I’m quite late on this, but last week we lost yet another film icon in actor Tony Curtis. His daughter, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, announced that her father died at his home near Las Vegas, of cardiac arrest. He was 85.
Curtis was one of the last surviving leading men from the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood studio filmmaking. Equally at home in drama (such as “Spartacus” or Stanley Kramer’s “The Defiant Ones,” for which he earned a Best Actor nomination) or comedy (his hysterically funny drag performance in “Some Like It Hot”), Curtis embodied the feminized, pretty-boy look that became popular in the 1950’s. Born Bernard Schwartz, he overcame a Dickensian childhood in the Bronx and served in the Navy during WWII before finding success as an actor; his breakthrough picture was “Sweet Smell of Success,” where he played a hustling Broadway press agent. He was a tabloid favorite, carrying on highly publicized affairs (and more than a few marriages) with several actresses and models, including Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Christine Kaufmann and Andre Savio.
Fittingly, in 2002 Curtis toured in a musical adaptation of “Some Like It Hot,” where he took on the role of the love-struck, child-like millionaire originated by Joe E. Brown in the original film. Perhaps the closing line took on special meaning for him: “Nobody’s perfect.”