Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Montgomery Clift: A Biography” as Want to Read:
Montgomery Clift: A Biography
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Montgomery Clift: A Biography

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  482 ratings  ·  39 reviews
...Because of Bosworth's artistry, her ability to choose the right details, and her own immersion in the subject...this book is an amazing excursion into a life. -New York Times Book Review It stands as the definitive work on the gifted, haunted actor. -L
Paperback, 438 pages
Published August 1st 2004 by Limelight Editions (first published January 1st 1978)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Montgomery Clift, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Montgomery Clift

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 855)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
If you read any biography of Montgomery Clift, read this one. The rest don't matter.

I spent half of this book wanting to cry. For the sheer pain and loss of it, of watching this car crash happen for ten years and even for years before then, of yearning for him to make good, for him to be the hero you always sensed in the movies that he wanted to be even if the movie journeys ended in tragedy themselves.

It's such an accomplishment of a book, how it manages to work so much detail and so much inti
Alexandra Richland
One of the greatest, under-appreciated actors ever is Montgomery Clift. He lived such a tragic life, that his untimely death at the age of 46 came as no surprise to his friends and family. Clift was fragile and conflicted and unfortunately he turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the pain. He was always a weak man to begin with, due to the way his mother treated him growing up so a lot of people remarked early on in his career that Hollywood would end up destroying him - how right they were. ...more
There’s a reason why this biography is considered, since its publication decades ago, as one of the very best ever written about a Hollywood personality. Bosworth has written a masterful book, which should be a model for any biographer. Written with great clarity and simplicity, yet always with style and intelligence, Clift goes behind the romantic myth of one of the great actors of the post-war era to deliver a stunningly powerful portrait – at the same time devastating, shocking, heartbreaking ...more
I first heard of Monty Clift from the Clash song "The Right Profile," but I didn't see any of his movies until I rented I Confess when I was in my 20s. I immediately knew there was something special about him. I was mesmerized by A Place in the Sun and how I could see him express several emotions in succession without appearing to do anything. Then, of course, there's his devastating beauty. Who else in 1953 had a six-pack? To heck with Burt Lancaster; to me, Monty is the star of From Here to Et ...more
With "Montgomery Clift: A Biography," I have to remember that I'm reviewing the book, not the subject.

Don't get me wrong: Monty Clift, to me, is one of the best actors to come out of the 1940's and 50's. He had poise and presence, and he worked harder than anyone to craft his performances. In many of his films, the reviews read something like, "God, this movie sucks, but Montgomery Clift gives a splendid performance as..."

His behavior off-screen was sometimes angelic, sometimes deplorable.

In C
ay, where did I see this guy?
In red river?
Or a place in the sun?
Maybe the misfits?
Or from here to eternity?

Everybody say, is he all right?
And everybody say, whats he like?
Everybody say, he sure look funny.
Thats...montgomery clift, honey!

New york, new york, new york, 42nd street
Hustlers rustle and pimps pimp the beat
Monty clift is recognized at dawn
He aint got no shoes and his clothes are torn

I see a car smashed at night
Cut the applause and dim the light
Montys face is broken on a wheel
Is he alive
Terry Michael
An uncomplicated view of a complicated, beautiful actor. Bosworth focuses on the psychology of Clift's life. Raised by an eccentric mother, he was a young boy when he did his first stage play. He pre-dated James Dean's fame by a few years - and Dean, Brando, and Actor's Studio alums thought he was the real deal. Bosworth chronicles how Clift's sensitive, almost erotic performances bridged old Hollywood "pretty" to new Hollywood's raw, more realistic portrayals. He was a stunning actor celebrated ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Lucas rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: film
I know, I know, I know --you probably figure most biographers are hacks and they are but Patricia Bosworth is as hard-boiled as Dick Francis. She knows how to cut to the point and skip all the shit.
One of those roundabout stories about how you find a book, and how it finds you: As a teenage record collector, I came upon a British creation called LP magazine. It was a gatefold LP, with several magazine pages in it, with features about the different artists who were on the album. It's the first time I got to hear Lloyd Cole & the Commotions' cover of "Glory." In the photo that accompanied the unremarkable story about Cole — who had captured my ear and who I still revere today — he was pi ...more
Erin O'Riordan
Ten things you might not know about Montgomery Clift, the devastatingly handsome and intense actor who starred in classics like 'From Here to Eternity' and 'A Place in the Sun:'

1. His two favorite words were f--- and s---.

2. It drove his mother crazy when he wore t-shirts or khakis. She wanted him dressed like a gentleman at all times.

3. Born in Omaha but raised largely in Europe, he spoke French and German fluently, and spoke with an English accent as a young man.

4. He wanted to play Hamlet an
A thoughtful, harrowing and intimate look at the great actor Montgomery Clift. He was a gifted actor who communicated the depths of human emotion. An emotional read that reveals his troubled life and lifetime struggle with alcohol and drugs. A good read and I finished this book with a somber feeling for the constant pitfalls and tragedies in his life. Montgomery's legacy, talent, and dedication to his craft is memorialized in movie history.
He was for years my favorite actor, the most astonishing on the screen where in The Search he could convey the whole drama of an American soldier still in Europe after the war. A slight tightening of the jaw and you couldn't help wondering what was coming next. In Wild River a scene with Lee Remick was the most sensual I'd ever seen on screen. And later in bad movies so disappointing and yet still giving us something more than the medium called for. Bosworth is a good biographer, making her subj ...more
Writing biographies--and reading them, too, I suppose--can be rather dull. Not for Patricia Bosworth, though. Somehow she made reading about someone's life very intriguing, juicy, and sometimes even rather vulgar. Though, I think she didn't have to work so hard at that when she had Montgomery Clift's life as material.

And his life. Wow, what a life. Monty is one of my favorite actors and arguably one of the best ones that ever graced the silver screen, too. Such an underrated actor as well, even
REM put it best: Monty got a raw deal. Driven to an unrealistic perfection of existence by his mother(with whom he had a tremendous love/hate relationship) since birth, it almost reads as if he was fated to tragedy. Magnetically talent in acting and absorbed in sucking up every aspect of life he could, he crashed to ruin over Hollywood hypocrisy, torment over his bisexuality, family drama, and drug dalliance that blew into a life crutch after a car accident that left him with pain the rest of hi ...more
Great biography. Really enjoyed it.
Interesting to see how many different sides Clift had and the opinions different people had of him. He was clearly a very troubled man, and one feels bad for him throughout the book. However, he also appears to have been difficult and often cruel, which made me slightly less sympathetic. Overall a rather depressing read, since the reader is basically following along as Clift destroys himself. The author seemed a bit biased and in awe of Clift, but she did present both positive and negative opini ...more
Michael Hartwyk
meh....not particularly well written or investigative.
Mar 12, 2010 M rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: biography
I had read about Clift years ago in my big college old movie phase. I remembered that he had led a very sad life. This book didn't seem to go into the strangeness of his childhood and relationship with his mother as much. It made it seem like Clift's alcoholism and drug use just kind of happened. I don't think that's true. He was a very talented actor, Brando and Dean emulated him. Now they are remembered, and Clift is not.
Apr 10, 2009 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys reading about "old Hollywood"
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 26, 2008 John rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the skeptical
Considered the classic work about Montgomery Clift, this book is nevertheless filled with incorrect information about him. And I don't mean the titles of the films or the dates are wrong. Clift's brother provided much of the background for this, and he was extremely biased. Bosworth is now a very accomplished writer, but this was her first work and not her best.
Joe Mossa

this life reminded me of william faulkner s life. they both were fallen down,embarassing drunks and artists thinking only of their work. this book reads more like a gossip mag than a bio. there must be 1,000 names in here which names i couldn t keep straight and didn t care to anyway. i don t think he was that good an actor ,either.
Amy Herrington
There was nothing wrong with the way this biography was written. It felt indepth and well researched. The only real reason for my rating is that it actually made me dislike Clift quite a bit! In some ways I wish I hadn't read this book. He came across as troubled, yes, but also quite arrogant with it.
This is probably one of the best biographies I have ever read. Montgomery Clift was not only beautiful, but an incredible actor. Sadly he was underrated and his life was truly tragic. For any fan I would recommend the book. Probably the best out of all the Monty biographies out there.
Very absorbing. Read this when i first moved to NYC. Became so enamored of the story and enmeshed in it's details i visited the home he died in and several spots he habited like 'The Isle of Capri'. Also visited his grave in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Excellent book.
Bosworth's writing is pretty good. I read this book about 10+ years ago and Stix is reading it for the first time. We heard Bosworth speak at BAM during the Clift series in March 2010.
An excellent biographer. Clift's life was truly tragic from his accident, drug addiction and being gay in a time before any advances had been made for equality.
Paul Lyons
Very well-written bio of a truly disturbed, tortured, yet fascinating artist whose talent influenced many of the great actors we know today...
Read this years ago and really liked it. Monty was a sad person with a very colorful life. If you like gossipy movie star books, this is a great one.
Very interesting and tragic. Such a great talent, yet very messed up. Interesting stories about movies/actors of that time period.
It was OK. A bit long-winded. I did a lot of skimming as I got tired of reading about his drug problems. Oh, what could have been.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Garbo
  • Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis
  • Swanson on Swanson
  • If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth
  • Sal Mineo: A Biography
  • Marlene Dietrich by Her Daughter
  • Ava Gardner
  • Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild
  • Lulu in Hollywood
  • Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara
  • Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino
  • Self-Portrait
  • Rebel: The Life and Legend of James Dean
  • Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming
  • My Wicked, Wicked Ways
  • The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: A Personal Biography of Bette Davis
  • Songs My Mother Taught Me
  • Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood
Patricia Bosworth is an American journalist and biographer. A former faculty member of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, she has also been an editor, actress, and model.
More about Patricia Bosworth...
Diane Arbus: A Biography Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman Marlon Brando Anything Your Little Heart Desires: An American Family Story Newsweek Condensed Books: Montgomery Clift; The Diary of Vikenty Angarov; Families; Eye of Dawn; Japan

Share This Book

“One must know a bad performance to know a good one. You can't be middle-of-the-road about it, just as you can't be middle-of-the-road about life. I mean, you can't say about Hitler, I can take him or leave him. Well, I can't be middle-of-the-road about a performance, especially my own. I feel that if I can vomit at seeing a bad performance, I'm ahead of the game.” 5 likes
More quotes…