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Tony Curtis R.I.P

October 3, 2010

Another Hollywood legend of the old school left us this week.

Young Tony Curtis, film star

Tony Curtis, born Bernard Schwartz died on the 29th September at the age of 85. He had been ill for some time, but it was a heart attack that finally took him. Going by the obituaries I’ve read over the last few days he sounds like a person who really enjoyed his life and work and didn’t take himself too seriously.

I first got to know Tony Curtis by watching a 70s TV show called The Persuaders with a pre-Bond Roger Moore.

I then saw him in such films as Trapeze with Burt Lancaster and Gina Lollobrigida, and Monte Carlo Or Bust, a very silly film indeed. It is to my shame that I have not yet seen Spartacus, though I like a good sword and Toga epic. I also haven’t got around to seeing him in The Sweet Smell Of Success.

Although Some Like It Hot is possibly his best-known film, I preferred him in The Boston Strangler where he played the serial killer Albert DeSalvo, a performance so disturbing I felt a need to cleanse myself afterwards.

Film poster for The Boston Strangler starring Tony Curtis

His private life was colourful, clocking up six wives. He didn’t quite match either Elizabeth Taylor (8), or Zsa Zsa Gabor (9) in terms of the number of times wed, but he certainly gave it a go. His life was colourful in other ways too, as he turned to painting in his later years, with some success. The last time I saw him he was on The Graham Norton Show where he was as robust as ever, in spirit, if not in body.

We’d like these people to remain, but, like the rest of us, they eventually have to leave this planet. At least he left some good movies we can dip into again and again. Rest in Peace, Bernie. Ya cwouldn’t have dun bedder.

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11 comments

  1. I’ve got to go find the Boston Strangler. I always enjoy films where the lead goes against what is expected from him.


    • I believe you can get it on DVD now. I would highly recommend it. In fact it’s a long time since I’ve seen that film. I need to do something to rectify that.


  2. Although the standard Hollywood joke is about Curtis’ rendition of lines in “The Black Shield of Falworth” being “Yonda lies da castle of my faddah.”, he was still an interesting performer under the right direction. “Spartacus”, “Sweet Smell of Success” and of course “Some Like it Hot”. I wouldn’t mind a career with high points like those.


    • Mikey! I was really hoping you’d take this bait. I’ve missed you.

      I also know your extensive knowledge of the movies would give me some goodies. I tell you what, I wouldn’t mind career high points like that either. As I said, I haven’t yet seen Spartacus or The Sweet Smell Of Success, but I aim to sort that out before the end of this year.


  3. I love the actors/actresses from his era. I always feel a lttle sad when their time comes. R.I.P Mr Curtis.


    • It is sad. It kind of reminds us of our mortality. Not that I want to be maudlin or anything…


  4. I always hate it when golden-era celebrities die. It feels like a betrayal; they hail from a time where everything appeared sparkly and shiny and good. Every man was a slicked back matinee idol, each woman was a coiffured, lipsticked, glittering socialite. Everybody could dance and sing… and did dance and sing. Frequently. In public. New York was a giant musical, filled at seven o’clock sharp each day with the sounds of “Eggs In The Morning”, and in the evening, “Singing In The Rain”. (I don’t know what they’d sing if it didn’t rain.)
    So when the Hollywood legends eventually pass away, each time I’m reminded that we don’t live in a world that’s one big black-and-white movie.


    • Did I get a bit carried away just then?


      • You absolutely did not. What a great assessment of old v new celebrity. I agree with you 1 trillion percent.


        • A trillion?! Areen’t you being a teensy bit extravagant here? I mean, a million would have done…


  5. For god’s sake, Pie, where the hell are you? This post was made ALMOST A MONTH AGO. You’re worse than me.



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