1920 – 1966
One of his biographers called him “a beautiful loser,” and this is probably apt; money doesn’t buy happiness and neither does a chiseled jaw and a natural mesomorph’s bod. Monty made his Hollywood debut in 1948’s Red River, costarring John Wayne, who wasn’t big on working with “queer” Method actors and later got several Oscar nominations playing dashing, brooding young men, like the one he played opposite Liz Taylor in A Place in the Sun. A car accident after leaving a party at Liz’s house one night in 1956 left him with some slight facial injuries, but it was the pain killers and subsequent boozing and depression that started to take a toll on Monty’s famous looks. Despite having affairs with Marlon Brando and Tony Perkins and cruising the Meat Rack on Fire Island, old Monty never seemed to find love or comfort except from friends, and died in his sleep of heart failure at the age of 45.
The Evidence Mom Ignored
Occupation: Method actor, Hollywood icon, friend to Brando and Liz Taylor. 4 out of 10 gay points.
Appearance: maintained the same East coast, clean-cut image of queer peers Tony and Rock — it was the 50s after all — but also had some rock-hard abs! And in this interview from the mid-60s we find him a little more fey and hand-wavey. 6/10
Demeanor: His mother ID’d him as a homo when he was 13. He tried to be butch on screen (he would ask costars whether his hand movements looked too fey during a take), but still displayed the kind of sensitive vulnerability that made Hitchcock cast him as a priest in I Confess. Oh, and he had a habit of getting crazy drunk and running naked through hotels. 7/10
Beards: none, never married; had a number of female and married couple friends; barely dated women but tried to from time to time, and oddly, before he died, talked about sharing his townhouse with a wife and kids one day. 8/10
Minstrelsy: not really, unless you count that role as a priest. 1/10
Total Score: 27 points – Barely Any Smoke… (see scale)
Monty was a downlow homo, and as R.E.M. sang, Monty got a raw deal. He missed Stonewall and the sexual revolution by three years, and instead was known by friends to be sort of childlike, alternately sweet and tortured, and prone to locking himself in his bedroom for days at a time. He was a troubled addict–and he might have been a troubled addict had he been out of the closet–but we don’t blame Mom for loving him without question and never wondering if he might not prefer girls.
And now some video evidence. First, a stunning bit of Super-8 home movie shot at Brando’s house (from the documentary Brando) where you can see the young bucks dressing up, mugging for the camera, and clearly having a bromance that was more of a romance/fuckbuddy sort of deal. (Also, Brando does drag.)
In this scene from Hitchcock’s I Confess, we find the camera lingering right where we want to be, in a closeup on Clift’s pretty features as he takes a murderer’s confession.
Mom Thought They Were Straight?: The Series
Girls On Film: Sebastian Venable (from ‘Suddenly, Last Summer’)
Friends and Family Discuss Montgomery Clift’s Gayness
Mom Thought He Was Straight?: Liberace
The Montgomery Clift Shrine (fansite)
Artists in Action – Montgomery Clift (if charlie parker was a gunslinger…)
Tragic Star: The Life of Montgomery Clift (Morbid Outlook)
Montgomery Clift (Wikipedia)
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