A biographer is speaking out this week to talk about the strong bond between the Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
Charles Casillo, who wrote the book “Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship,” said that Taylor and Clift had a tight friendship from the time they met when they starred together in 1951’s A Place In The Sun to the actor’s death in 1966 at the age of 45. Casillo said that the two stars shared an “extraordinary” bond and that he is convinced that Taylor and Clift were “soulmates.”
“Through the years, only bits and pieces of their friendship were reported,” Casillo told Fox News. “After speaking to my sources, and doing the research, I felt a full exploration of that relationship was really necessary.”
“One of the big questions that has always been on everybody’s mind is did they or didn’t they?” he added. “Were they sexually involved or not? My conclusion was that although Elizabeth would have very much liked to have been with Monty in that way, it wasn’t possible because he was predominately gay.”
Taylor was just 17 and Clift was 29 when they met, but the two bonded immediately.
“There was an instant connection,” Casillo described. “Elizabeth said he was the most gorgeous thing she’s ever seen. And Monty became excited to work with her. And the bond only grew when they began to work together.”
It didn’t take long for Taylor to fall for him.
“She was a virgin and ready for her first dramatic love affair,” the author explained. “She thought Monty was gorgeous and intelligent. She was already being considered by many as an object of lust. And yet he was the first person who looked at her beyond her physical self. She truly fell in love with him in a sexual way.”
Though Clift was flattered by the attention, a romance with Taylor was never in the cards for him.
“He was gay, which she didn’t know at first,” said Casillo. “He was trying to convey that to her in certain ways without coming right out. For example, he would bring in men that he was dating onto the set to meet her.”
“In later years, Elizabeth would say that it was very obvious,” he continued. “But that didn’t stop this great friendship from forming. Elizabeth once said, ‘I told him things that I’ve never told anyone else and I never will. And he told me things that I will never tell anybody else.’ That’s just the kind of connection they had.”
“The truth is, Elizabeth was insecure in her life as a woman and as an actress,” Casillo added. “Monty wanted her to know that she was more than just her body, her face. He helped her build that self-esteem. It gave her a sense of encouragement that she too could truly be an actress with talent. He was deep and sensitive, but with Elizabeth, he could let loose, make jokes. He didn’t have to pretend and be somebody he wasn’t around her. He could be honest. And in those days, as a closeted man, that must have meant the world to him.”
Taylor would save Clift’s love in 1956, when he was in a car crash after leaving a dinner party at her home. The crash was reportedly so loud that Taylor heard it from her house and rushed to the scene.
“The car looked like an accordion,” said Casillo. “He was crumpled up inside and his face was completely destroyed. His nose and jaw were broken in several places. The car was still running and it was dangerous to get in. Because of the impact, the doors wouldn’t open. It was Elizabeth who pulled at the back door and managed to get in. He started choking and she actually stuck her fingers down his throat to pull out his broken teeth. Everyone at the scene said she literally saved his life.”
Clift needed serious plastic surgery after the accident, and his career was never the same.
“His career suffered,” Casillo said. “His drug and alcohol levels took off. He became harder and harder to cast. His physical condition deteriorated to the point that no insurance company wanted to get involved. And no director wanted to hire him because he couldn’t get insured. But Elizabeth fought for him. She put her career on the line to make sure that he always got his chance to work. She became the most powerful person in Hollywood and she used her influence to make sure that Monty could still work.”
Sadly, Clift struggled with drugs and alcoholism in the years after that, and he died of a heart attack in 1966 at the age of 45. Taylor was “completely broken” when she heard the news.
“Richard Burton said when she heard the news, she went into her room to be alone,” said Casillo. “He could hear the screams from the room. She was just devastated. She later told the press, ‘I lost my brother, my friend.’ And I think she truly did.”
Taylor passed away in 2011 at the age of 79, and Casillo is hoping that his new book will give fans more insight into her magical friendship with Clift.
“She was a true friend who loved you to the very end and I don’t think that gets enough attention,” he said. “As for Monty, he was all about truthfulness in his acting and life. He didn’t like to hide. He didn’t like to lie. So in many ways, they saved each other.”