greatly disliked her then-husband, Richard Burton. Montgomery once said of him that Richard doesn't act, he recites.

    • Montgomery spoke French, Italian and German.

    • Montgomery suffered from dysentery and colitis as an adult.

    • In Marlon Brando's autobiography he wrote that Montgomery was addicted to alcohol and chloral hydrate, a depressant and sedative which he drank.

    • Montgomery was voted the 60th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

    • Once the movie A Place in the Sun (1951) was release Montgomery became Hollywood's hottest male star. He was adored by fans as he looked incredible and was a fine actor. His only rival at the time was his friend Marlon Brando. However, Montgomery's mental problems prevented him from staying at the top, due to the fact that his drinking and drug problem began to affect his acting and bankability and his good looks were lost in his near fatal car accident.

    • In 1955 Montgomery passed on five Broadway plays including Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms.

    • Montgomery turned down the role played by William Holden in Sunset Blvd. (1950), the part of James Dean's brother in East of Eden (1955), Desirée (1954), Friendly Persuasion (1956), Prince of Players (1955), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Moby Dick (1956) and The Trouble with Harry (1955).

    • Montgomery was good friends with Elizabeth Taylor, Kevin McCarthy, Marilyn Monroe and Roddy McDowall.

    • In 1956 Montgomary was nearly killed in a car accident. His close friends, Rock Hudson, Michael Wilding and Kevin McCarthy formed a protective shield in order to hide him from the photographers who were trying to take photos of him being carried to the ambulance.

    • In 1995 Montgomery was chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history.

    • Marilyn Monroe described Montgomery as the only person she knew who is in worse shape than she was.

    • Montgomery is the subject of the song The Right Profile on The Clash's album London Calling.

    • Montgomery is the subject of R.E.M.'s song "Monty Got a Raw Deal" from their album Automatic For the People.

    • Montgomery Clift was the one who gave Elizabeth Taylor the nickname "Bessie Mae."

    • Clift is one of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance. The other five actors are: Alan Arkin, James Dean, Paul Muni, Orson Welles and Lawrence Tibbett.

  • Quotes

    • Montgomery: The closer we come to the negative, to death, the more we blossom.

    • Montgomery: (comment made while filming The Misfits) I wish I were more thin-skinned. The problem is to remain sensitive to all kinds of things without letting them pull you down. Now, take this - the fact that someone drops a book of matches at a time when he most wants not to seem ill at ease. To a normal person that is not a terribly moving talent, but to an actor in films, such a thing maybe perhaps changes the whole relationship to the girl that dropped the matches. The only line I know of that's wrong in Shakespeare is 'Holding a mirror up to nature.' You hold the magnifying glass up to nature. As an actor you just enlarge it enough so that your audience can identify with a situation. If it were a mirror we would have no art. Essence is a wonderful word. Miller has written the essence of Roslyn. You'd be bored to death if it were a mirror. Take the line in the script, 'Who did this to me? The ambulance did it.' Magnifying the essential things that liberate the imagination and enable one to identify - when one has those qualities, they are fabulous gifts. Take a pause, for example. That I call a magnification. I wouldn't call it a mirror. The magnifying glass has been misused totally, but in this picture it has been put to the use of capturing what possibly is flitting in and out of someone's mind and one person's relationship to another and another, and that's what's fascinating.

    • Montgomery: One must know a bad performance to know a good one. You can't be middle-of-the-road about it, just as you can't be middle-of-the-road about life. I mean, you can't say about Hitler, I can take him or leave him. Well, I can't be middle-of-the-road about a performance, especially my own. I feel that if I can vomit at seeing a bad performance, I'm ahead of the game.

    • Montgomery: (on being labeled) I 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.

    • Montgomery: (on his family) I 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?

    • Montgomery: (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.

    • Montgomary (on Elizabeth Taylor) Liz is the only woman I have ever met who turns me on. She feels like the other half of me.

    • Montgomery Clift: The only line that's wrong in 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.

    • Montgomery Clift: Look, I'm not odd. I'm just trying to be an actor; not a movie star, an actor.