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Robert Montgomery

from the trailer for the film
Night Must Fall (1937)
Born Henry Montgomery Jr.
May 21, 1904(1904-05-21)
Beacon, New York, U.S.
Died September 27, 1981 (aged 77)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Director
Years active 1929–1960
Spouse(s) Elizabeth "Buffy" Grant Harkness
(1950 – 1981) (his death)
Elizabeth Allen (1928 – 1950) (divorced)

Robert Montgomery (May 21, 1904 – September 27, 1981) was an American actor and director.

Contents

Early life

Montgomery was born Henry Montgomery Jr. in Beacon, New York, then known as "Fishkill Landing", the son of Mary Weed (née Barney) and Henry Montgomery, Sr.[1] His early childhood was one of privilege, since his father was president of the New York Rubber Company. When his father committed suicide in 1922 by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge,[2] the family's fortune was gone.

Career

Montgomery went to New York City to try his hand at writing and acting. Sharing a stage with George Cukor gave him an in to Hollywood, where, in 1929, he debuted in So This is College. Norma Shearer chose him to star opposite her in Private Lives in 1931, and he became a star. During this time, Montgomery appeared in the first filmed version of When Ladies Meet (1933).

In 1935, Montgomery became President of the Screen Actors Guild, and was elected again in 1946. In 1937, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor as a psychopath in the chiller Night Must Fall, and again in 1942 for Here Comes Mr. Jordan. During World War II, he joined the Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander.

In 1945, he returned to Hollywood, making his uncredited directing debut with They Were Expendable, where he directed some of the PT Boat scenes when director John Ford was unable to work for health reasons. His first credited film as director was Lady in the Lake (1947), in which he also starred, and which brought him mixed reviews.

Active in Republican politics and concerned about communist influence in the entertainment industry, Montgomery was a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947.

The next year, 1948, Montgomery hosted the Academy Awards. He hosted an Emmy Award-winning television series, Robert Montgomery Presents, in the 1950s. The Gallant Hours, a 1960 film Montgomery directed and co-produced with its star, his friend James Cagney, was the last film or television production he was connected with in any capacity, as actor, director or producer.

Montgomery has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies at 6440 Hollywood Blvd., and another for television at 1631 Vine Street. He was a longtime summer resident of North Haven, Maine.

Death

Montgomery died of cancer at age 77 in New York City. His daughter, actress Elizabeth Montgomery (1933-1995), and son, Robert Montgomery, Jr. (1936-2000) both died of cancer as well.

Partial filmography

References

External links

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