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Tony Curtis

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Tony Curtis
Curtis in 1958
Bernard Schwartz

(1925-06-03)June 3, 1925
DiedSeptember 29, 2010(2010-09-29) (aged 85)
Resting placePalm Memorial Park (Green Valley), Las Vegas, Nevada
Alma materThe New School
Years active1948–2008
(m. 1951; div. 1962)
(m. 1963; div. 1968)
Leslie Allen
(m. 1968; div. 1982)
Andrea Savio
(m. 1984; div. 1992)
Lisa Deutsch
(m. 1993; div. 1994)
Jill Vandenberg
(m. 1998)
Children6, including Kelly, Jamie Lee, and Allegra Curtis
Military career
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1943–1945
RankSignalman 3rd Class
UnitUSS Proteus (AS-19)
Battles/warsWorld War II

Tony Curtis (born Bernard Schwartz; June 3, 1925 – September 29, 2010) was an American actor with a career that spanned six decades, achieving the height of his popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. He acted in more than 100 films, in roles covering a wide range of genres. In his later years, Curtis made numerous television appearances.

He achieved his first major recognition as a dramatic actor in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) with co-star Burt Lancaster. The following year he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for The Defiant Ones (1958) alongside Sidney Poitier (who was also nominated in the same category). This was followed by the comedies Some Like It Hot and Operation Petticoat in 1959. In 1960, Curtis played a supporting role in the epic historical drama Spartacus.

His stardom and film career declined considerably after 1960. His most significant dramatic part came in 1968 when he starred in the true-life drama The Boston Strangler. Curtis also took on the role of the Ukrainian Cossack Andrei in the historical action romance epic Taras Bulba in 1962 and starred in the ITC TV series The Persuaders!, with Curtis playing American millionaire Danny Wilde. The series ran for twenty-four episodes.

Curtis married six times and fathered six children. He was the father of actresses Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis with his first wife, actress Janet Leigh, and actresses Allegra Curtis and Alexandra Curtis with his second wife Christine Kaufmann. He had two sons with his third wife Leslie Allen, one of whom predeceased him. From 1998 until his death, he was married to horse trainer Jill Vandenberg.

Early life[edit]

Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz on June 3, 1925, at the Fifth Avenue Hospital corner of East 105th Street in East Harlem, Manhattan the first of three boys born to Helen (née Klein) and Emanuel Schwartz.[1][2]

His parents were Jewish emigrants from Hungary: his father was born in Ópályi, near Mátészalka, and his mother was a native of Michalovce, Slovakia; she later said she arrived in the U.S. from Vaľkovo, Slovakia.[3] He spoke only Hungarian until the age of six, delaying his schooling.[4] His father was a tailor and the family lived in the back of the shop. His mother was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. His youngest brother Robert was institutionalized with the same mental illness.

When Curtis was eight, he and his brother Julius were placed in an orphanage for a month because their parents could not afford to feed them. Four years later, Julius was struck and killed by a truck. Curtis joined a neighborhood gang whose main crimes were playing truant from school and minor pilfering at the local dime store. When Curtis was 11, a friendly neighbor saved him from what he felt would have led to a life of delinquency by sending him to a Boy Scout camp, where he was able to work off his energy and settle down. He attended Seward Park High School. At 16, he had his first small acting part in a school stage play.[5]

Military service[edit]

Curtis enlisted in the United States Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Inspired by Cary Grant's role in Destination Tokyo and Tyrone Power's in Crash Dive (1943), he joined the Pacific submarine force.[4] Curtis served aboard a submarine tender, the USS Proteus, until the end of the Second World War. On September 2, 1945, Curtis witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay from his ship's signal bridge about a mile away.[6]

Following his discharge from the Navy, Curtis attended City College of New York on the G.I. Bill. He then studied acting at The New School in Greenwich Village under the influential German stage director Erwin Piscator. His contemporaries included Elaine Stritch, Harry Belafonte, Walter Matthau, Beatrice Arthur, and Rod Steiger. While still at college, Curtis was discovered by Joyce Selznick, the notable talent agent, casting director, and niece of film producer David O. Selznick.[citation needed]


In 1948, Curtis arrived in Hollywood at age 23. In his autobiography, Curtis described how by chance he met Jack Warner on the plane to California, and also how he briefly dated Marilyn Monroe before either was famous.[citation needed]

Universal as "Anthony Curtis"[edit]

Under contract at Universal Pictures, he changed his name from Bernard Schwartz to Anthony Curtis and met unknown actors Rock Hudson, James Best, Julie Adams and Piper Laurie.[7] The first name was from the novel Anthony Adverse and "Curtis" was from Kurtz, a surname in his mother's family.[8] Although Universal Pictures taught him fencing and riding, Curtis admitted he was initially only interested in girls and money—adding that he was pessimistic regarding his chances of becoming a major star. Curtis's biggest fear was having to return home to the Bronx as a failure:

I was a million-to-one shot, the least likely to succeed. I wasn't low man on the totem pole, I was under the totem pole, in a sewer, tied to a sack.[5]

Curtis's uncredited screen debut came in the crime drama Criss Cross (1949) playing a rumba dancer, dancing with Yvonne de Carlo. The male star was Burt Lancaster who would make a number of films with Curtis.

In his second film, City Across the River (also in 1949), he was credited as "Anthony Curtis"[9][user-generated source?] He had four lines in The Lady Gambles (1949) and a bigger part in Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949). He was also in Francis (1950), Woman in Hiding (1950), and I Was a Shoplifter (1950).

He was additionally in three Westerns, Sierra (1950), Winchester '73 (1950), and Kansas Raiders (1951), in which he was billed as "Tony Curtis".


Curtis was receiving numerous fan letters, so Universal gave him the starring role in The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951), a swashbuckler set in the Middle East with Piper Laurie. It was a hit at the box office and Curtis was now established.[citation needed]

He followed it up with Flesh and Fury (1952), a boxing movie; No Room for the Groom (1952), a comedy with Laurie directed by Douglas Sirk; and Son of Ali Baba (1952), another film set in the Middle East with Laurie.

Curtis then starred with then-wife Janet Leigh in Houdini (1953), in which Curtis played the title role. His next movies were more "B" fare: All American (1953), as a football player; Forbidden (1953), as a criminal; Beachhead (1954), a war film; Johnny Dark (1954), as a racing car driver; and The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), a medieval swashbuckler with Leigh. They were moderately successful financially, and Curtis was growing in popularity.[citation needed]

Curtis then starred in the musical So This Is Paris in (1955), before appearing in Six Bridges to Cross (1955), as a bank robber; The Purple Mask (1955), as a swashbuckler; and the boxing film The Square Jungle (1955).

Major star[edit]

Curtis graduated to more prestigious projects when he was cast as a co-star of Burt Lancaster and Gina Lollobrigida in Hecht-Lancaster Productions' Trapeze (1956). It was one of the biggest hits of the year. Curtis and Leigh formed their own independent film production company, Curtleigh Productions, in early 1955.[10][11]

Curtis made a Western, The Rawhide Years (1957), was a gambler in Mister Cory (1957) and a cop in The Midnight Story (1957). Lancaster asked for him again, to play scheming press agent Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success (1957), starring and co-produced by Lancaster. The film was a box office disappointment, but Curtis, for the first time in his career, received sensational reviews.

Curtis starred alongside Kirk Douglas and Janet Leigh in The Vikings (1958, produced by Douglas' Bryna Productions), which was a major box office hit.[12] Curtis then co-starred with Frank Sinatra and Natalie Wood in the war movie Kings Go Forth (1958),[13] before starring in The Defiant Ones the following year as a bigoted white escaped convict chained to a black man (played by Sidney Poitier). At the 31st Academy Awards, Curtis was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance—losing to David Niven in Separate Tables.[14]

Curtis with Marilyn Monroe in
Some Like It Hot (1959)

Curtis and Janet Leigh then starred in Blake Edwards' The Perfect Furlough (1958). He subsequently co-starred with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot as well as Cary Grant in Operation Petticoat (1959).

Curtis and Leigh made one more film together Who Was That Lady? (1960), a comedy with Dean Martin. He and Debbie Reynolds then starred in The Rat Race (1960). He then started in a supporting role in Spartacus (1960), before making two biopics: The Great Impostor (1961), directed by Robert Mulligan, playing Ferdinand Waldo Demara; and The Outsider (1961), in which he played war hero Ira Hayes. He returned to epics with Taras Bulba (1962), co starring Yul Brynner and Christine Kaufmann, who became Curtis's second wife.

Comedic roles[edit]

On October 6, 1961, Curtis formed a new film production company, Curtis Enterprises, Incorporated.[15] The company would make 40 Pounds of Trouble, which co-starred Curtis, Suzanne Pleshette and Phil Silvers; it was the first motion picture ever filmed at Disneyland.[16][17][18] On August 3, 1962, Curtis formed another new film production company, Reynard Productions, Incorporated.[19]

Curtis was one of many stars who had small roles in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963). He supported Gregory Peck in Captain Newman, M.D. (1963) and had an uncredited dual role in Paris When It Sizzles (1964). He and Kaufmann made their third movie together, the comedy Wild and Wonderful (1964). His focus remained on comedies: Goodbye Charlie (1964), with Debbie Reynolds; Sex and the Single Girl (1964), with Natalie Wood; The Great Race (1965), with Wood and Lemmon for Blake Edwards — the most expensive comedy film up till that time, but popular; Boeing Boeing (1965) a sex farce with Jerry Lewis; Not with My Wife, You Don't! (1966) with George C. Scott; Drop Dead Darling (1966), a British comedy with Rosanna Schiaffino; Don't Make Waves (1967), a satire of beach life from director Alexander Mackendrick, with Claudia Cardinale; and On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who... (1967), an Italian comedy with Monica Vitti. In the early 1960s, he was a voice-over guest star on The Flintstones as "Stoney Curtis".

The Boston Strangler[edit]

Because of the poor performance of a series of comedies, Curtis fired his agent and took a pay cut to $100,000 to play the title role in The Boston Strangler (1968), his first dramatic film in several years.[20] Response from the critics and public was excellent. He returned to comedy for Monte Carlo or Bust! (1969), an all-star car race film in the vein of The Great Race.

He made some comic adventure tales: You Can't Win 'Em All (1970) with Charles Bronson and Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came (1970).

Curtis decided it was time to turn to television and co-starred with Roger Moore in the TV series The Persuaders! (1971).

He was one of the villains in The Count of Monte Cristo (1975) and had the title role in the gangster film Lepke (1975). Curtis had the lead in a TV series that did not last, McCoy (1975–76). He was one of many names in The Last Tycoon (1976) and had the title role in an Italian comedy Casanova & Co. (1977). Later, Curtis co-starred as a casino owner in the Robert Urich 1978-1981 ABC series Vega$ and was in The Users (1978).

Later career[edit]

Curtis in 1997

Curtis supported Mae West in Sextette (1978) and starred in The Manitou (1978), a horror film, and The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978), a comedy. He had good roles in It Rained All Night the Day I Left (1980), Little Miss Marker (1980) and The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980) and was one of many stars in The Mirror Crack'd (1980). On ABC, he co-starred from 1978 to 1981 in prime time, as Las Vegas Desert Inn casino owner Philip (Slick) Roth, in 17 episodes of the Aaron Spelling produced series hit series, Vega$. After Vega$, on television, Curtis continued to make occasional guest appearances (sometimes playing fictional versions of himself) into the mid-2000s. His final TV series was as host of the documentary-retrospective series "Hollywood Babylon" (adapting Kenneth Anger's book series) in 1992–1993; each episode would include Curtis recalling some anecdotes from his own career. In 2002, Curtis was in the national tour of Some Like it Hot, a modified revival of the 1972 musical Sugar, itself based on the film in which he starred.[21] Curtis played the supporting role of Osgood Fielding.


Throughout his life, Curtis enjoyed painting and, beginning in the early 1980s, painted as a second career. In the last years of his life, he concentrated on painting rather than movies. A surrealist, Curtis claimed Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Magritte as influences.[4] "I still make movies but I'm not that interested in them any more. But I paint all the time." In 2007, his painting The Red Table was on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. His paintings can also be seen at the Tony Vanderploeg Gallery in Carmel, California.

Curtis spoke of his disappointment at never being awarded an Oscar. In March 2006, Curtis received the Sony Ericsson Empire Lifetime Achievement Award. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame inducted in 1960, and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France in 1995.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Curtis was married six times.[23] His first wife was actress Janet Leigh, whom he married in 1951. The studio he was under contract with, Universal-International, generally stayed out of their stars' love lives. When he chose to get married, however, studio executives spent three days trying to talk him out of it, telling him he would be "poisoning himself at the box office." They threatened "banishment" back to the Bronx and the end of his budding career. In response, Curtis and Leigh defied the studio heads and eloped and were married by a local judge in Greenwich, Connecticut. Comedian and close friend Jerry Lewis was present as a witness.[5]

The couple had two children, actresses Kelly and Jamie Lee.[24]

The couple divorced in 1962. "For a while, we were Hollywood's golden couple," he said. "I was very dedicated and devoted to Janet, and on top of my trade, but in her eyes that goldenness started to wear off. I realized that whatever I was, I wasn't enough for Janet. That hurt me a lot and broke my heart."[23][25]

The following year Curtis married Christine Kaufmann, the 18-year-old German co-star of his latest film, Taras Bulba. He stated that his marriage with Leigh had effectively ended "a year earlier".[4] Curtis and Kaufmann had two daughters, Alexandra (born July 19, 1964) and Allegra (born July 11, 1966). The couple divorced in 1968. After their divorce, Kaufmann resumed her career, which she had paused during their marriage.

On April 20, 1968, Curtis married Leslie Allen, with whom he had two sons -- Nicholas Bernard Curtis (December 31, 1970 – July 2, 1994)[26][27] and Benjamin Curtis (born May 2, 1973). The couple divorced in 1982.

Curtis married Andrea Savio in 1984; they divorced in 1992.[28]

The following year, on February 28, 1993, he married Lisa Deutsch. They divorced only a year later in 1994.

His sixth and last wife, Jill Vandenberg, was 45 years his junior. They met in a restaurant in 1993 and married on November 6, 1998.[28] "The age gap doesn't bother us. We laugh a lot. My body is functioning and everything is good. She's the sexiest woman I've ever known. We don't think about time. I don't use Viagra either. There are 50 ways to please your lover."[29]

On April 26, 1970, Curtis was arrested for marijuana possession at Heathrow Airport in London.[30]

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Curtis, who had a problem with alcoholism and drug abuse, went through the treatment center of the Betty Ford Clinic in the mid-1980s, which was successful for him.[28]

In 1994, his son Nicholas died of a heroin overdose at the age of 23. After his son's death, Curtis remarked that it was "a terrible thing when a father loses his son."[31]


Beginning in 1990, Curtis and his daughter Jamie Lee Curtis took a renewed interest in their family's Hungarian Jewish heritage, and helped finance the rebuilding of the Great Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary. The largest synagogue in Europe today, it was originally built in 1859 and suffered damage during World War II.[32] In 1998, he also founded the Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture, and served as honorary chairman. The organization works for the restoration and preservation of synagogues and the 1300 Jewish cemeteries in Hungary and is dedicated to the 600,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Hungary and lands occupied by the Royal Hungarian Army.[33] Curtis also helped promote Hungary's national image in commercials.[34]

Books and appearances[edit]

Curtis in 2009, during a book-signing of his memoir American Prince

In 1965, Tony Curtis was animated in an episode of The Flintstones; he also voiced his character Stoney Curtis. In 1994, a mural featuring his likeness, painted by the artist George Sportelli, was unveiled on the Sunset Boulevard overpass of the Hollywood Freeway Highway 101 in Los Angeles. The mural was relocated to Hollywood Boulevard and Bronson Avenue in September 2011.[35] His face is featured among the celebrities on the cover of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album by The Beatles.

Also in 1994, the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation awarded its Lone Sailor Award for his naval service and his subsequent acting career.

In 2004, he was inducted into the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Hall of Fame.[36] A street is named after him in the Sun City Anthem development of his adopted hometown, Henderson, Nevada.[37]

In 2005, Curtis was criticized after he stated that he would refuse to watch Brokeback Mountain. He additionally stated that John Wayne would not have approved of a film about gay cowboys.[38]

In 2008, he was featured in the documentary The Jill & Tony Curtis Story about his efforts with his wife to rescue horses from slaughterhouses.[39] In October 2008, Curtis's autobiography American Prince: A Memoir, was published.[40] In it, he describes his encounters with other Hollywood legends of the time including Frank Sinatra and James Dean, as well as his hard-knock childhood and path to success. It was followed by the publication of his next book, The Making of Some Like it Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American Movie (2009).[41] Curtis shared his memories of the making of the movie, in particular about Marilyn Monroe, whose antics and attitude on the set made everyone miserable.

On May 22, 2009, Curtis apologized to the BBC radio audience after he used three profanities in a six-minute interview with BBC presenter William Crawley. The presenter also apologized to the audience for Curtis's "Hollywood realism." Curtis explained that he thought the interview was being taped, when it was in fact live.[42]

Health and death[edit]

Curtis in 2004

In 1974, Curtis developed a heavy cocaine addiction while filming Lepke, at a time when his stardom had declined considerably and he was being offered few film roles.[43] In 1984, Curtis was rushed to the hospital suffering from advanced cirrhosis as a result of his alcoholism and cocaine addiction. He then entered the Betty Ford Clinic and vowed to overcome his various illnesses.[44] He underwent heart bypass surgery in 1994, after suffering a heart attack.[45]

On July 8, 2010, Curtis, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), was hospitalized in Las Vegas after suffering an asthma attack during a book-signing engagement in Henderson, Nevada, where he lived.[46]

Curtis died at his Henderson home on September 29, 2010, of cardiac arrest.[47][48][49][50] A few days beforehand, he had met photographer Andy Gotts for a photo-shoot at his home, saying: "I'm not in a good way at the moment but can I ask you one thing? Can you make me look like an icon just one more time?"[51] He left behind five children and seven grandchildren.[52] His widow Jill told the press that Curtis had suffered from various lung problems for years as a result of cigarette smoking, although he had quit smoking about 30 years earlier.[53] In fact, during the 1960s Curtis served as the president of the American 'I Quit Smoking' Club.[54] In a release to the Associated Press, his daughter, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, said:

My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages. He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world. He will be greatly missed.[55]

His remains were interred at Palm Memorial Park Cemetery in Henderson, Nevada, on October 4, 2010. The service was attended by daughters Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis; as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rich Little and Vera Goulet.[56][57] Investor Kirk Kerkorian, actor Kirk Douglas, and singer Phyllis McGuire were among the honorary pallbearers. He was buried with a number of his favorite items, including a Stetson hat, an Armani scarf, driving gloves, a copy of his favorite novel, and his iPhone.

Five months before his death he rewrote his will, naming all his children and intentionally disinheriting them with no explanation, then leaving his entire estate to his wife Jill, 42 years his junior.[58] [59]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2022 Netflix film Blonde, Curtis was portrayed by Michael Masini.[60]



Year Title Role Notes
1949 Criss Cross Gigolo Uncredited
City Across the River Mitch Credited as Anthony Curtis
Johnny Stool Pigeon Joey Hyatt Credited as Anthony Curtis
The Lady Gambles Bellboy Credited as Anthony Curtis
Take One False Step Hot Rod Driver Uncredited
How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border Unknown Short
1950 Francis Captain Jones Credited as Anthony Curtis
Woman in Hiding Dave Shaw Voice, Uncredited
I Was a Shoplifter Pepe Credited as Anthony Curtis
Sierra Brent Coulter Credited as Anthony Curtis
Winchester '73 Doan Credited as Anthony Curtis
Kansas Raiders Kit Dalton
1951 The Prince Who Was a Thief Julna
1952 Flesh and Fury Paul Callan
No Room for the Groom Alvah Morrell
Son of Ali Baba Kashma Baba
Meet Danny Wilson Himself, Nightclub Patron Uncredited
1953 Houdini Harry Houdini
All American Nick Bonnelli
Forbidden Eddie
1954 Beachhead Burke
Johnny Dark Johnny Dark
The Black Shield of Falworth Myles
So This Is Paris Joe Maxwell
1955 Six Bridges to Cross Jerry Florea
The Purple Mask Rene de Traviere / Purple Mask
The Square Jungle Eddie Quaid / Packy Glennon
1956 Trapeze Tino Orsini
The Rawhide Years Ben Matthews
1957 Mister Cory Cory also Executive Producer
The Midnight Story Joe Martini
Sweet Smell of Success Sidney Falco also Executive Producer
1958 The Vikings Eric
Kings Go Forth Corporal Britt Harris
The Defiant Ones John "Joker" Jackson also Executive Producer
The Perfect Furlough Corporal Paul Hodges
1959 Some Like It Hot Joe / Josephine / Shell Oil Junior
Operation Petticoat Lieutenant Nicholas Holden
1960 Who Was That Lady? David Wilson
The Rat Race Pete Hammond Jr.
Spartacus Antoninus
Pepe Himself Uncredited
The Great Impostor Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. / Martin Donner / Dr. Gilbert
1961 The Outsider Ira Hamilton Hayes
1962 Taras Bulba Andriy Bulba also Executive Producer
40 Pounds of Trouble Steve McCluskey also Executive Producer
1963 The List of Adrian Messenger Organ Grinder Cameo
Captain Newman, M.D. Corporal Jackson "Jake" Leibowitz also Executive Producer
1964 Paris When It Sizzles Maurice / Philippe – 2nd Policeman Uncredited
Wild and Wonderful Terry Willams also Executive Producer
Goodbye Charlie George Tracy
Sex and the Single Girl Bob Weston
1965 The Great Race Leslie Gallant III (The Great Leslie) also Executive Producer
Boeing, Boeing Bernard Lawrence
1966 Chamber of Horrors Mr. Julian Uncredited
Not with My Wife, You Don't! Tom Ferris also Executive Producer
Arrivederci, Baby! Nick Johnson also known as Drop Dead Darling
1967 Don't Make Waves Carlo Cofield
On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who... Guerrando da Montone
1968 Rosemary's Baby Donald Baumgart Voice, Uncredited
The Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo
1969 Monte-Carlo or Bust! Chester Schofield also known as Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies
1970 You Can't Win 'Em All Adam Dyer
Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came Shannon Gambroni
1974 Lepke Louis “Lepke” Buchalter
1976 The Last Tycoon Rodriguez
1977 Some Like It Cool Giacomino / Casanova
1978 The Manitou Harry Erskine
Sextette Alexei Karansky
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan Marvin Lazar
1979 Title Shot Frank Renzetti
1980 Little Miss Marker "Blackie"
It Rained All Night the Day I Left Robert Talbot
The Mirror Crack'd Martin N. Fenn
1982 Black Commando Colonel Iago
BrainWaves Dr. Clavius
Sparky's Magic Piano TV Interviewer Voice, Direct-to-Video
1983 Dexter the Dragon & Bumble the Bear Unknown Voice, English version
Balboa Ernie Stoddard
1984 Where Is Parsifal? Parsifal Katzenellenbogen
1985 Insignificance Senator
1986 Club Life Hector
The Last of Philip Banter Charles Foster
1988 Welcome to Germany Mr. Cornfield
1989 Lobster Man from Mars J.P. Shelldrake
Midnight Mr. B.
Walter & Carlo i Amerika Willy La Rouge
1991 Prime Target Marietta Copella Direct-To-Video
1992 Center of the Web Stephen Moore
1993 Naked in New York Carl Fisher
The Mummy Lives Aziru / Dr. Mohassid
1995 The Immortals Dominic
1997 Bounty Hunters 2: Hardball Wald Direct-to-Video
1998 Louis & Frank Lenny Star Springer
Stargames King Fendel
1999 Play It to the Bone Ringside Fan
2002 Reflections of Evil Host
2006 Where's Marty? Himself Direct-to-DVD
2007 The Blacksmith and the Carpenter God Voice, Short
2008 David & Fatima Mr. Schwartz Final film role


Year Title Role Notes
1955 Allen in Movieland Himself Television Movie
1955–1956 The Ed Sullivan Show Himself (Guest) 3 episodes
1959 The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial Charlie Episode: "Man on a Rock"
1960 Startime The Juggler Episode: "The Young Juggler"
also Executive Producer
1965 The Flintstones Stony Curtis Voice, Episode: "The Return of Stony Curtis"
1968 The Song Is You Himself Television Movie
1968–1971 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Himself (Guest Performer) Recurring role (8 episodes)
1970 American Cancer Society anti-smoking PSAs Himself multiple PSAs[61]
interview with Martin Agronsky on WTOP-TV News.
1971–1972 The Persuaders! Danny Wilde / Aunt Sophie Series regular (24 episodes)
1972 The ABC Comedy Hour Himself (Guest Performer) Episode: "The Friars Roast of Joe Namath"
The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour Himself (Guest Performer) 2 episodes
1973 The Third Girl from the Left Joey Jordan Television Movie
Shaft Clifford Grayson Episode: "Hit-Run"
1975 The Count of Monte-Cristo Fernand Mondego Television Movie
1975–1976 McCoy McCoy Series regular (5 episodes)
1978 The Users Randy Brent Television Movie
1978–1981 Vega$ Philip (Slick) Roth Series regular (17 episodes, 1978-1981)
1980 The Scarlett O'Hara War David O. Selznick Television Movie
1981 Inmates: A Love Story Flanagan Television Movie
The Million Dollar Face Chester Masterson Television Movie
1982 Portrait of a Showgirl Joey DeLeon Television Movie
1983 The Fall Guy Joe O'Hara Episode: "Eight Ball"
1986 Mafia Princess Sam "Momo" Giancana Television Movie
Murder in Three Acts Charles Cartwright Television Movie
1989 Tarzan in Manhattan Archimedes Porter Television Movie
Charlie Scott Parish Television Movie
1990 Thanksgiving Day Max Schloss Television Movie
1992 Christmas in Connecticut Alexander Yardley Television Movie
1992–1993 Hollywood Babylon Himself (Host) 5 episodes
1994 Bandit: Beauty and the Bandit "Lucky" Bergstrom Television Movie
A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Grimacing Governor Johnny Steele Television Movie
Cilla's World Himself Television Movie
1995–2003 Biography Himself (Interviewee) 4 episodes
– Episode: "Roger Moore" (1995)
– Episode: "Ernest Borgnine" (2000)
– Episode: "Tony Curtis" (2001)
– Episode: "Janet Leigh" (2003)
1996 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Dr. Issac Mamba Episode: "I Now Pronounce You..."
Roseanne Hal Episode: "Ballroom Blitz"
1997 Elvis Meets Nixon Himself Uncredited, Television Movie
1998 Suddenly Susan Peter DiCaprio Episode: "Matchmaker, Matchmaker"
2004 Hope & Faith Morris Episode: "Jack's Back"
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Himself Episode: "Grave Danger (Part 1)"
2006 60 Minutes Himself Episode: "Gay Marriage/The Marilyn Mystery"
2010 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Himself (Celebrity Question Presenter) Episode: "Million Dollar Movie Week 1"

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1951 Suspense The McKay College Basketball Scandal[62]
1952 Stars in the Air Model Wife[63]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Association Year Category Nominated Work Result
Academy Awards 1959 Best Actor The Defiant Ones Nominated
BAFTA Awards 1958 Best Foreign Actor Sweet Smell of Success Nominated
1959 The Defiant Ones Nominated
Bambi Awards 1958 Best Actor, International Sweet Smell of Success Won
1959 The Defiant Ones Nominated
1960 Some Like It Hot Nominated
1973 TV series International The Persuaders! Won
Bravo Otto Awards 1972 Best Male TV Star The Persuaders! Won
California Independent Film Festival 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award Won
David di Donatello Awards 2001 Special David Won
Empire Awards 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award Won
Golden Apple Awards 1952 Most Cooperative Actor Won
1958 Won
1964 Least Cooperative Actor Won
Golden Camera Awards 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award Won
Golden Globe Awards 1958 World Film Favorite, Male Won
1959 Best Actor in a Motion Picture— Drama The Defiant Ones Nominated
1961 World Film Favorite, Male Won
1969 Best Actor in a Motion Picture— Drama The Boston Strangler Nominated
Jules Verne Awards 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award Won
Laurel Awards 1958 Top Male Dramatic Performance Sweet Smell of Success Nominated
1960 Top Male Star Nominated
1960 Top Male Comedy Performance Who Was That Lady? Nominated
1961 Top Male Star Nominated
1962 Nominated
1962 Top Male Dramatic Performance The Outsider Nominated
1963 Top Male Star Nominated
1963 Top Male Dramatic Performance 40 Pounds of Trouble Nominated
1964 Top Male Star Nominated
1964 Top Male Comedy Performance Captain Newman, M.D. Nominated
1965 Male Star Nominated
Montreal World Film Festival 2008 Grand Prix Special des Ameriques Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival 1995 Desert Palm Achievement Award Won
Photoplay Award 1959 Most Popular Male Star Won
Primetime Emmy Awards 1980 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special The Scarlett O'Hara War Nominated
Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival 2000 "The General" Honorary Award Won
St. Louis International Film Festival 1997 Distinguished Hollywood Film Artist Award Won
TP de Oro 1973 Best Foreign Actor The Persuaders! Nominated
Walk of Fame 1960 Star on the Walk of Fame–Motion Picture 6817 Hollywood Blvd. Won


  • Curtis, Tony; Barry Paris (1993). Tony Curtis: The Autobiography. New York: William Morrow & Company. ISBN 978-0-688-09759-2.
  • Curtis, Tony; Peter Golenbock (2008). Tony Curtis: American Prince: My Autobiography. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-307-40849-5.
  • Curtis, Tony (2009). Some Like it Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Making of the Classic Movie. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-470-53721-3.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tony Curtis biography". Biography.com. Archived from the original on September 7, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
  2. ^ "Curtis, Tony 1925–". Encyclopaedia Judaica. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "USA: Zomrel americký herec Tony Curtis, po matke slovenského pôvodu" [USA: American actor Tony Curtis died, after a mother of Slovak origin]. Slovak Centre London (in Slovak). News Agency of the Slovak Republic. September 30, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Private Screenings: Tony Curtis Turner Classic Movies, January 19, 1999.
  5. ^ a b c Alexander, Shana (November 17, 1961). "Tony Curtis in a For–Real Bronx Dream: the Bee–Yoody–Ful Life of a Movie Caliph". Life. Vol. 51, no. 20. pp. 161–176. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  6. ^ "World War Two - and a young man serves his country". TenderTale. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  7. ^ Lobosco, David (April 9, 2012). "Julie Adams at 85". Great Entertainers Archives.com. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  8. ^ Rizzo, Frank (October 1, 2009). "My Interview With Tony Curtis". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  9. ^ IMDB
  10. ^ "Elmira Advertiser from Elmira, New York on May 28, 1955 · 7". Newspapers.com. May 28, 1955. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  11. ^ "Mirror News from Los Angeles, California on August 6, 1955 · 19". Newspapers.com. August 6, 1955. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  12. ^ "The New Box Office Champ!" (Advertisement). Variety. July 2, 1958. p. 18. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  13. ^ "Kings Go Forth". Film Reviews. Variety. June 11, 1958. p. 6. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  14. ^ "Awards for Separate Tables". TCM. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  15. ^ "CURTIS ENTERPRISES, INC. :: California (US) :: OpenCorporates". opencorporates.com. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  16. ^ Boxoffice; Boxoffice (1962). Boxoffice (Apr-Jun 1962). Media History Digital Library. New York, Boxoffice.
  17. ^ "The Evening Sun from Baltimore, Maryland on May 31, 1962 · 50". Newspapers.com. May 31, 1962. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  18. ^ "Valley Times from North Hollywood, California on May 14, 1962 · 6". Newspapers.com. May 14, 1962. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  19. ^ "Reynard Productions, Inc. :: California (US) :: OpenCorporates". opencorporates.com. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  20. ^ Beaupre, Lee (May 15, 1968). "Rising Skepticism On Stars". Variety. p. 1.
  21. ^ "Tour of Some Like It Hot, the Musical, Begins June 4 in TX; Tony Curtis Headlines". June 4, 2002.
  22. ^ Curtis, Tony; Golenbock, Peter (October 14, 2008). American Prince: A Memoir. Crown. ISBN 978-0-307-44946-7.
  23. ^ a b "A Bronx boy who mastered his art". The Australian. October 1, 2010.
  24. ^ "Jamie Lee Honours Her Dad". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  25. ^ Video clip compilation on YouTube 2 minutes
  26. ^ "Actor Tony Curtis' son dies on Cape Cod". UPI. July 5, 1994. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  27. ^ "Nicholas B. Curtis". Social Security Death Index. Retrieved October 24, 2018 – via FamilySearch.org.
  28. ^ a b c McDonald, William (November 11, 2011). The Obits 2012: The New York Times Annual. Workman Publishing. p. 85. ISBN 978-0761169420.
  29. ^ Drye, Brittny. "Tony Curtis: 6 Women Behind the Hollywood Heartthrob", The Stir, September 30, 2010, accessed January 13, 2011.
  30. ^ New York Daily News, April 27, 1970, pg. 4
  31. ^ "Movie star Tony Curtis had Cape ties". Cape Cod Times. October 1, 2008. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  32. ^ Steves, Rick; Hewitt, Cameron (May 26, 2015). Rick Steves' Budapest. Avalon Publishing. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-1631211119. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  33. ^ "Curtis aiding Hungary Jews". Chicago Sun-Times. June 29, 1988. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2010 – via HighBeam Research.
  34. ^ "Csináljon velünk országimázs filmet!" [Make us a country image movie!]. Origo (in Hungarian). Origo.hu. June 8, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
  35. ^ "Tony Curtis". Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  36. ^ "UNLV Entertainer/Artist Hall to honor Tony Curtis". Las Vegas Sun. September 14, 2004. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  37. ^ "Google maps Tony Curtis Lane, Henderson, Nevada, USA". Google Maps. September 3, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  38. ^ "Still stuck in the film closet". Irish Examiner. January 22, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  39. ^ "Jill VanderBerg Curtis Worked With Husband On Last Film". CBS News. September 30, 2010. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013.
  40. ^ Curtis, Tony; Golenbock, Peter. American Prince, Harmony Books (2008) ISBN 978-1-905264-34-6.
  41. ^ Curtis, Tony; Vieira, Mark A. The Making of Some Like it Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American Movie, John Wiley and Sons (2009) ISBN 978-0-470-53721-3
  42. ^ Crawley, William (May 23, 2009). "Tony Curtis brings some Hollywood realism to BBC radio". BBC.
  43. ^ Curtis, Tony American Prince: My Autobiography (2008) p. 303
  44. ^ "Tony Curtis". The Daily Telegraph. London. October 30, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  45. ^ "Tony Curtis 1925-2010: A movie star and icon in the golden age of Hollywood". Daily Record. Glasgow. October 30, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  46. ^ "Tony Curtis 'stable' after asthma attack". The Arizona Republic. July 16, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  47. ^ Kehr, Dave (September 30, 2010). "Tony Curtis, Hollywood Leading Man, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  48. ^ "Tony Curtis". The Daily Telegraph. London. September 30, 2010.
  49. ^ "Film star Tony Curtis dies at 85". BBC News. September 30, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  50. ^ "Coroner:Actor Tony Curtis Dies At Las Vegas Home". San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. September 30, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  51. ^ "Shooting celebrities: Thirty years behind the lens". BBC News. July 7, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  52. ^ "Tony Curtis's Widow Speaks Exclusively To Inside Edition". Inside Edition. March 29, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  53. ^ Culbertson, Caroline (September 30, 2010). "Tony Curtis died after long history of lung problems from smoking, says widow Jill Curtis". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  54. ^ "Tony Curtis on drugs charge at airport". Daily Express. April 27, 1970.
  55. ^ "Legendary actor Tony Curtis has died". CNN. September 30, 2010. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  56. ^ "Memorial Service for actor Tony Curtis Set For Monday". CNN. October 1, 2010. Archived from the original on December 3, 2022. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  57. ^ Garcia, Oskar (October 4, 2010). "Actor Tony Curtis buried after Vegas funeral". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on October 13, 2010.
  58. ^ Sources:
  59. ^ https://www.insideedition.com/3025-tony-curtiss-daughter-speaks-out-about-disinheritance
  60. ^ "'Blonde': 10 of the Marilyn Monroe Biopic's Stars and Their Real-Life Inspirations". The Hollywood Reporter. September 28, 2022. Retrieved August 6, 2023.
  61. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: American Cancer Society: Anti Smoking Ad Archives. American Cancer Society (Television production). September 16, 2015. Event occurs at 22:55-26:36. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  62. ^ "Radio's Golden Age". Nostalgia Digest. 37 (1): 41. Winter 2011.
  63. ^ Kirby, Walter (February 10, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 38. Retrieved June 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]