Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Birthday Tribute to George Montgomery

I've watched several George Montgomery Westerns in the past few days, so when I learned today is his birthday I wanted to pause for a moment to pay tribute.

George Montgomery was born in Montana on this date in 1916. (Some sources use the date August 29th, but his gravestone says the 27th.) He grew up on a ranch, which provided him with skills which served him well in his early work as a stuntman and his later career as a Western star.


Montgomery has long been a favorite in our family due to his starring role in ORCHESTRA WIVES (1942), where he's a trumpet player swooned over by Ann Rutherford in a classic "cute meet" sequence. That movie has been one of my younger daughter's favorite films since she was very little. I'm also fond of another Fox musical in which he appeared, THREE LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE (1946).

In more recent years, I really liked him as Philip Marlowe in THE BRASHER DOUBLOON (1947), and I've been very much enjoying getting to know his work as a '50s Westerns star.

In addition to acting, Montgomery was a noted artist. An exhibition gallery at The Autry museum in Los Angeles is named in his honor; Montgomery was a friend of Gene Autry's and a museum supporter. The museum hosted an exhibit of his sculptures, paintings, and furniture back in 1991. I certainly wish I'd seen that!

Montgomery was married to Dinah Shore for two decades, from 1943 to 1963, and was the father of two children, Melissa and John.

Montgomery passed away in December 2000, age 84. His gravestone reads "Actor, Artist, Renaissance Man - Loved By Many, Admired By All."

Toby posted a nice tribute last year at 50 Westerns From the 50s, and here he reviews Montgomery's MASTERSON OF KANSAS (1954).

Reviews of George Montgomery films posted here to date: ORCHESTRA WIVES (1942), ROXIE HART (1942), CONEY ISLAND (1943), THREE LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE (1946), THE BRASHER DOUBLOON (1947), DAVY CROCKETT, INDIAN SCOUT (1950), CRIPPLE CREEK (1952), GUN BELT (1953), THE LONE GUN (1954), and ROBBERS' ROOST (1955).

September 2013 Update: More reviews: BATTLE OF ROGUE RIVER (1954), MASTERSON OF KANSAS (1954), and GUN DUEL IN DURANGO (1957).

October 2013 Update: And here's a review of CANYON RIVER (1956).

2014 Update: Reviews of TOUGHEST GUN IN TOMBSTONE (1958), BADMAN'S COUNTRY (1958), MAN FROM GOD'S COUNTRY (1958), and KING OF THE WILD STALLIONS (1959).

August 2014 Update: Book Review: The Years of George Montgomery, authored by the actor. In this book Montgomery lists his birthday as August 29th, incidentally!

2015 Update: Here are additional George Montgomery reviews: THE COWBOY AND THE BLONDE (1941), BELLE STARR'S DAUGHTER (1948), and BLACK PATCH (1957).

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