Category Archives: tony curtis

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

This is a bad week for Hollywood, we are losing all the good ones. Yesterday we lost director Arthur Penn, and this morning the news comes that also last night actor Tony Curtis passed away. His daughter Jamie Lee Curtis confirmed his passing from cardiac arrest after several medical maladies this past year. He was 85.

Tony Curtis starred in my favorite film of all time, The Great Race. It was a fave when I was a kid, and remains to this day. I watch it every time it airs from start to finish, nearly three hours. It’s got adventure, romance, music, history, satire and comedy. Throw in the fight between good and evil and race cars, and it just can’t be beat. And in the center of it all, as the dashing hero radiating charisma, is Tony Curtis. That’s the kind of guy he was, the epitome of the leading man, even when he was playing a parody of one.

Curtis was great in everything he was in. Whether he was in drag as in Some Like It Hot, getting an Oscar nod in The Defiant Ones, or being the best thing in the completely dreadful telemovie Tarzan in Manhattan, he was always marvelous. He was the undisputed star of so many movies, including Houdini, Operation Petticoat, Boeing Boeing and Spartacus.

Born Bernie Schwartz in Hells Kitchen, he came to Hollywood in the late 1940s and became an almost instant star. He was married to Janet Leigh and romantically linked to Marilyn Monroe. He also played regular roles on television on shows like “The Persuaders” and “Vega$,” and on this the fiftieth anniversary of “The Flintstones,” he might be remembered for his guest appearance as Stony Curtis. The last time I saw him on television was on “The Graham Norton Show” a year or so ago. He didn’t look well, but he still rocked the house with his stories of old Hollywood.

This is indeed a sad day. We have lost one of the legends of Hollywood.

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