I know by the time Ive written this post everyone would have heard of the sad news that Hollywood screen legend Tony Curtis has sadly passed away at the age of 85. It was during my lunch break when I read the news online and to a few of my collegues at work who where movie fans it was only the older fans who actually heard of Tony Curtis which was a bit sad as one of the fans who parades himself as the moviebrain of 2010 never heard of Tony Curtis! So a little bit of cinematic education was his first port of call.
Born Bernard Schwartz in 1925, The Bronx , New York City to a poor working class background, he was the eldest of an immigrant parents, the young Bernard had no formal education and he used to spend alot of his time sneaking into the cinemas with his younger brother Julius using it a means of escape from the big bad world they lived in. At the age of ten with his brother he wass briefly fostered as time finanically where getting worse but both were reunited with their parents but this experienced shaped the young Tony Curtis into a man of independance which helped him suceed in lifes challanges.
His brother Julius Was tragically killed during Tony Curtis Bar mitzvah year and he was hit really hard with the truama he slipped away from convential life before joining the marines. After several years of service with an honorable discharge The Young didnt have any career path in mind and he joined the New York Dramatic workshop at the Government’s expense and it was here he was spotted by Joyce Selznick the niece of film producer David Selznick and thus starting his illustrious film career at Universal Studios.
He made his debut in 1949 at the age of 23 the year after Bernard Scwhartz became Tony Curtis in a two minute role in Criss Cross making a certain Burt Lancaster jealous downing to his dancing abilities woeing Yvonne De Carlo and it was this short part won him the plaudits and a chance to play small but important part in Sierra which lead to him playing alongside Jimmy Stewart. in the big budget flick Winchester ’73. He did go onto play a few other movies but one movie that stands out for many people and it showed Curtis could play comedy too and thats Some Like it Hot with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe but just before his venture into comedy one of his other finest moments was alongside Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones playing a fellow convict with a racist/KKKlan prejudices, a part originally created for Robert Mitchum but perfectly played by Curtis earning hm a Oscar Nomination.
Curtis was a very diverse actor and wasnt scared to try out various genres and one genre he excelled at was epic historical battle movies and two come to mind thats Spartacus and The Vikings playing alongside Kirk Douglas. The list of movies on the big and small screen is endless and it would take several posts to cover his career but here is some more movies: The Boston Strangler, “The Persuaders!”, “McCoy”, “Vega$” and Sweet Smell of Success . One thing Tony Curtis was good at was he had the touch to date the finest ladies Hollywood have to offer with Natalie Wood, Janet Leigh, his most well known Marilyn Monroe. He married Janet Leigh whom he had two daughters Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis along with 4 other children through various affairs and marriages to Christine Kaufmann & Leslie Allen with Jill Vandeburg 42 years younger than tony who was with him right upto his death.
Its Beleived Tony Curtis died due to a a suspected cardiac Arrest and it was his daughter Jamie who annouced her fathers death. How many people can you name had a illusratious career on Film & TV that lasted over 60 years? Not Many apart from one Tony Curtis, rest in peace.