SACRAMENTO - The real-life leader of the Monuments Men was so modest about his role in World War II that his granddaughter didn't know about it until years after his death.
"He never talked about it," said Leslie Marks, the wife of Lincoln Police Chief Rex Marks. "It would be very curious to see how he would take all of this attention."
Leslie's grandfather, George Stout, is the Harvard-educated art conservationist portrayed by George Clooney in the film that opens nationwide on Friday.
Stout's name has been changed in the movie, Leslie said, to allow Clooney to take some liberties with his personality.
"If you read about George Stout, they make reference to how he was always kind of prim and proper and dapper," she said. "That's kind of what I remember."
Stout died in 1978 when Marks was a child and her father Robert, Stout's son, died six years later. Like his father, Robert never told Leslie about the important role George Stout played in saving stolen artifacts from destruction by the Nazis in the closing days of the war.
Leslie first learned about the Monuments Men in 2009 when she received an autographed copy of the book from the author.
She attended the movie's premiere in New York City Tuesday night after receiving an invitation from both the film's producers and the Monuments Men Foundation, which is still dedicated to recovering plundered artifacts.
"I think it's great to just share the story," she said. "And there's still so much art out there that's missing. Hopefully this will help with that."