October 17th People

October 17th

10-17-1920 – 07-23-1966 Montgomery Clift – Born in Omaha, Nebraska. He was an American film and stage actor. His films include A Place In The Sun with Elizabeth Taylor; From Here To Eternity, The Young Lions, The HeiressJudgment At Nuremberg, and The Misfits. He received four Academy Award nominations, three for best actor and one for best supporting actor. Cliff was known to have had many affairs with men. He once said, “I love men in bed, but I really love women!” Clift had affairs with choreographer Jerome Robbins and fellow actor Roddy McDowall, who attempted suicide after his breakup with Monty. In 1949 Clift was arrested on 42nd Street in New York for soliciting but his film studio intervened to ensure that the charge was dropped without publicity. On the evening of May 12, 1956, Clift fell asleep while driving and was involved in a serious car crash. He had been at the home of Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, Michael Wilding. Alerted by a friend who had witnessed the collision, Taylor raced to Clift’s die and pulled a tooth out of his tongue as he began to choke on it. He suffered a broken jaw and nose, a fractured sinus, and several facial lacerations that required plastic surgery. The pain he suffered led him to rely on alcohol and pills for relief.  He died of a heart attack brought on by occlusive coronary artery disease at the age of 45.

10-17-1886 – 09-07-1971 Spring Byington – Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was an American actress and best known for her role in the 1933 film Little Women with Kathrine Hepburn. Her career included a seven-year run on radio and television as the star of December Bride. Byington received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Penelope Sycamore in You Can’t Take It with You (1938). From 1961 to 1963, Byington was cast in the NBC Western series Laramie. Her final role was in 1968 as Mother General on ABC’s The Flying Nun, starring Sally Field. She married Roy Chandler in 1909 and had two children. The couple divorced in 1920. A number of Hollywood historians have claimed that Byington was a lesbian. Actress Marjorie Main’s biographer Michelle Vogel has noted that Main and Byington had a long-term relationship. When asked about Byington’s sexual orientation, Main acknowledged: “It’s true, she didn’t have much use for men.”

10-17-1900 – 06-19-1991 Jean Arthur – Born in Plattsburgh, New York. She was an American actress and film star of the 1930s and 1940s. Her performance in the film, The More the Merrier, earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Arthur disliked any media attention and didn’t attend most social gatherings in Hollywood. Her first marriage in 1928 was annulled after one day. Her second marriage to producer Frank Ross, Jr. in 1932 ended in divorce in 1949. In her later years, she preferred to dress totally as a man and there were rumors of her being bisexual. For the last decades of her life, Arthur lived with Ellen Mastroianni. In 1989 she had a stroke and was bedridden for two years until her death in 1991. She was 90 years old.

10-17-1933 – 03-29-1985 Jeanne-Paule Maire Deckers – Born in Laeken, Brussels, Belgium. She is better known as Sœur Sourire (Sister Smile) and The Singing Nun. A member of the Dominican Order in Belgium as Sister Luc-Gabrielle, she acquired world fame in 1963 with the release of the French-language song Dominique, which topped the U.S. Billboard and other charts. In 1962 her album sold nearly two million copies. She appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 5, 1964. Dominique was the first and remains the only, Belgian song to be a number one hit single in the United States. Although she wrote and recorded Dominique, all the royalties were paid to the convent. In the late 1970s, the Belgian government claimed that she owed $63,000 in back taxes. Deckers left the convent in 1966. She moved in with Annie Pécher (1944 – 1985), whom she had met when she worked as a counselor in a seaside camp in her youth. Deckers’ diaries indicate that, although she resisted her growing feeling of closeness to the younger woman, they fell in love and a lesbian relationship between them arose some years after they began to live together. Citing their financial difficulties in a note, she and Annie Pécher died by suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol on March 29. 1985. They were buried together.

10-17-1980 Tarell Alvin McCraney – Born in Miami, Florida. He is an American award-winning playwright and actor. McCraney attended tarell-alvin-mccraneyYale School of Drama’s playwriting program where he won the Cole Porter Playwriting Award upon graduation. His trilogy work, titled The Brother/Sister Plays and Wig Out!, won a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Play. He was on Out’s 3rd Annual 100 Most Eligible Bachelors (2013). He is openly gay.

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