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Montgomery Clift

Best remembered for roles in Red River (1948), The Heiress (1949), George Stevens’s A Place in the Sun (1951), and as the self-destructive soldier Prewitt in Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity (1953)

Montgomery Clift



The Search

Red River



The Heiress



The Big Lift



A Place in the Sun



I Confess

Terminal Station

From Here to Eternity



Raintree County

Operation Raintree




The Young Lions



Suddenly, Last Summer



Wild River



The Misfits

Judgment at Nuremberg



Freud: The Secret Passion



The Defector


He received four Academy Award nominations during his career: three for Best Actor and one for Best Supporting Actor.

1948: Best Actor in a Leading Role—The Search
1951: Best Actor in a Leading Role—A Place in the Sun
1953: Best Actor in a Leading Role—From Here to Eternity
1961: Best Actor in a Supporting Role—Judgment at Nuremberg

If I’m not interested in the movie, the audience is not going to be. How can you interest the audience if you’re not interested yourself? ~ Montgomery Clift

Montgomery Clift was born on October 17, 1920, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father, William Brooks Clift (1886–1964), was a vice-president of Omaha National Trust Company. His mother was the former Ethel Fogg Anderson (1888–1988), mostly called “Sunny”. They had married in 1914. Clift had a twin sister, Ethel, who survived him by 48 years, and a brother, William Brooks Clift, Jr. (1919–1986).

Sunny Clift’s was determined to have her children brought up in the style of true aristocrats. Thus, as long as Bill Clift was able to pay for it, Brooks, Ethel and Montgomery were privately tutored, traveled extensively in America and Europe, became fluent in German and French, and were kept apart from people whom Sunny thought “common.”

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s ruined Bill Clift financially. Unemployed and broke, Bill Clift was forced to move his family to New York, but Sunny still persisted in her plans, and as her husband’s situation improved, she was able to enroll Brooks at Harvard and Ethel at Bryn Mawr College. Montgomery, however, could not adjust to school and never went to college. Instead, he took to stage acting, beginning in a summer production which led by 1935 to his debut on Broadway. For the next ten years, Clift built a successful stage career.