Thomas Quinn Curtiss

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For othes of a similar name, see Thomas Curtis (disambiguation).

Thomas Quinn Curtiss (June 21, 1915 New York City – July 17, 2000, Poissy, France) was a writer, and film and theatre critic.

The son of Roy A. Curtiss and Ethel Quinn, he graduated from the Browning School in New York in 1933. He went on to study film and theatre in Vienna and Moscow, where he was a student of the film director Sergei Eisenstein.

In summer 1937, he met writer Klaus Mann in Budapest and followed him through Europe. Their homosexual relationship[1] lasted for several years, but eventually Tomski (as Curtiss is called in Mann's diaries) left him because of Mann's on-going heroin addiction. Mann's suicidal novel Vergittertes Fenster is dedicated to him.

Curtiss enlisted in the New York 7th Regiment before World War II. He was stationed with Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe in 1944 and later with the US 8th Air Force, where he secured the hidden film library from the Luftwaffe for the Allies. This act gained him the Legion of Honor which was presented by General Charles de Gaulle.

After the war, he became a film and theatre critic for many newspapers and magazines, including New York Herald Tribune, The New York Times, and Variety, before he joined the International Herald Tribune for which he continued to write until long after his retirement.

Curtiss stayed regularly in Paris, where he often socialised with movie actors and directors.

He wrote several books, including a biography of Erich von Stroheim, whom he had admired in his youth. He also appeared in the documentary The Man You Loved To Hate on Stroheim's life. He wrote the script for the 1973 screen adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.

Notable works[edit]

  • Thomas Quinn Curtiss: Von Stroheim. New York: Vintage Books, 1973. ISBN 0-394-71898-4
  • Thomas Quinn Curtiss: The Smart Set: George Jean Nathan and H.L. Mencken. New York: Applause, 1998. ISBN 1-55783-312-5
  • Thomas Quinn Curtiss (ed.): The Magic Mirror. Selected Writings on the Theatre. New York: Knopf, 1960.


  1. ^ Culleton, Claire A.; Leick, Karen (2008), Modernism on file: writers, artists, and the FBI, 1920-1950, Macmillan, p. 222, ISBN 0-230-60135-9 

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