One of the great performers Hollywood has had the great pleasure of seeing, Tony Curtis passed away yesterday at the age of 85. Curtis’s cause of death was cardiac arrest, suffered in his home near Las Vegas.
Born as Bernard Schwartz in 1925 to Jewish immigrants in the Bronx, Curtis led the life of a poor family, living in a confined space behind the tailor shop that they owned before his parents — unable to take care of their children — placed he and his brother in state care. After high school, Curtis served in the Navy during World War II, and watched through a pair of binoculars during Japan’s formal surrender.
After that, he took up acting classes and in 1949, he began his career in films like City Across the River and Criss Cross. This set in motion what would become almost 130 acting credits. Over the next couple of decades is when Curtis really made his mark on Hollywood. Beloved classics like Sweet Smell of Success, The Defiant Ones (which nabbed the actor his first and only Academy Award nomination), Some Like it Hot, and Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, among many, many others.
Tony Curtis kept right on working up until recently, appearing in David & Fatima in 2008. He was even rumored for a role in a 2011 project called Morella, which is an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe short story.
Curtis is the father of actress Jamie Lee Curtis with ex-wife Janet Leigh, who passed away in 2004.