Home Celebrity Tony Curtis, 85, Had the Sweet Smell of Success

Reports this morning that Tony Curtis, the great actor and father of Jamie Lee, has died at age 85.

It seems funny that Tony’s died in the same week pretty much as Eddie Fisher. They were the hottest stars circa 1960. None was bigger. The partying, the girlfriends and wives, all of it. What a time they had.

When Tony Curtis married Janet Leigh, it was like when Madonna married Sean Penn. Chaos. My friend, the late John Springer, was their publicist. He used to tell us how he created diversions that day for the press so they wouldn’t catch on, and John managed to get the couple hitched in the suburbs.

The couple was married from 1951 to 1962, during which Leigh made “Psycho” and became a superstar. Curtis made his best films during that time–“Some Like it Hot,” “Sweet Smell of Success,” and “The Defiant Ones.” He also, he admitted, cheated on Leigh a lot. He wrote recently that he had a fling with Marilyn Monroe. But from the Curtis-Leigh marriage came actress Jamie Lee and her sister Kelly.

In recent years, Curtis had been a regular at Spago for lunch, where he sat in the table next to Sidney Poitier, his “Defiant Ones” co-star. They were real Hollywood.

Curtis made lots of other films over the years, but my favorite–and so many people’s–is “Sweet Smell.” As Sidney Falco, he was indelible. There are few performances this good on film. May he rest in peace.


Share and Enjoy !

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
3 replies to this post
  1. I don’t know why D.K. Milgrim-Heath put the copyright symbol on that writing, since nobody would want to steal it. It’s pretty lame.

  2. Your Love’s Here To Stay Forever After
    By D.K. Milgrim-Heath©2010
    Your love’s here to stay forever after-
    Filled our world with seriousness but with lots of laughter.
    You weren’t a true neither a singer nor a dancer be-
    Tony Curtis by you did suited you just perfectly!
    Having a difficult life as a child of your patents –each a Hungarian immigrant-
    I am that child the 1st of Hungarian- American born-I know what you meant.
    Being proud for all you stood for in your religion I do applaud-
    Making your family proud that what your life did afford.
    Making some mistakes as human’s do-do us not?
    But you changed the world and shaped it a lot.
    You loved your children as only one dad they ever got.
    Roles from tragedy, defiance and also being women in dress-
    Knowing your expanded roles weren’t not type-casted nevertheless!
    A charm of the golden age of Hollywood had died with the ages-
    That the 21st century reads of you in its historical pages.
    Your world affecting the public so a quiet private one years later you sought-
    Tony Curtis you brought love and world peace towards men you bought.
    Setting an example for your children that they had grown up of-
    A world of their father one filled with lifelong love.
    An entertainer’s world is like none other we see-
    There’s no business like show business quite frankly!
    I was glad growing up watching your movies with adoration-
    Making the acting industry proud for us in America -our nation.
    Since your movies and photographs are professionally preserved-
    Never be forgotten internationally loved as an actor- a role will deserved.

  3. Too bad he glazed over the story about his comment that kissing Marilyn was like kissing Hitler. As I recall at the time it wasn’t a joke. He was seriously steamed at her because she made him stand in high heels for hours in hot FL in Some Like It Hot. It was reported Marilyn was very hurt and others thought it was a mean thing to say. But these days Tony is a doll because he survived so long and no one can contradict him!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.