The Year of Living Beautifully
Clift worked in
With five major films under his belt, Clift embarked on his most beautiful year, 1953. Clift was now a megastar, appearing as Robert E. Lee Prewitt in From Here to Eternity, as a priest in Hitchcock’s I Confess, and as an Italian schoolteacher involved in an intense affair with Jennifer Jones in Terminal Station (AKA Indiscretion of an American Wife). Aged 33, Monty was at the peak of his beauty, fame, and acting ability. He submerged himself so fully into his roles, that he lived in a Catholic church to study priests before filming I Confess, and learned to play the bugle for Eternity. After Eternity, Clift continued wearing Hawaiian shirts everywhere and still carried his bugle around.
In 1956, during
the filming of Raintree County, Clift’s career came to a crashing halt. Driving
home after attending a party at the home of close friend and co-star Elizabeth
Taylor, Clift crashed his car into a telephone pole. Clift broke his jaw and
nose and had several facial lacerations. After a lengthy recovery, Clift
returned to complete
increasingly reliant on prescription drugs and alcohol for chronic pain
resulting from his accident. He starred in only eight more films during the
next 10 years, including acclaimed performances in The Misfilts and Judgment
at Nuremberg. These last 10 years of Clift’s life have been referred to the
“longest suicide in
Montgomery Clift died July 23, 1966, at age 45, locked in his room, lying naked in bed.