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But neither the banality of his acting — he once said ‘Acting? Give me the line’ — nor the dreadfulness of the films in which he appeared, mattered.
Curtis was simply the most devastatingly handsome star since Rudolph Valentino. ‘The thing is, Tony never got over his good fortune.
Two years later, they were married in New York with Jerry Lewis as best man and went on to make five films together including The Vikings with Kirk Douglas.
The couple became the toast of Hollywood, and partied with Frank Sinatra and Jack Kennedy and even Jack’s father Joe Kennedy, with whom Curtis used to play golf.
The deal will potentially include scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features under their Higher Ground Productions banner.
He was wearing an Iron Cross First Class on his turtleneck sweater, along with several less impressive decorations from various nations.‘See that? He had also become seriously addicted to cocaine (he was also arrested for possession of marijuana when he arrived at Heathrow).
Born in 1925, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, he caught the cinema bug while still a child by watching Errol Flynn in Charge Of The Light Brigade. He played small roles in a few Broadway shows, and the lead in an off-Broadway production of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy, where he was spotted by a producer at Universal studios, who signed him to the studio in Hollywood for 0 a week.
Arriving on the West Coast as a self-confessed ‘morally unacceptable, uneducated, ill-mannered upstart’, Curtis worried about his stature — he was 5ft 9in — and would totter into auditions with a deck of playing cards stuffed in his boots to boost his height.
When the music stopped, I’d pack my bags and go back to being Bernie Schwartz, the Jewish tailor’s boy from the Bronx, and live miserably ever after,’ he said.
When he died on Wednesday after suffering what is thought to have been a cardiac arrest at his home in Nevada at the age of 85, Tony Curtis had notched up more than 60 years in showbusiness, six marriages, and more than a hundred movies, and was never Bernie Schwartz again. Navy in World War II, he went on to study at the New York School for Social Research Dramatic Workshop — along with Walter Matthau and Rod Steiger.