How did Montgomery Clift die

Edward Montgomery Clift was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of the successful stockbroker William Brooks Clift (1886-1964). Together with his brother Brooks (1919-1986), who also became an actor, and his twin sister Roberta (1920-2014), Clift grew up in a wealthy family. He received private tuition, traveled to Europe with his mother Ethel (1888-1988) and was introduced to art and literature at an early age. Through his stays abroad and appropriate training, he later spoke fluent Italian and French.

He was only thirteen when he first appeared in the Sarasota Amateur Theater, Florida, and two years later he played his first lead role on Broadway in "Fly Away Home". Even at a young age he became a professional actor and quickly made a name for himself in the theater world as an outstanding character actor. Hollywood soon became aware of the brilliant-looking, talented young man. But Clift initially turned down various offers, until Howard Hawks in the class western "Panik am Rote River"1) (1948, Red River2)) gave the role of Matt Garth, the rebellious stepson of John Wayne.

Fred Zinnemann's work "The Drawn"1) (1948, The Search), in which Clift also played the lead role and was awarded an Oscar nomination for his performance, hit theaters shortly before the Hawks Western. The impression made by "Monty", as he was called by his fans, was enormous and the "angry young man" rose to become the "most auspicious star in the Hollywood firmament". Years before screen idols such as Marlon Brando and James Dean, the sensitive, introverted mime became the representative of an entire generation as a youthful rebel. For his haunting interpretations, he relied on the method of detailed character research practiced by the "Actors Studio".
Montgomery Clift as GI Ralph Stevenson in "The Drawn"
Source / Link: or archive "Praesens-Film AG" Zurich ",
with the kind permission of Peter Gassmann (Praesens-Film AG, Zurich); © Praesens-Film AG

After the strip "The Heiress"1) (1949, The Heiress) and "It started with a kiss"1) (1950, The Big Lift) Clift had his next big success as the opportunistic climber George Eastman next to Elisabeth Taylor in the melodrama "Ein Platz an der Sonne"1) (1951, A Place in the Sun2)) by director George Stevens - a renewed Oscar nomination was the reward. In 1953, again with director Fred Zinnemann, the multi-award-winning bestselling film "Damned in all eternity" followed.1) (From Here to Eternity2)) based on the novel of the same name by James Jones. Clift played the role of soldier Robert Lee Prewitt alongside Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr and Frank Sinatra so vividly that a third Oscar nomination recognized this. He turned down two offers for productions that should make film history under the direction of Elia Kazan and so the "fist in the neck" became a triumph for Marlon Brando, while "Jenseits von Eden" established the fame of James Dean. So in 1953, Clift had a considerable success in the Hitchcock thriller "Condemned to Silence" (I Confess; also: I confess).
Condemned to silence / I confess
Title USA: I Confess
Black and white, USA, 1953
Genre: Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Montgomery Clift: Father Michael W. Logan
Anne Baxter: Ruth Grandfort
Karl Malden: Inspector Larrue
Brian Aherne: Willy Robertson
Dolly Haas: Alma Keller
O.E. Hasse: Otto Keller, and others
(The links lead to Wikipedia or to the spa portrait within this HP)
Letter content:
The German emigrant Otto Keller is a sacristan in a church in Quebec, but not a very honorable one. When he is surprised by a lawyer during a break-in, he kills him.
Immediately afterwards he kneels in the confessional with Father Logan and confesses what he has done. The strict rule of the Catholic secrecy of confession forbids the Father from talking to anyone about this confession of guilt in the future.
Because Keller wore a cassock during his crime, Father Logan also comes under suspicion, but this turns out to be fatal because Logan was blackmailed by the murder victim.
The dubious lawyer of the sacristan was also aware that the priest had a relationship with a married woman before his ordination. This knowledge, of course, influences the jury
Further information:
The thriller is based on the 1902 play "Nos Deux Consciences" by Paul Anthelme. The script was written by the playwright William Archibald and the renowned playwright George Tabori1) (1914-2007). In retrospect, Alfred Hitchcock, an avowed Catholic, was not too happy about his decision to make a film of the play "Nos deux conscience". Whoever really wants to understand "condemned to silence" must also know the absoluteness with which a Catholic priest is bound to his confessional secret. And that in turn can hardly be assumed for viewers from other denominational areas.

The film was still a success and even a real classic. This is certainly due to the dense direction and the actors, among others O. E. Hasse as Otto Keller, Dolly Haas as his wife, Karl Malden as Inspector Larrue and especially Montgomery Clift as the inimitable Father Logan. With leading actor Montgomery Clift, however, Hitchcock had problems because the then popular actor was already a neurotic and drinker at that time.
Lexicon of international film:
Although it appears a bit clumsy and constructed, the film is gripping and plays an instructive role in Hitchcock's oeuvre.

Source: Dirk Jasper FilmLexikon (page no longer online)
See also Wikipedia,,
1) Link Wikipedia

In Edward Dmytryk's secession epic "The Land of the Rain Tree"1) (1957, Raintree County2)) played Clift again with Elisabeth Taylor, the filming was overshadowed by a serious car accident, Clift sustained serious injuries that showed on his face despite the healing. His attractive features were disfigured by scars and at times he was almost completely paralyzed on one side. But the actor was still in demand, Edward Dmytryk cast him in his anti-war film "The Young Lions", based on the novel by Irwin Shaw.1) (1958, The Young Lions2)) - at the side of his competitor Marlon Brando. In the same year came the melodrama "Life is Lie"1) (1958, Lonelyhearts) in the cinemas, Clift then achieved a great success with the role of neurologist Dr. Cukrowicz in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film adaptation of the play "Suddenly Last Summer"1) (1959, Suddenly, Last Summer2)) from Tennessee Williams.

At that time it was no longer to be overlooked that Montgomery Clift was increasingly suffering from depression. In his eyes Weltschmerz was not only reflected on the screen, he also suffered privately, the self-contempt for his homosexuality brought out his self-destructive traits more and more clearly, he also got into talk about drug and alcohol abuse. But he was still able to shine with the portrayal of self-doubting heroes, such as the engineer Chuck Glover in Elia Kazan's melodramatic social study "Wilder Strom"1) (1960, Wild River), as rodeo rider Perce Howland in John Huston's Arthur Miller adaptation "Misfits"1) (1961, The Misfits2)) or as a Jewish concentration camp survivor Rudolph Petersen in the award-winning Klaasiker "The Judgment of Nuremberg"1) (1961, Judgment at Nuremberg2)), which Stanley Kramer had staged with a high-profile cast after the 1947 trial; Clift received an Oscar nomination for his performance. In John Huston's biopic "Freud"1) (1962, Freud - The secret passion) Clift was able to shine again as a charismatic actor with the title role, after that it became quiet around him, Hollywood had no more use for the sick star. He lost many friends and withdrew more and more into his world for a few years. His last film, the spy thriller "Silent Guns"1) (1966, The Defector) shot Clift in France.
On July 23, 1966, Montgomery Clift died of a heart attack in New York at the age of 45 - just as he was making a comeback alongside Elizabeth Taylor in the drama "Reflection in the Golden Eye"1) (Reflections in a Golden Eye) - the role of Major Penderton was then played by Marlon Brando. Director and acting teacher Robert Lewis called Montgomery Clift's death "the longest suicide in the film business." Although Montgomery Clift only made 17 films in his life, the actor is one of the charismatic screen idols who have made film history with their expressive play.
He found his final resting place in the "Friends Quaker Cemetery" (Prospect Park) in Brooklyn (New York City) →