PERFORMING ARTS

Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship

Kensington. May 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781496724793. $27. FILM
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Casillo (The Fame Game) explores the seemingly unlikely friendship between stars Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, often called “the most beautiful couple in cinema history.” When they met, Taylor was 17, a product of the studio star system since she was a little girl, and though she was a talented performer, she was known more for her beauty than her acting. Clift was 31 and a serious Broadway stage actor. When they starred in A Place in the Sun, they found they had much in common, most notably their overbearing mothers. Not realizing that Clift was gay, Taylor fell in love with him but eventually settled for a long and enduring friendship until Clift’s death at 45, caused by his alcohol addiction and exacerbated by a car accident that shattered his face. Casillo covers both stars’ careers, but it’s their personal lives that take precedence here. Celebrity-watchers might already know some of these facts about Taylor’s and Clift’s lives, and readers might wish that Casillo had been clearer about the line between reality and the invented dialogue and dramatized events that he drew from interviews. Nevertheless, they’ll still be absorbed by this book, which has the feel of a novel.
VERDICT A well-researched work that will appeal to readers who like their celebrity biographies juicy.
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