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Today in Gay History

Today in Gay History: Montgomery Clift Born in 1920

montgomery clift

From queer to eternity....

One of the most beautiful men to ever appear in film, and one of the most tragic, iconic actor Montgomery Clift was born on this day in 1920.

Clift's sexuality remained an albatross about his neck and contributed to his alcoholism, though today he is a gay icon of the classic era of Hollywood like closeted contemporaries Rock Hudson, James Dean, and Tab Hunter.

Though he appeared in only 17 films during his short but illustrious career, Clift left an indelible impression on cinema as one of its pioneers of method acting--also known as that thing Jared Leto ruined for everyone--inspiring a generation of actors including Dean and Marlon Brando.

Clift earned four Academy Award nominations for his roles in The Search, A Place in the Sun (co-starring BFF Elizabeth Taylor), From Here to Eternity, and for his 12-minute performance in Judgment at Nuremberg.

Clift's relationship with Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most stable aspects of his life. They appeared in three films together, including the brilliant camp classic Suddenly, Last Summer--based off a Tennessee Williams play with a script by Gore Vidal, the film co-stars a beautifully unhinged Katharine Hepburn as the enabling mother of a gay son who outgrows her use to him.

While filming his second film with Taylor, 1957's Raintree Country, Clift got into an accident that forever altered his devastating good looks. Immediately following the accident, Taylor rushed to Clift's side and helped save his life by fishing out two of his teeth that had become lodged in his tongue, obstructing his breathing.

Clift's post-accident career is often described as the "longest suicide in Hollywood history"--already a legendary alcoholic, his drinking and addiction to prescription meds only grew worse and he died on July 23, 1966 of a heart attack. He was 45.

Today, Clift's beauty, his fierce talent, and his tragic life continue to intrigue audiences. To wit, openly gay actor and uncanny Clift look-alike Matt Bomer will play the late actor in an HBO biopic.

"He was one of those really early screen icons for me to start with," Bomer said of Clift. "Then once I learned the circumstances of his life, I realized how he was someone who did not want to be relegated to the times he lived in and was so progressive in so many ways."

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