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Robert Montgomery ACTOR

Robert Montgomery was born Henry Montgomery on May 21, 1904 in Beacon, New York. He was born into a family of privilege, as his father was the president of the New York Rubber Company. However, his fortune was gone after his father committed suicide. Montgomery had to then make his own living working various odd jobs. He later went to New York to try his hand at writing, but he soon found himself on the stage. He began appearing in multiple plays and established a stage career for himself. In 1929 he moved his efforts to the screen with an uncredited part in “The Single Standard” and another role in “Three Live Ghosts”. He found his place in Hollywood after playing a college student in MGM’s “So this is College” (1929).

After this part, he was continuously assigned projects and his popularity increased along with his number of roles. Upon playing characters opposite Joan Crawford in “Untamed” (1929) and Norma Shearer in “Their Own Desire” (1929), the actor found himself being typecast as the stylish ladies man. He continued with this type of role in films like “Inspiration” (1931) with Greta Garbo and “The Last of Mrs. Cheyney” (1937) with Crawford again. He also starred once again with Shearer in four more movies, including “The Divorcee” (1930), “Strangers May Kiss” (1931), and “Private Lives” (1931). However, in 1930 he began to find deviations from his typical playboy roles beginning with the prison drama “The Big House”. In the film, Montgomery delivered a powerful performance as a young scared prison inmate. In 1932 he and his wife, Elizabeth Allen, whom he married in 1928, moved to Hollywood. Here he appeared in the first filmed version of “When Ladies Meet” (1933).

In 1935 Montgomery became president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and he was re-elected in 1946. Now the actor began demanding more substantial roles, and MGM finally caved and let him play psychotic killer in “Night Must Fall” (1937), although the studio couldn’t figure out why he would want to play such a role. Apparently he did a great job, because the movie was a major critical success and he won an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. However, following this part he returned to light comedic features. Nevertheless, he was still on the search for more dramatic roles. In 1941 he earned his second Oscar nomination for the comic fantasy “Here Comes Mr. Jordan”. In the picture, Montgomery portrayed a pug that has been revoked from his place in heaven due to his death being too soon, and must live in another earthly body before his appointed time.

The actor joined the war effort during World War II by enlisting in the U.S. Navy, even making it to the rank of lieutenant commander. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1944 Montgomery had a serious bout of tropical fever, but recovered in time to play a comeback part in his only war feature, “They Were Expendable” (1945) starring alongside John Wayne. During shooting, John Ford, the director, fell and broke his leg. He called on Montgomery to finish the job, which gave the actor his start in directing.

His first credited directorial role was in Raymond Chandler’s detective thriller “Lady in the Lake” (1947), which he also starred in. The film garnered mixed reviews with its unique first person point of view. He helmed four more movies with himself in the director’s chair: the mystery “Ride the Pink Horse” (1947), comedy “Once More, My Darling” (1949), television drama series which he also produced “Eye Witness” (1950), and biographical war drama that featured him in his last film production title “The Gallant Hours”. In all of these he was present in front of the screen, too.

Active in Republican politics and a concerned citizen with communist influence in the U.S., Montgomery was a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. The following year he hosted the 1948 Academy Awards. He next moved primarily to television, where he produced an Emmy Award winning TV series called “Robert Montgomery Presents” (1950-60). The show also featured the acting debut of his daughter, Elizabeth Montgomery, who would go on gain fame as witch Samantha on television’s popular “Bewitched” (1964-72). In 1950, he moved back to New York. Shortly after, he and his wife divorced. Four days later, he was remarried to Elizabeth “Buffy” Grant Harkness, whom he would remain with until his death.

In 1953 Montgomery appeared in a television movie, “Harvest”. In 1954 he took an unpaid position as president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s consultant and coach on how to make the best television appearances. He also served as a media consultant in the White House at this time, which restricted his ability to be involved in the entertainment industry. He hosted an episode of “Navy Log” in 1958, his final television role besides his own show. His next and final effort in acting was as the narrator of his and James Cagney’s Cagney-Montgomery Productions biopic “The Gallant Hours” (1960).

After the draw of his show and his acting career, Montgomery stayed active in politics, performed on Broadway, wrote a book titled An Open Letter From a Television Viewer (1968), and finally just spent quality time with his wife in their various seasonal properties. Montgomery died from cancer on September 27, 1981 while in New York City. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to both television and film.
2010       Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood
1974       That's Entertainment!  
1960       The Gallant Hours
1958       Navy Log 
1953       Harvest 
1950       Robert Montgomery Presents
1950       Eye Witness
1949       Once More, My Darling 
1948       June Bride 
1948       The Saxon Charm
1947       Ride the Pink Horse
1947       Lady in the Lake 
1945       They Were Expendable 
1941       Unfinished Business 
1941       Rage in Heaven 
1941       Mr. & Mrs. Smith 
1941       Here Comes Mr. Jordan 
1940       Chamber of Horrors 
1940       Haunted Honeymoon 
1940       The Earl of Chicago 
1939       Fast and Loose 
1938       Three Loves Has Nancy 
1938       Yellow Jack
1938       The First Hundred Years 
1937       Live, Love and Learn
1937       Night Must Fall 
1937       Ever Since Eve 
1937       Night Must Fall 
1937       The Last of Mrs. Cheyney 
1936       Piccadilly Jim 
1936       Trouble for Two
1936       Petticoat Fever 
1935       Vanessa: Her Love Story 
1935       No More Ladies 
1935       Biography of a Bachelor Girl 
1934       Hide-Out 
1934       Riptide 
1934       The Mystery of Mr. X 
1934       Fugitive Lovers 
1934       Forsaking All Others 
1933       Made on Broadway 
1933       Hell Below
1933       Night Flight 
1933       Another Language 
1933       When Ladies Meet 
1932       Faithless 
1932       Blondie of the Follies 
1932       Letty Lynton 
1932       But the Flesh Is Weak 
1932       Lovers Courageous 
1931       Strangers May Kiss 
1931       The Easiest Way 
1931       Inspiration 
1931       The Voice of Hollywood No. 7
1931       Private Lives 
1931       The Man in Possession 
1931       Shipmates 
1930       Love in the Rough
1930       Free and Easy 
1930       The Divorcee 
1930       War Nurse 
1930       Love in the Rough 
1930       Our Blushing Brides 
1930       The Sins of the Children 
1930       The Big House 
1929       Three Live Ghosts 
1929       The Single Standard
1929       Their Own Desire 
1929       Untamed 
1929       So This Is College  

Matinee Classics - No More Ladies starring Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery, Charles Ruggles, Franchot Tone, Edna May Oliver, Gail Patrick, Reginald Denny, Vivienne Osborne, Joan Fontaine, Arthur Treacher, David S. Horsley, Jean Chatburn and E.J. Babille
Matinee Classics - Once More, My Darling starring Robert Montgomery, Ann Blyth, Jane Cowl, Charles McGraw, Taylor Holmes, Roland Winters, Steven Geray, John Ridgely, Lillian Randolph, Maurice Cass, Don Beddoe, Louise Lorimer, Wilton Graff and Sally Corner
Matinee Classics - Then And Now starring Robert Montgomery and Constance Bennett
Matinee Classics - Riptide starring Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Herbert Marshall, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher, Ralph Forbes, Lilyan Tashman, Arthur Jarrett, Earl Oxford, Helen Jerome, George K. Arthur, Marilyn Spinner, Phyllis Coghlan, Howard Chaldecott and Halliwell Hobbes
Matinee Classics - Sins of the Children starring Louis Mann, Robert Montgomery, Elliott Nugent, Leila Hyams, Clara Blandick, Mary Doran, Francis X. Bushman Jr., and Robert McWade
Matinee Classics - Sins of the Children starring Louis Mann, Robert Montgomery, Elliott Nugent, Leila Hyams, Clara Blandick, Mary Doran, Francis X. Bushman Jr., and Robert McWade

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