Thursday, September 30, 2010

R.I.P. Tony Curtis (1925-2010)

Sadly, one of the few remaining classic leading men in cinema passed today. Tony Curtis died of cardiac arrest in Nevada at the age of 85. He left behind a huge body of work of over 100 films, TV credits and his collection of art work.



Tony was born Bernard Schwartz and did time in the navy before embarking on an acting career. He did his time in many forgettable films including some light comedy before landing some serious roles that got the attention of the critics and led to academy award nominations for best actor in The Defiant Ones.
He married his first wife, Vivian Leigh in 1951 and had two children one of them being actress Jamie Lee Curtis. They were a true Hollywood power couple and lasted 11 years before divorcing. He remarried but had some pretty lousy luck going through six wives in total and five divorces.

Tony battled through some hardships including addictions to drugs and alcohol but in the end found peace with his last wife and a new found love in art. He gained respect in the art circles with some of his paintings going for as much as $25,000. His cool factor was never at risk and he always managed to remain relevant.


I first became aware of him growing up in the 70s watching Saturday morning cartoons as guest star Stoney Curtis on the Flintstones. When I went through my Marilyn phase I watched him in drag on Some Like It Hot and later grew to respect him more with his role in classics like Spartacus and The Defiant Ones but he'll always be Stoney to me.



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