Montgomery Clift’s last house in Manhattan
Montgomery Clift’s Manhattan house as it looked on March 3, 2014. (Photo: Rafael Martel)
Montgomery secluded himself in Manhattan where he had bought a house. The address was 217 East 61st Street. Here’s the front door today. He was living with his personal secretary, Lorenzo James. I could go on and on about his condition, but to put it bluntly, he was an emotional and physical wreck. Period.
On Monday, July 22, 1966, Monty spent the day closed off in his bedroom. He and his secretary barely exchanged a word. He had a goose liver sandwich in the afternoon. At one in the morning, Lorenzo came up to the bedroom to say goodnight. The Misfits was showing on television that night, and Lorenzo asked Monty if he wanted to watch it. “Absolutely NOT!” were the last words anyone heard Montgomery Clift say.
At six the next morning, Tuesday the 23rd, Lorenzo went to wake him. The bedroom door was locked. He tried to break it down, to no avail. He finally ran down to the garden, and climbed up a ladder into the bedroom window. He found Monty lying face up in bed, naked, but wearing glasses. His fists were clenched. He was dead at 45 years old.
Lorenzo phoned the doctor. Dr. Howard Klein came over immediately, to examine the body. Rigor mortis had already set in. Monty’s body was taken to the City Morgue at 520 First Avenue, where an autopsy was performed. No evidence of foul play or suicide was found. Official cause of death was found as occlusive coronary arteriosclerosis with pulmonary edema. In reality it was from years of alcohol and drug abuse.