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Tony Curtis Dead At 85

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by trickblue, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Tony Curtis Dead At 85
    "Some Like it Hot" star and father of Jamie Lee Curtis suffered cardiac arrest.
    By Gil Kaufman


    From sword-and-sandal epics to the most famous drag show in movie history, Hollywood legend Tony Curtis did it all during his long career on the screen. The actor died on Wednesday in his Las Vegas of cardiac arrest at the age of 85.

    Though he earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a an escaped convict in 1958's "The Defiant Ones," Curtis is best remembered for his role alongside Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy classic "Some Like It Hot." A dashing ladies man with a reputation for a wandering eye, Curtis donned women's clothes in the movie to play a jazz musician on the run from the mob who, along with cohort Lemmon, makes the acquaintance of singer Sugar Kane (Monroe). Hilarity ensues.

    Through more than 140 movies Curtis was the 1950s equivalent of a modern metrosexual, known for his sculpted pompadour hair, dreamy blue eyes and dashing looks, which accompanied what the New York Times described in an obituary as a "dramatically potent combination of naked ambition and deep vulnerability, both likely products of his Dickensian childhood in the Bronx."

    Curtis, the son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, was born Bernard Schwartz in Hell's Kitchen, New York, on June 3, 1925. Father Emanuel owned a tailor shop, behind which the family lived in cramped quarters. Mother Helen was a schizophrenic who often beat Curtis and his two brothers. When his parents couldn't provide for their children during the Great Depression, Curtis and one of his brothers were put in a state institution in 1933, and the actor often spoke of the rabid anti-Semitism he suffered when he returned to his old neighborhood. Younger brother Julius died at age 12 after being struck by a car.

    Following a stint in the Navy during World War II, Curtis began acting lessons in New York and quickly landed a contract with Universal Pictures in 1948, beginning a string of small movie roles that led up to 1952's "No Room for the Groom," in which he first showed off his ace comedic timing.

    Off screen, Curtis was legendary for his way with women, which resulted in six marriages and liaisons with such Hollywood icons as Monroe and Natalie Wood. His first marriage in 1951 was to actress Janet Leigh, his co-star in 1953's "Houdini," Curtis' first box office hit. Popular, but not taken seriously, Curtis finally gained notice for his acting chops in 1957's "Sweet Smell of Success," which he followed up with "The Defiant Ones," portraying a prisoner who escapes a Southern chain gang while shackled to fellow convict Sidney Poitier. As the civil rights movement was just gaining steam, the sight of the black and white actors chained together was a potent symbol for the nation's upcoming struggles and earned Curtis his only recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    He went on to a string of successful starring roles in the late 1950s and 1960s, including "Operation Petticoat," "Spartacus," "The Outsider" and "The Great Race." His career was thrown off track in 1962 when he divorced Leigh — with whom he had daughter Jamie Lee Curtis — after an affair with a 17-year-old German actress named Christine Kaufmann, whom he married the next year. That marriage only lasted five years. Curtis gave it another shot shortly after divorcing Kaufmann in 1968 when he married 23-year-old model Leslie Allen.

    The 1970s found Curtis retreating to undistinguished roles in TV shows, such as "The Persuaders" and "Vegas," and a few B-movies. An admitted drinker and addict, Curtis went to rehab in 1982 following his divorce from Allen. He continued to pop up in small films and pursue his second love, painting.

    His final film appearance was in the 2008 indie "David & Fatima," in which he played a character named Mr. Schwartz.
  2. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    I read this earlier.

    RIP Tony.
  3. the kid 05

    the kid 05 Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds

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    So Mr Curtis and Greg, whos number 3?
  4. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    My guess is Abe Vigoda although some would point to the death of director Arthur Penn yesterday. He directed Bonnie & Clyde and a host of other good films...
  5. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    In Honor of Stoney Curtis...since today is the 50th Anniversary of The Flintstones.

    R.I.P


    [IMG]
  6. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    ....:D
  7. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    Zsa Zsa Gabor may be?
  8. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    One of the best. RIP.
  9. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Glad someone picked up on that... :D

    His comedy work overshadowed his extreme talent as a dramatic actor...
  10. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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  11. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Abe looked like he was on deaths door in the 70's :laugh2:
  12. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    Already happened. Eddie Fisher died a few days ago.
  13. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    The sad part is that is a picture of Abe in the 3rd grade...

    It's really strange as the guy hasn't aged since he was in the Godfather...

    The problem is that he looked 85 in that 1972 classic...
  14. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    RIP Tony

    Was going to point that out. Just barely beat me to it.
  15. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I liked Tony Curtis. I'm sorry to hear that he has passed.

    My favorite movie, with Tony Curtis is Operation Petticoat. In that movie, he plays opposite Cary Grant and the two of those guys were pretty dang funny. I always found it amazing that two of Hollywoods biggest Heart Throbs were also such good comedic actors. They were more then just a pretty face, so to speak.

    My second favorite movie with Tony Curtis in it was Taras Bulba, where he played opposite Yul Brynner.

    RIP Tony Curtis.
  16. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    I watched that movie as a kid and loved it. Then never saw it again. :(
  17. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    I have it on DVD and plan to watch it tonight as a tribute. Hilarious movie.

    My other favorite of his was The Defiant Ones with Sidney Poitier. What an under rated movie.

    Some Like it Hot with Jack Lemmon will always be thought of as his best, and it was amazingly good, but those 2 were my favorites. One for the sheer acting and the other for the comedy.
  18. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    I agree... that is one fantastic movie and a great performance by both Poitier and Curtis...

    Curtis was also fantastic in The Boston Strangler...
  19. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    That was my favorite with him in it as well. I was watching that a few weeks ago on AMC or some channel and they had a bit of trivia in between the commercials.

    I guess Grant was using LSD for medical or therapeutic reasons at this time, and he had really odd demands on the director and so on. One of his demands was that the submarine could only be shot going in one direction no matter the scene and some other odd stuff.
  20. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    He was a poor successor to Matthau in those "Bad News Bears" movies, but I guess somebody had to fill the role. And that hairpiece of his in later years was legendary.

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