Tony Curtis Dies at 85 – Jamie Lee Curtis’ Father Was a ‘Good-Looking-Kid’

Filed in Gather Celeb News Channel by on September 30, 2010 0 Comments

Tony Curtis died Wednesday at his home in Las Vegas of cardiac arrest, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.  The father of Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis (Trading Places), who had a string of movies and wives, had been struggling with failing health, recently.  Tony Curtis, the “good-looking-kid”, was 85 when he died.

Tony Curtis, a film legend, passes away

Authorities report that Tony Curtis, on Wednesday night at about midnight, suffered cardiac arrest at his Las Vegas residence.  He had been undergoing medical care for breathing issues prior to his death, according to People.

Sept. 30, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - JANET LEIGH AND TONY CURTIS. .SUPPLIED BY PHOTOS, INC. © Red Carpet Pictures

Tony Curtis, in 2006, had a close brush with death when he contracted pneumonia in the latter part of December.  His near-death experience resulted from the infection aggravating his diagnosed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), reported his daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, 51.

Tony Curtis was born Bernie Schwartz during New York’s tough “Hells Kitchen” era, a time of living rough and tough.  Born the son of a Hungarian tailor, he quickly learned the struggles of poverty and daily living.  Tony Curtis, also knew about tragedy early on.  One brother died at 12, having been struck by a vehicle, and the other was institutionalized for mental dysfunctions.

Tony Curtis was not much on school.  He dropped out of high school, and enlisted a short time later in the Navy during WWII.  His time there for two years would ultimately give him the experience on screen when he played alongside Cary Grant in his 1959 movie, “Operation Petticoat”, according to News Briefs.

Curtis would use a GI Bill to pursue acting and would land roles that ultimately led him to Hollywood opportunities, after being recruited by a scout for Universal.  This would lead him to starring in over 150 films such as “Sweet Smell of Success”, “The Defiant One’s”, and the very funny “Some Like it Hot”.

Before Tony Curtis died, he said in an interview, “I was a good-looking-kid.  That’s how I got into movies.”  He compared himself to Marlon Brando and others, and said that if you did not “look good” on screen, you didn’t stand a chance.  But, unlike Brando, Tony Curtis wasn’t all tuned in to the performance, as much as he was in to “looking good”.

Tony Curtis was known more for his acting ability.  The beloved actor, and father of Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis, was also known for his drug use, arrogance, string of marriages (five), and his womanizing.

From five marriages to a “fragile reconciliation”

His first marriage to one of his co-star’s, Janet Leigh, consummated in 1951.  Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis were born out of that union that ended 12 years later in bitter fashion.  Based on his lifestyle, Jamie Lee Curtis separated herself from Tony Curtis due to his womanizing lifestyle that often left him out of the better part of his children’s lives. However, 30 years ago, Jamie Lee Curtis said she achieved a “fragile reconciliation” with her father.

Tony Curtis has died, but will be remembered for his iconic roles he portrayed on film, some of which were models of the life he lived during his life in the Bronx.  It appears that Jamie Lee Curtis has made amends with the once-broken relationship with Tony Curtis.  It is good that they repaired the bitterness that led to their estrangement before Tony Curtis died.

©2010 by Brad Bechler for, All rights reserved

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