Tag Archives: Montgomery Clift

Gay History Month – October 17: Happy Birthday Montgomery Clift, The Black Lesbian Conference and Liberace

 

October 17th.

1920:  Actor Montgomery Clift is born in Omaha Nebraska. Clift often played outsiders and “victim-heroes” examples include the social climber in George Stevens’s A Place in the Sun, the anguished Catholic priest in Hitchcock’s I Confess, the doomed regular soldier Robert E. Lee Prewitt in Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity, and the Jewish GI bullied by antisemites in Edward Dmytryk’s The Young Lions.

Clift’s performance in 1951’s A Place in the Sun is regarded as one of his signature method acting performances. He worked extensively on his character and was again nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. For his character’s scenes in jail, Clift spent a night in a real state prison. He also refused to go along with director George Stevens’ suggestion that he do “something amazing” on his character’s walk to the electric chair. Instead, he walked to his death with a natural, depressed facial expression.

Clift was notoriously picky with his projects.  According to Elizabeth Taylor  “Monty could’ve been the biggest star in the world if he did more movies.” Clift reportedly turned down the starring role in East of Eden just as he had for Sunset Boulevard.

On the evening of May 12, 1956, while filming Raintree County, Clift was involved in a serious auto accident when he apparently fell asleep while driving and smashed his car into a telephone pole minutes after leaving a dinner party at the Beverly Hills home of his close friend and co-star, Elizabeth Taylor, and her second husband, Michael Wilding. Alerted by friend Kevin McCarthy, who witnessed the accident, Taylor raced to Clift’s side, manually pulling a tooth out of his tongue as he had begun to choke on it. He suffered a broken jaw and nose, a fractured sinus, and several facial lacerations which required Wisconsin plastic surgeon

In 1961, with the scars still visible and the left side of his face immobilized from the car crash, Clift gave a stunning portrayal of Rudolph Peterson, an emotionally unstable and physically tortured concentration camp victim in the Stanley Kramer film Judgment at Nuremberg,” earning Clift a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.  

Clift became addicted to alcohol and prescription drug abuse, and became erratic. Nevertheless, he continued his acting career, playing such parts as “the reckless, alcoholic, mother-fixated rodeo performer” in John Huston’s The Misfits, the title role in Huston’s Freud.

Montgomery Clift died of a heart attack brought on by “occlusive coronary artery disease” at the age of 46.

During his life Montgomery Clift’s homosexuality was carefully guarded from fans but there were few on the business side of Hollywood  who did not know about it.

Following a 15-minute ceremony at St. James’ Church attended by 150 guests, including Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Walker.

Montgomery Clift was buried in the Friends [Quaker] Cemetery ,Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City.  Elizabeth Taylor, who was in Paris and was a close friend of Monty’s sent flowers, as did Roddy McDowall, Myrna Loy and Lew Wasserman.

Rest in Peace Monty.

1980: The first Black Lesbian Conference took place in San Francisco, California. A development stemming from the first National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference held in Washington, D.C., the previous year, over 200 women were in attendance. One of the conference goals was reportedly to address the wide spectrum of needs for black lesbians and “to provide the courage and strength necessary to make those needs felt in places where it becomes necessary.” Angela Davis gave the conference’s keynote address.

1995: The Advocate published a ground-breaking interview with Barney Frank, Steve Gunderson and Gerry Studds — the three openly gay members of congress at that time. Barney Frank has consistently remained one of the most outspoken and influential gay politicians to this date. That was when of course the Advocate was a legitimate and serious source of news .

1998: The National Gay and Lesbian Law Association appointed Melinda Whiteway as co-chair of the organization, making her the first openly transgender person to hold the position. This is reportedly the only queer law association to be affiliated with the American Bar Association.

 2010: The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas closed after 31 years.

The Liberace Museum closed “indefinitely, but not forever” according to Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Jeffrey Koep. The closure was announced due to economic downturn and a decline in the number of visitors. The museum’s board of directors is continuing to seek a new home for the museum on Las Vegas strip, but the efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.

On the day of the closing, Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Doug Elfman noted that several overly enthusiastic fans attempted to remove some of the small mirrors decorating Liberace’s Rolls-Royce, and another tried to steal a hood ornament from a car on display.

That old gal Lee, would not have been happy.

Matt Bomer To Star In HBO Biopic About The Tragic Life Of Closeted Gay Movie Star Montgomery Clift

Matt Bomer Monty Clift

 

Matt Bomer is soon to return to HBO in the premium cable network’s biopic “Monty Clift”.

 Bomer, an openly gay man and heartrob to many men and women alike  won critical praise for his work in HBO’s The Normal Heart.  Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zachariasto to rewrite the script originally penned by Christopher Lovick that centers on the complicated life and hidden gay life of Clift (Bomer), who finds himself deeply involved with a young Elizabeth Taylor following the filming of A Place in the Sun.

Via Deadline Hollywood

“To see the kind of intense vulnerability and realism that he brought to his work at a time when that was not the style—it’s profound,” Bomer said in an interview last year. “He knew everything he was feeling inside—or if he didn’t, you wondered, why was he feeling that when the scene was this? To get to portray someone who was so formative to me as an artist would be terrifying and daunting and thrilling.

Clift’s performance in A Place in the Sun is regarded as one of his signature method acting performances. He worked extensively on his character and was again nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. For his character’s scenes in jail, Clift spent a night in a real state prison. He also refused to go along with director George Stevens’ suggestion that he do “something amazing” on his character’s walk to the electric chair. Instead, he walked to his death with a natural, depressed facial expression.   Charlie Chaplin called the movie “the greatest movie made about America.” The film received added media attention due to the rumors that Clift and Taylor were “dating” in real life. They were billed as “the most beautiful couple in Hollywood.” Many critics still call Clift and Taylor “the most beautiful Hollywood movie couple of all time.”

On the evening of May 12, 1956, while filming Raintree County, Clift was involved in a serious auto accident when he smashed his car into a telephone pole after leaving a dinner party at the Beverly Hills home of his now close friend Elizabeth Taylor and her second husband, Michael Wilding. Alerted by friend Kevin McCarthy, who witnessed the accident, Taylor raced to Clift’s side, manually pulling a tooth out of his tongue as he had begun to choke on it. He suffered a broken jaw and nose, a fractured sinus, and several facial lacerations which required plastic surgery

Although the results of Clift’s plastic surgeries were remarkable for the time, there were noticeable differences in his appearance, particularly the right side of his face. The pain of the accident led him to rely on alcohol and pills for relief, as he had done after an earlier bout with dysentery left him with chronic intestinal problems. As a result, Clift’s health and physical appearance deteriorated considerably from then until his death.

Elizabeth Taylor was a significant figure in his life. He met her when she was supposed to be his date at the premiere for The Heiress. They appeared together in A Place in the Sun, where, in their romantic scenes, they received considerable acclaim for their naturalness and their appearance. Clift and Taylor appeared together again in Raintree County and Suddenly, Last Summer.

Clift never physically or emotionally recovered from his car accident. His post-accident career has been referred to as the “longest suicide in Hollywood history””.   Because of his alleged subsequent abuse of painkillers and alcohol.  He began to behave erratically in public, which embarrassed his friends, including Kevin McCarthy and Jack Larson. Nevertheless, Clift continued to work over the next ten years.

But despite earning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for portraying Rudolph Peterson, a victim of forced sterilization at the hands of Nazi authorities in the Stanley Kramer film Judgment at Nuremberg Monty was considered unemployable in the mid 1960s, Taylor put her salary for the film on the line as insurance, in order to have Clift cast as her co-star in Reflections in a Golden Eye.

Clift also had a relationship with legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins

Clift and Taylor remained good friends..

Montgomery Clift died on on July 22, 1966.  The autopsy report cited the cause of death as a heart attack brought on by “occlusive coronary artery disease”