Montgomery Clift, 1920-1966
bisexual American film & stage actor
"A man dreaming of fairies" - Sabian Symbol for Monty Clift's Ascendant (4° Virgo)
Astrology chart, profile, books, DVDs, links
Virgo Ascendant, Libra Sun, Sagittarius Moon, Jupiter Rising
Edward Montgomery Clift, born 17 October 1920,
Omaha, Nebraska, USA. RR: AA (from birth certificate). Sy Scholfield [copyright] quotes data (including time of birth for chart) from The Clifford Data Compendium; used with permission. DIED: 23 July 1966, New York City, NY, USA (aged 45).
FEATURES: PERSONALIZED PLANETS:
Virgo JUPITER (conjunct Ascendant; semi-square Sun; disposits Sagittarius Moon), Scorpio MERCURY (conjunct South Node), Scorpio VENUS (conjunct IC), Pisces URANUS (conjunct Descendant).
PATTERNS: T-SQUARE (Moon opposite Mars, both square Aries CHIRON).
CHINESE SIGN: METAL MONKEY. NUMEROLOGY: "3" LIFEPATH.
Wikipedia Biography [with Astrology notes by Sy Scholfield]
Montgomery Clift was known for brooding, sensitive, working-class character roles, and received four Academy Award nominations during his career. [Clift's rising planet Jupiter rules the Moon in his 4th House explaining the broodiness; his Ascendant ruler Chiron is aspected by all 3 water planets - Moon, Neptune and Pluto - indicating emotional sensitivity]
Clift was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Ethel Fogg (she had been adopted by the Fogg family) and William Brooks Clift, at that time Vice-President of Omaha National Bank [Sun (father) in Libra (money) in the 2nd House (materialism, banking)]. Clift had a twin sister Roberta [Venus (sister) conjunct Mercury (twin)], and also a brother William Brooks (born eighteen months earlier). Clift was always treated as the baby of the family, although he was only minutes younger than his twin Roberta. Their mother Ethel, nicknamed "Sunny" [Moon (mother) in the Leo (sunny) decanate of happy-go-lucky Sagittarius], spent part of her life and her husband's money seeking to claim her southern lineage. She at age 18 had been told the secret of her birth. Monty Clift was the great-grandson of Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General under President Abraham Lincoln. He was also the great great-grandson of Francis Preston Blair, a journalist and adviser to President Andrew Jackson, and Levi Woodbury, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
As part of Sunny's lifelong preparation for acceptance by her biological family (a goal never fully achieved), she raised Clift and his siblings as if they were aristocrats. As a result, her children lived a very sheltered life during their early years, including when they traveled to Europe with their mother. They had private tutors, not attending a regular school until they were in their teens [Rising Jupiter in the (aristocractic) Capricorn decanate of Virgo rules his 4th House (one's breeding)]. The adjustment was difficult, particularly for Montgomery. His performance as a student lagged behind that of his sister and brother. [Jupiter is conjunct Saturn (limitations) and quincunxed by its ruler Chiron (difficult adjustments)]
Clift was trained in French, German, and Italian.
Appearing on Broadway at the age of thirteen [theatrical Neptune at 13° of dramatic Leo in the 12th House], Clift achieved success on the stage and starred there for ten years before moving to Hollywood, debuting in 1948's Red River opposite John Wayne.
In 1958 he turned down what became Dean Martin's role in Rio Bravo, which would have reunited him with Wayne. This may have been because of the tension between the two actors: Wayne would refuse to socialize with Clift between takes during the filming of Red River because of Wayne's disapproval of Clift's indeterminate sexuality.
Clift was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor that same year for The Search. His sensitive and intense quality gave him an image as the kind of a person to be taken care of. [Virgo-rising people often come across as vulnerable and needing protection]
His love scenes with Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951) represented a new standard for romance in cinema. His roles in A Place in the Sun, the 1953 classic From Here to Eternity and The Young Lions (1958) were career milestones. [the Sun-Lion themes tap into his Neptune in Leo]
Clift and Marlon Brando, who was also born in Omaha, had reputations as Hollywood rivals because of their rapid rise to stardom and similar acting styles. Clift was one of James Dean's idols and he would sometimes call him "just to hear his voice".
Clift reportedly turned down the starring roles in Sunset Boulevard and East of Eden At one point he was receiving so many offers of roles that they literally filled up his home. Friends had to squeeze past stacks of them in order to walk up the stairs.
On May 12, 1956, while filming Raintree County, he smashed his car into a telephone pole after leaving a party at the home of his Raintree County co-star Elizabeth Taylor and her then-husband Michael Wilding [transiting Saturn conjunct his IC; transiting Uranus (28° Cancer) in a wedge pattern with his MC-IC axis]. Alerted by friend Kevin McCarthy, who witnessed the accident, Taylor raced to Clift's side and kept him from choking to death by removing two of his teeth, which had become lodged in his throat. Clift suffered spinal damage [Saturn is associated with teeth and bones]. Most of the injuries on his face were apparently below the skin; doctors elected not to do plastic surgery. In a filmed interview, he later described how his nose could be snapped back into place. After a long recovery, he returned to the set to finish the film. Against the movie studio's worries over profits, Clift rightly predicted the film would do well, if only because moviegoers would flock to see the difference in his facial appearance before and after the accident [transiting Nodal axis (8° Gemini-Sagittarius) at time of car accident in a wedge with natal Chiron (7° Aries), ruler of his Ascendant]. The pain of the accident led him to rely on alcohol and pills for relief, as he had done after an earlier bout with dysentery (thanks to a film shot in Mexico) left him with chronic intestinal problems [During the accident transiting Neptune at 28° Libra formed a sextile with natal Mars, ruler of his 8th House (trauma)]. As a result, Clift's health and looks deteriorated considerably. Taylor and Clift remained close friends until his death.
His post-accident career has been referred to as the "longest suicide in Hollywood" because of his alleged substance abuse [Ascendant ruler (self) in 8th House (death) can indicate suicidal tendencies]. Clift continued to work over the next ten years. His next three films would be Lonelyhearts (1958), The Young Lions (1958) and Suddenly Last Summer (1958). Clift starred with Lee Remick in Elia Kazan's Wild River in 1960, a film listed in the United States National Film Registry. He then costarred in John Huston's The Misfits (1961), which turned out to be the last film for both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Monroe, who was also having emotional problems at the time, famously described Clift as: "The only person I know who is in worse shape than I am." By the time Clift was making John Huston's Freud the Secret Passion (1962) his destructive lifestyle was affecting his health. Universal sued him for his frequent absences which caused the film to go over budget. The case was later settled out-of-court; the film's success at the box office brought numerous awards for screenwriting and directing, but none for Clift himself.
Clift's last Oscar nomination was for best supporting actor for his riveting role in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), a seven-minute part. The film also starred Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, and Judy Garland. The film's director, Stanley Kramer, later wrote in his memoirs about how Clift—by this stage a wreck of a man—struggled to remember his lines...
On Monday, July 22, 1966, Clift spent most of the day in his bedroom in his New York City townhouse. He and his live-in personal secretary, Lorenzo James, had not spoken much all day. At 1 a.m., Lorenzo went up to say goodnight. The Misfits was airing on TV that night, and Lorenzo asked Clift if he wanted to watch it. "Absolutely NOT!" was the reply. This turned out to be the last time Montgomery Clift spoke to anyone. At 6 a.m. the next morning, Lorenzo went to wake him, but found the bedroom door locked. Unable to break it down, he ran down to the garden and climbed a ladder to the bedroom window. When he got inside, he found Clift dead. He was undressed, lying on his back in bed, with glasses on and fists clenched. He was 45 years old.
Clift's body was taken to the City Morgue at 520 First Avenue and autopsied. The autopsy report cited the cause of death as a heart attack brought on by "occlusive coronary artery disease" [Solar arc-progressed Sun (heart) at 9° Sagittarius quincunx natal Pluto (the hidden becomes manifest)]. No evidence was found that suggested foul play or suicide. It is commonly believed that addiction was responsible for Clift's many health problems and his death. In addition to lingering effects of dysentery and chronic colitis, an underactive thyroid was later revealed [Uranus in Pisces (underactivity) at end of, and ruling, 6th House (health issues)]. A condition that among other things lowers blood pressure, it may have caused Clift to appear drunk or drugged when he was sober. (A further health issue, though unrelated, was that Clift underwent cataract surgery in his later years; afterwards he had to wear glasses for the first time.)
Following a fifteen-minute ceremony at St. James Church attended by 150 guests including actresses Lauren Bacall and Nancy Walker, Clift was buried in the Quaker Cemetery, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City. Elizabeth Taylor, who was in Paris, sent flowers, as did Roddy McDowell, Myrna Loy, and Lew Wasserman.
Patricia Bosworth, who had access to Clift's family and many people who knew and worked with him, writes in her book, "Before the accident Monty had drifted into countless affairs with men and women. It suited his personality to have sex with a variety of partners. After the accident and his drug addiction became more serious, Monty was often impotent, and sex became less important to him. His deepest commitments were emotional rather than sexual anyway, and reserved for old friends; he was unflinchingly loyal to men like Bill Le Massena and women like Elizabeth Taylor, Libby Holman, Nancy Walker and Ann Lincoln." When he bought his Manhattan townhouse in 1960 at 217 East 61st Street, and became involved in renovations, he reported to a close friend that he envisioned living there someday with a wife and kids [Neptune in 12th House ruling 7th House can indicate daydreaming, confusion & even delusion about one's relationships].
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