Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift: Were They Lovers Off-Screen?

Who was the most beautiful couple in cinema history you ask? Sure, there’s support for Brad and Angie, as well as Heath and Jake. Yet, as good gays, we think none can compare to the fabled pairing of movie legends Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.

The epically hetero Taylor, who would become a tirelessly devoted friend to the gay community during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and the tragically closeted Clift torridly tangled in three films (A Place in the Sun, Raintree County, and Suddenly, Last Summer), but was their passion consummated off-screen, as well? Screen legend Debbie Reynolds claims it was.

In her upcoming memoir, Unsinkable (out Tuesday), Carrie Fisher’s unbridled mommy, who would infamously lose hubby Eddie Fisher to Taylor in 1958, remembers an incident at a party at Taylor’s Hollywood Hills mansion that indicates the easy-on-the-eyes duo didn’t save the smolder for the camera.

LizandMontyReynolds recalls her surprise watching as Clift and Taylor, then married to stuff British actor Michael Wilding, “laughed and giggled while making out in the water in front of us all… Even though Monty had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, it was obvious that he and Elizabeth had been intimate. Elizabeth could seduce any man, gay or straight,” Reynolds writes.

Unfortunately, this was the same night that the otherwise gay Clift, who’s many demons included an affair with the bottle, had consumed too much alcohol and crashed his car after leaving the bash, disfiguring  his impossibly beautiful face. It’s become Hollywood lore that upon hearing the news of the accident, Taylor rushed to assist her beloved friend.

“Elizabeth stuck her hand in his mouth, felt the back of his throat where some of his teeth had become lodged after being knocked out, and pulled them to prevent him from choking,” Reynolds says of her fellow icon. “He might have died if she hadn’t come to his aid.” Clift would eventually die at age 45 in 1966 , while Taylor would survive until 2011.

We’ve long admired Taylor’s passion, particularly her slavish devotion to her LGBT friends and tireless commitment to raising awareness for HIV/AIDS, but Reynolds’ anecdote begs a question: Would you have switched teams for Elizabeth Taylor?

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  • Taliaferro

    No, I am completely gay. Ms. Taylor was an amazingly beautiful woman but I still would not have sex with her.

  • Kenover

    They were girlfriends, nothing more. Liz liked her men more manly and rougher around the edges…like Mike Todd and Richard Burton and Larry Fortensky. Monty was too pretty for her.

  • Dixie Rect

    Liz was a big ole fag hag – she hung with Rock Hudson, Roddy McDowall and Montgomery Clift – please!

  • CAxlRose

    Liz and Monty were lovers? I thought Monty was one of her gays, alongside Rock, Roddy and James Dean.

  • LadyL

    Huh… I always understood that Elizabeth fell for Monty during the making of “A Place In The Sun,” the movie in which she learned (from him) that there was more to acting than simply looking stunning in front of the camera. But at some point he told her the truth about himself and she decided that if she couldn’t have him as a lover they would always be the closest of friends. Had they ever been more than that I think Liz would eventually have revealed it.
    It seems to me that even now there remains an impulse on the part of Old Guard Hollywood to try to heterosexualize every leading man and woman of that era. I’m therefore taking Miss Debbie’s account of that relationship with a handful of salt.

  • Scribe38

    List of women who I would sleep with in their peak: Madonna, Lucy Lawless, Linda Carter, Ms. Taylor, and the beautiful black girl who took my virginity when I was 17. :)

  • Cam

    Oh Please, give me a break, how many guy girl couples do you see dancing at a club pretending to be kissy. And then a few min later he is off chatting with the cute guy he just met and she is sitting at the bar in a gay club alone wondering why no guys are hitting on her.

  • yaoming

    Sorry to call BS on Carrie Fisher, but I guess the blame really goes to Debbie Reynolds. Monty was as gay as they come.

  • AEH

    It’s possible Monty was bisexual, curious, pansexual, etc. Who the hell cares? People should be allowed to make out with anyone without being forced into boxes.

  • rickgould

    Who really knows?
    But I don’t think it’s Debbie, who in later years has claimed Liz as one of her best friends. Every time I see Reynolds on a talk show, I feel like she’s milking her past with heavily embellished “anecdotes.”

    Debbie claims to have been at the dinner party the night Monty got in his car crash leaving Taylor and Michael Wilding’s house. Supposedly, Liz and Monty were in the pool, making out.

    I have read many bios on Liz and Monty and have never seen Reynolds mentioned being there at the small dinner party. In fact, I never thought Taylor and Reynolds never socialized until Liz married her next husband, Mike Todd who was great pals with Eddie Fisher.

    But everyone’s dead now, and Debbie can make money off her tales…

  • AEH

    @rickgould: They were good friends until Fisher left Reynolds for Taylor. Years later, they just happened to be on the same ship together and their husbands (Fisher was out of the picture) encouraged them to make up. So they did. Maybe their friendship was never the same but I think they were friends nevertheless. They even appeared in a movie together and made fun of a certain ex-husband. The movie sucked, but they liked each other enough to be in the same room.

  • balehead

    Poor Debbie….she must have been drinking her rose wine that night…..

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