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Also Known As: Henry Montgomery Jr., Comdr. Robert Montgomery U.S.N.R. Died: September 27, 1981
Born: May 21, 1904 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Fishkill Landing, New York, USA Profession: actor, TV producer, director, deckhand on oil tanker, mechanic

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Dapper, talented MGM contract lead from 1929, primarily cast as amusing, boyish, upper-crust playboys opposite stars such as Greta Garbo ("Inspiration," 1931) and Joan Crawford ("The Last of Mrs. Cheyney," 1937). Besides Crawford, he was most often paired with glamorous Norma Shearer, opposite whom he co-starred in five films between 1929 and 1934; their best teamings were "The Divorcee" (1930) and the uproarious adaptation of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" (1931). As the decade wore on Montgomery fought for a wider range of roles, and achieved notable success as the deranged killer in "Night Must Fall" (1937). Another change-of-pace role came in an even more acclaimed and popular film, the comic fantasy, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" (1941), with Montgomery as a pug who is "removed" to heaven by an angel before his appointed time and is allowed to continue his life on earth in another body.Montgomery's image toughened even more after WWII, during which he had distinguished himself in naval action in Europe. Montgomery made his directorial debut when an ailing John Ford was unable to complete "They Were Expendable" (1945), and he attracted considerable attention with his screen adaptation of Raymond...

Dapper, talented MGM contract lead from 1929, primarily cast as amusing, boyish, upper-crust playboys opposite stars such as Greta Garbo ("Inspiration," 1931) and Joan Crawford ("The Last of Mrs. Cheyney," 1937). Besides Crawford, he was most often paired with glamorous Norma Shearer, opposite whom he co-starred in five films between 1929 and 1934; their best teamings were "The Divorcee" (1930) and the uproarious adaptation of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" (1931). As the decade wore on Montgomery fought for a wider range of roles, and achieved notable success as the deranged killer in "Night Must Fall" (1937). Another change-of-pace role came in an even more acclaimed and popular film, the comic fantasy, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" (1941), with Montgomery as a pug who is "removed" to heaven by an angel before his appointed time and is allowed to continue his life on earth in another body.

Montgomery's image toughened even more after WWII, during which he had distinguished himself in naval action in Europe. Montgomery made his directorial debut when an ailing John Ford was unable to complete "They Were Expendable" (1945), and he attracted considerable attention with his screen adaptation of Raymond Chandler's "Lady in the Lake" (1946). The film was related entirely from a "subjective" camera perspective, and is considered one of the more interesting failed experiments in cinematic narrative. Montgomery kept making films until the early 1950s, and while never entirely eschewing the light entertainments with which he was long associated (e.g., "June Bride," 1948, opposite Bette Davis), he did make the occasional worthy offbeat item (e.g., the noir "Ride the Pink Horse," 1947, which he also directed).

Montgomery subsequently trained his sights on TV, hosting the well-received "Robert Montgomery Presents" anthology series for eight years. He also ventured onto the stage, winning a Tony for directing "The Desperate Hours" in 1955. At times Montgomery also became active in politics: he was, unfortunately, a friendly witness at the infamous HUAC hearings which led to the Hollywood blacklist; later, Montgomery served as a communications consultant to President Eisenhower following the 1952 campaign.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  The Gallant Hours (1960) Director
2.
  Eye Witness (1950) Director
3.
  Once More, My Darling (1949) Director
4.
  Ride the Pink Horse (1947) Director
5.
  Lady in the Lake (1947) Director
6.
  They Were Expendable (1945) Fill-In Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Gallant Hours (1960) Narrator
2.
 Eye Witness (1950)
3.
 Once More, My Darling (1949) Collier Laing
4.
 June Bride (1948) Carey Jackson
5.
 The Secret Land (1948) Narration
6.
 The Saxon Charm (1948) Matt Saxon
7.
 Ride the Pink Horse (1947) Lucky Gagin
8.
 Lady in the Lake (1947) Philip Marlowe
9.
 They Were Expendable (1945) Lt. John Brickley
10.
 Rage in Heaven (1941) Philip Monrell
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Milestones close milestones

1929:
Film debut, "So This Is College"
1929:
Made first of five films opposite Norma Shearer, "Their Own Desire" and the first of six opposite Joan Crawford, "Untamed"
1937:
Worked to escape from his playboy star persona by lobbying to be cast as the murderer protagonist of "Night Must Fall"
1941:
Last film for four years, "Unfinished Business"
1945:
Directed some scenes of "They Were Expendable" when John Ford fell ill; uncredited
1946:
Directed first film, "The Lady in the Lake", in which he also starred
1950:
Last film (as actor), "Your Witness"
1950:
Hosted, produced, and occasionally acted in the TV anthology series, "Robert Montgomery Presents Your Lucky Strike Theater"
1960:
One-shot return to feature film directing (after 11 years), "The Gallant Hours"
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Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Elizabeth Bryan Montgomery. Actor. Married in 1928; divorced from Montgomery in 1950.
wife:
Elizabeth Harness. Married c. 1950.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Henry Montgomery Sr. Business executive. Was vice president of New Yok Rubber Company; died in 1920.
daughter:
Elizabeth Montgomery. Actor. Best known for playing the witch-wife on the long-running sitcom, "Bewitched" (1964-71); later acted in many TV-movies; died of cancer in 1995.
son:
Robert Montgomery Jr. Stockbroker.

Bibliography close complete biography

"An Open Letter From a Television Viewer"

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