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The Death of Tormented Actor Montgomery Clift (July 23, 1966)

Montgomery clift smiling Montgomery_clift2The vast majority of troubled entertainers who have died prematurely, many of whom are gay icons, have been women, e.g., Marilyn, Judy, Billie and Dinah.  One of the few men on this list is actor Montgomery Clift.  He was found dead in bed in his New York apartment the morning of July 23, 1966; he was 45.  The cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but a major contributing factor was the cumulative effect of pain killers and liquor.




Montgomery. clift 


During the first half of the 1950s Clift was considered one of Hollywood's finest actors, but his life went into a tailspin after he was seriously injured in a car accident in 1956.  He made eighteen movies during his career and was nominated for an Oscar four times - but never took a statue home (Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton were each nominated seven times without winning).  The movies were:

  • The Search (1948)
  • A Place in the Sun (1951)
  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)


Montgomeryclift_elizabethtaylorLong before his accident, Clift abused pills and booze.  Additionally, he was a closeted homosexual in the habit of picking up strangers and male hustlers, often finding himself in trouble that had to be cleaned up by his agent or movie studio.  He was moody, insecure and an outsider to Hollywood's A-list.  However, he counted Elizabeth Taylor as a close friend (they appeared together in A Place in the Sun; Suddenly Last Summer; and Raintree Country





Eliza Blue

Clift was bi-sexual, not Gay. He loved women and was with women in close intimate relationships. He yearned for a family and children. He wanted a family of his own.

Ronald James Rigney

I loved Montgomery Cliff in the Howard Hawks film Red River Which also starred John Wayne in 1948.This was the first movie that I was privileged to see. I guess I must have seen this movie at least 25 times over the years and still enjoy it today.Ronald

maria ferrell

A person Like Montgomery Cliff deserves our compassion. He seemed to struggle with his identity and just the fact that he was insecure shows his emotional suffering. He was an excellent actor, and most convincing in every role he played, from the beginning of his career. Two of his movies stand out; 'A Place In The Sun,' and 'The Heiress." He came across on the screen as very humble. Though I do not condone gay/lesbian/bi-sexual beings of life, it is none of our business and because he was so tormented, he deserves for us to give him the benefit of the doubt. My heart goes out to all people who struggle with what he experienced in life. I hope he is resting in eternal peace.


Eliza Blue - I certainly am aware there are bisexual people, but many supposedly bisexual people simply do not want the homosexual label. If Clift would risk his career and health way back in the 1940s & 50's when it totally taboo and illegal to boot to have homosexual encounters, I'd say he was probably homosexual. Wanting a family does not mean you're bisexual either. I love kids and if it wasn't for so many health problems, I would have adopted them long ago. But I have no desire to be sexual or emotionally attached (in marriage) to a woman. Just for reference - I met a very handsome Gay minister with kids. I asked him how that happened. He said a girl "serviced" him and it felt good, it was 40 years ago - he pushed his Gay feelings in the corner. Eventually he had to admit to her and himself he was Gay. Or mostly so. I realize this situation isn't every case, but a great great many.


Cliffs sexual preference is NO. ONES business!! He was a great actor!!

Steve From Area 51

Terry - Movies, movie stars and gossip go together like bacon & eggs. It just goes with the territory.

Lori Briley Tindall

Regardless of his sexual orientation, Montgomery Clift was a gifted actor who had an amazing ability to channel his characters in an authentic, believable way that made you like them. Even in 'A Place In The Sun'; in which his character performs a horrible and unthinkable deed for admittedly selfish reasons, he still comes across as sympathetic and likable. There aren't many actors who could pull that off, past or present. The fact that MC was raised by a staunch conservative father who showed no love, compassion or empathy for his son; he was physically and verbally abusive to Montgomery and treated him with disdain, is most likely the source of his insecurities and mental health issues, as opposed to his sexuality. Montgomery Clift was remarkable as an actor and that should be his legacy. RIP MC, thank you for sharing your awesome talent of channeling the regular guy onto the silver screen, thank you for entertaining us with us your talent.

Joe D

Great actor with integrity no matter what his sexual preference. He refused to play the Hollywood game. A true artist. He had many iconic film performances and influenced many actors including James Dean. Sadly, he is barely remembered today

Shari Prater

Clift was so believable in his roles, a truly gifted a actor. His ability to become his character was absolutely amazing!!

Jerry Martin

I just finished watching a retrospective of Montgomery Clift (MC) films on TCM. I’ve always remembered MC in his role in a Place in the Sun. Probably one of my favorite movies.But I got to see him in red river with John Wayne in a very uncharacteristic role. MC was a true professional in the industry. And he pulled it off so naturally. I never knew of his perscrip drug dependence for which I am very sad to hear. For his sexual preference, I could care less. Actors are playing a role and we get to know them through that character portrayal. They are put on this world for our entertainment We should look at them that way and disregard their personal life. When their personal life becomes greater than there silver screen notoriety the star becomes tarnished and the legend fades.


I saw him for the first time in The Search, and was smitten by his handsomeness, I was about fifteen years old and way back then , was' nt aware of things like ''gay'' or ''bi-sexual'' , even now at 85 I still look back and think, cor what a looker. R.I.P. Monty

Michael B

We stopped using the term "sexual preference" years ago. It's not a preference. It's an orientation. Preference assumes there's a choice. It's not a choice. I have green eyes because I have green eyes not because I choose green eyes. It may seem to be a minor point, but to those of us with green eyes and are gay, it's pretty clear. I'm not on a soapbox here. Just wanting to elevate the understanding. Thanks for reading this.

James Testa

He was great in from Here to Eternity.

Antony Padro

No matter what, Montgomery C lift was a Legend and a tremendous contributor to the movie industry. Any aspiring actor should watch and study his movies. Rest in peace Montgomery.



His brother claimed he was bi-sexual. But in 1950, he told his psychiatrist he was homosexual. His mother also commented and said she knew when he was very young that he was homosexual.

Rest peacefully, Montgomery

Marlene Gregory

Montgomery Clift was a great actor. He portr ayed his characters remarkably well. He was a one of a kind actor May he rest in peace!

Cheryl  Schroeder

I I think he was a wonderful actor, and I feel saddened that we didn’t get to see many more films with him,,


A bit sad to see there are people using the term ‘don’t condone’ in relation to sexual preference in this day and age as is expressed in one comment.

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