Thomas Quinn Curtiss

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Thomas Quinn Curtiss (June 22, 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 romantic 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 socialized with movie actors and directors.

He dined so regularly at La Tour d'Argent, one of the finest restaurants in Paris, that it added a dish named for him to its menu, "oeufs à la Tom Curtiss", a variation on oeufs à la Chimay.[2]

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.

Select works[edit]

  • The Magic Mirror. Selected Writings on the Théâtre, 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 
  2. ^ Krebs, Albin (April 24, 1974). "Notes on People". New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 

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