Edit
Robert Montgomery Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 21 May 1904Fishkill Landing [now Beacon], New York, USA
Date of Death 27 September 1981Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameHenry Montgomery Jr.
Nickname Bob
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

As a child, Robert Montgomery enjoyed a privileged life, as his father was the president of the New York Rubber Co. When he died, the fortune was gone and Robert worked at a number of jobs. He later went to New York to be a writer, and on the advice of a friend tried acting. He worked with George Cukor on the stage and his first film, at MGM, was So This Is College (1929). When Norma Shearer picked him to be her leading man in Private Lives (1931), he was set. He played many likable characters over the years, covering the gamut from very poor to very rich. In 1935, he became President of the Screen Actors Guild. His stay with MGM lasted 16 years, and was only interrupted by WWII when he joined the navy. He saw action in both Europe and the Pacific. He returned to MGM in 1945 and co-starred with John Wayne in the John Ford-directed They Were Expendable (1945) and then made his directorial debut with Lady in the Lake (1947) (although he had directed a few scenes, uncredited, in They Were Expendable (1945) when John Ford took ill). He then left MGM to become an independent director, preferring work behind the camera instead of in front. He was a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities in 1947 during the McCarthy era and then spent most of his time on television and stage. His popular show, Robert Montgomery Presents (1950), was where daughter Elizabeth Montgomery (who later gained fame as beautiful witch Samantha on TV's popular Bewitched (1964)) got her first acting job.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Spouse (2)

Elizabeth "Buffy" Grant (9 December 1950 - 27 September 1981) (his death)
Elizabeth Allen (14 April 1928 - 5 December 1950) (divorced) (3 children)

Trivia (16)

Had three children with his first wife Elizabeth Allen: daughter, Martha Bryan (born October 13, 1930), who died of spinal meningitis at the age of 14 months; daughter, Elizabeth Montgomery; and son, Robert Montgomery Jr..
Was widely considered to be one of the best dressed men in Hollywood and for years did not carry a wallet because it ruined the drape of his suits.
He died of cancer on September 27, 1981 at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. His body was cremated and the ashes were given to the family.
He was president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1935-38 and 1946-47.
He was host of CBS Radio's "Suspense" for six months in 1948 when the show went from a half hour to an hour.
Served on the board of directors of several major corporations in the 1960s, including R.H. Macy and Co. and the Milwaukee Telephone Company.
Pioneered the concept of the political "image consultant" in the early television era by advising President Dwight D. Eisenhower on how to most effectively present himself to television viewers. Following Richard Nixon's disastrous first televised debate with John F. Kennedy during the 1960 campaign, Eisenhower remarked that he was certain that if Nixon had only let Montgomery coordinate his appearance, Nixon would have looked much better, and would have probably won the debate--and the election.
In 1949 he accepted the Oscar for "Best Picture" on behalf of Laurence Olivier, who was not present at the awards ceremony.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 571-573. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6440 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 1631 Vine Street.
A staunch Republican, Montgomery was concerned about alleged Communist influence in the entertainment industry, he was a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947.
Before the US was drawn into World War II, Montgomery served in France as an ambulance driver for the American Field Services for six months. During the D-Day invasion he was one of the first to enter Cherbourg harbor and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
His SAG and other union activities caused a rift between he and MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer. However, through Montgomery's efforts the criminal activities of union official Willie Morris Bioff of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) in his efforts to help Chicago gangster Al Capone take over the union were exposed. Bioff and two other union officials ultimately served prison time. Bioff testified against his organized crime bosses and got a reduced sentence. In 1955 he was killed in Phoenix, AZ, when he turned on the ignition in his truck and it exploded--dynamite had been attached to the ignition and blew up when the key was turned.
Shortly after Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated in 1953, the new President asked Montgomery to become the White House's television consultant. Montgomery agreed and insisted on taking no pay.
When MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer refused Montgomery a salary raise he deserved, the actor reportedly replied, "If you were a younger man, Mr. Mayer, I'd give you a beating.".
Appeared with Rosalind Russell in five films: Forsaking All Others (1934), Trouble for Two (1936), Live, Love and Learn (1937), Night Must Fall (1937) and Fast and Loose (1939).

Personal Quotes (2)

If you are lucky enough to be a success, by all means enjoy the applause and the adulation of the public. But never, never believe it.
[Asked by reporters what it was like to work with Greta Garbo on Inspiration (1931)]: Making a film with Garbo doesn't constitute an introduction.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page