The Very Handsome Tony Curtis aka Bernie Schwartz
CBS/AP) Tony Curtis, the Bronx tailor's son who became a 1950s movie heartthrob and then a respected actor with such films as "Sweet Smell of Success," "The Defiant Ones" and "Some Like It Hot," has died. He was 85.
The actor died at 9:25 p.m. MDT Wednesday at his Las Vegas area home of a cardiac arrest, Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said Thursday.
As CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports, Hollywood runs on good looks and charisma; Curtis had both in abundance, and he'd be the first to tell you.
Tony and Jack Lemmon RIP
"I knew there was something… I won't say special, about me, but something different that cut me out from all the other guys," he said years ago in an interview.
That something different led him through a career as a big-screen heartthrob, a comedy talent, a dramatic actor and an Oscar nominee, says Whitaker.
After a series of frivolous movies that exploited his handsome physique and appealing personality, Curtis moved to more substantial roles, starting in 1957 in the harrowing show business tale "Sweet Smell of Success."
My personal favorite Tony Curtis Film Houdini!
In 1958, "The Defiant Ones" brought him an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his portrayal of a white racist escaped convict handcuffed to a black escapee, Sidney Poitier. The following year, he donned women's clothing and sparred with Marilyn Monroe in one of the most acclaimed film comedies ever, Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot." Tony once said kissing Marilyn Monroe was like kissing Hitler. Not a MM fan LOL.
Tony and first wife Janet Leen 1958, "The Defiant Ones" brought him an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his portrayal of a white racist escaped convict handcuffed to a black escapee, Sidney Poitier. The following year, he donned women's clothing and sparred with Marilyn Monroe in one of the most acclaimed film comedies ever, Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot."
His first wife was actress Janet Leigh of "Psycho" fame; they had two daughters Jamie Lee and Kelly. He also had a son Nicholas who died from drugs which really threw Tony into a huge depression due to his own use of drugs which the kids all knew.
In later years, he returned to film and television as a character actor after battling drug and alcohol abuse. His brash optimism returned, and he allowed his once-shiny black hair to turn silver. He also became a painter whose canvasses sold for as much as $20,000.
Curtis stated on the television series Shrink Rap that he had a brief relationship with Marilyn Monroe in 1949 which had to end due to their different work commitments. He also details their brief relationship in his memoir, American Prince. Curtis was also married to: * Leslie Allen (April 20, 1968 – 1982); divorced, two sons * Andria Savio (1983 – 1992); B movie actress (e.g. 1983's Stryker) * Lisa Deutsch (February 28, 1993 – 1994); divorced * Jill Vandenberg Curtis (November 6, 1998 – September 29, 2010; his death)