Silver Tailings: Debunking “The Misfits” Misfortune


Arthur Miller divorced his first wife June 11th, 1956 after spending his six-week residency in Sutcliffe at the Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch. He married Marilyn Monroe about three weeks later.

While at the ranch he watched a group of cowboys round-up some wild horses. This inspired a short story in the October 1957 edition of Esquire magazine.

It later led to the screenplay that starred Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter, and Kevin McCarthy, and directed by John Huston and produced by Frank Taylor. The “World Premiere” was held January 31st, 1961 at the Granada Theater in downtown Reno.

Many people believe the film, while a tragic subject, also lead to tragic endings for many in the cast. While it is true only 12 days after filming wrapped, Gable died, other cast members went on working for years afterwards.

Marilyn, eventually divorced Miller on January 20, 1961, and started filming “Something’s Got to Give,” in 1962. She died August 5th, 1962 as result of a suicide, albeit under mysterious circumstances and the scenes from the film were later used in the 1963 documentary, “Marilyn,” narrated by Rock Hudson.

Clift’s film career also did not end with “The Misfits.” Released in late 1961, “Judgment at Nuremberg,” was followed a year later by John Huston’s “Freud,” with Clift’s last film, a 1966 French production billed as the “The Defector.”

After some 20 years in the movie business, Thelma Ritter died February 5th, 1969, her last appearance being on “The Jerry Lewis Show,” January 23rd, 1968. Kevin McCarthy went on to starring in another 23 television and film productions before his death September 11th, 2010.

Oddly, McCarthy’s final appearance in, “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X,” was released nearly two-years after his death.

As for Eli Wallach, he continues to work.  In 2010, Wallach portrayed Julie Steinhardt , in  “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” directed by Oliver Stone, and starring Michael Douglas and Shia LeBeouf.

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