Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift starred together in A Place in the Sun in 1951. (FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty)
Elizabeth Taylor tried to seduce gay actor Montgomery Clift before they became “soulmates”, according to the author who chronicled their incredible friendship.
Taylor was 17 when she met Clift while they starred together in the 1951 drama A Place in the Sun.
Charles Casillo, author of Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship, told PEOPLE: “Up until that point, whoever she set her eyes on, she could get.
“Of course, we all want what we can’t have.”
The two actors soon developed feelings for each other, and their co-star Shelley Winters “actually thought there was an affair going on”, Casillo said.
They shared kisses but the author said that “Monty couldn’t bring himself to tell her that he was gay” and refused to take things further.
She would rehearse with him while she was in the bath, while he sat on the edge of the tub, and Clift’s disinterest was “intriguing” to Taylor, Casillo said.
He continued: “Men were interested in her for her physicality. Now she had a man who was sitting there, talking about movies and books that she liked, her plans for her future and the roles she wanted to play.
“I really do think he’s the first one who saw interest in her as a person.”
Clift eventually came out to Taylor, and she quickly “started trying to think of other gay men she could fix him up with”. Their incredible friendship endured until Clift’s death in 1966.
Elizabeth Taylor was an early AIDS activist
After Montgomery Clift’s death, the AIDS crisis emerged and Elizabeth Taylor became a committed activist.
She co-founded amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS research) in 1985 after her close friend and actor Rock Hudson died from the disease, and later, in 1991, she started The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Although Clift’s autopsy reports cited a heart attack as his cause of death, he suffered from multiple health problems and struggled with addiction.
Casillo said: “Monty could very well have been one of the fatalities of AIDS.
“I believe she got involved with it in part because she was always trying to do for Monty, even years after his death.
“They loved each other.”