Hollywood’s prince: RIP Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

I remember the first time I saw him as a child he was dressed as a woman.

When I was seven-years-old, I remember thinking he was cute as his tooth twinkled in “The Great Race” (1964).

Though Tony Curtis might not be one of my favorite actors, he is one actor that I remember watching in my early days of discovering classic film as a child. I even remember watching him on the “The Flintstones” as Stoney Curtis-that still gives me a good giggle thinking about it.

My favorite films of his are “Houdini” (1953), “Operation Petticoat” (1959), “Some Like It Hot” (1959) and “Sex and the Single Girl” (1964). All but one of those is a comedy. I know I’ve heard Tony Curtis say in the “Turner Classic Movies Private Screenings” with Robert Osborne that he was more interested in being a serious actor (like in “The Sweet Smell of Success”), but I really think he did his best work as a comedian.

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis in “Houdini” (1953)

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis had a tumultuous marriage that ended in divorce and they didn’t talk after that. His daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, didn’t have a good relationship with him because she lived with Janet after the divorce and “turned her against him,” according to Curtis in the “Private Screening” interview.

However, though I know Leigh and Curtis ended in divorce, they are one of my favorite Hollywood couples- along with Barbara Stanywck and Robert Taylor, Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker, Dick Powell and June Allyson, etc.  I guess I liked them as a couple because they were both so attractive and cute, and always looked cute and happy in their movies.

I was rather shocked when my mom texted me this morning saying Tony Curtis died. He was one of the last few old Hollywood actors who was active in film festivals and old Hollywood retrospectives. Most recently he was at the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival in Los Angeles in April.

Rest in peace, Mr. Curtis. I will always remember you being hit with pies in “The Great Race” or putting on a great Cary Grant impression in “Some Like it Hot.”  Thank you for helping to keep film history alive.

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