The sad Hollywood news continues to roll out with the announcement that Oscar nominated actor Tony Curtis has died. According to sources he passed away at his home in Nevada on Wednesday night. He was 85 years old and is survived by six children including Kelly Lee Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis, and his wife Jill Vandenberg Curtis.
Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz and raised in the Bronx, New York to Hungarian- Jewish immigrants. He didn’t have a close relationship with his mother whom he cited as extremely tough and mentally ill. While doing an interview with Robert Osborne of TCM, he stated that his first language was Hungarian because that’s the only thing that was spoken in his house. It wasn’t until later that “Bernie” learned how to speak English so he could fit in with the other kids.
Born with naturally good looks, Schwartz’ dark, curly hair, full lips, and wide eyes were a talent scout’s dream. He was discovered at the age of 23 and began working for Universal Pictures making $75 a week. He changed his name from Bernie to Tony and from there his career was gravy. He appeared in such classics as Smell of Sweet Success, The Defiant Ones, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination, and his most famous work to date Some Like it Hot where he cross-dressed alongside Jack Lemmon to escape mobsters and woo Marilyn Monroe.
On the personal side, Curtis was married six times with his most famous spouse being the late Janet Leigh, whom he had his daughters Kelly and actress Jamie Lee. Prior to his death, Curtis appeared at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California where he took part in a Q&A before a screening of Smell of Sweet Success. He still had the same wit and sharp tongue that he did when he first came to town over 60 years ago.
You can take the boy out of the Bronx but you can’t take the Bronx out of the boy.
RIP Tony Curtis.
Source: LA Times