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A good appreciation in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/sep/30/tony-curtis-true-hollywood-star

Loved Tony Curtis in so many of his roles, at his best in comedy I think, but I have vivid memories of him in Trapeze and The Vikings too. He was great fun on chat shows with a self deprecating sense of humour and heaps more personality than the cut & pastes that Hollywood produces today.

I think he should get a Viking funeral, laid to rest on a Viking long-ship set afire by an arrow and sailing into the sunset.

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I think he should get a Viking funeral, laid to rest on a Viking long-ship set afire by an arrow and sailing into the sunset.

Mashinka, what a lovely idea!

I agree, Tony Curtis was the antithesis of the "cut and paste" movie star. He was quite a character, interested in everything and honest about his foibles and strong suits.

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Sorry to hear this. Curtis was a most engaging interview as Mashinka says, enthusiastic and unpretentious, although it must be admitted that he had much to be unpretentious about, as Churchill might say. He made some good movies - Some Like It Hot, Spartacus, Sweet Smell of Success, The Vikings, etc. - and he was good in them. His face was his fortune, no doubt.

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I think he should get a Viking funeral, laid to rest on a Viking long-ship set afire by an arrow and sailing into the sunset.

Mashinka, what a lovely idea!

I agree, Tony Curtis was the antithesis of the "cut and paste" movie star. He was quite a character, interested in everything and honest about his foibles and strong suits.

I can understand that if you loved that movie (I can't remember if I even saw it as a child, so I'll take a look at it). I don't think most people remember him in that film primarily, though.

His greatest performance for me was 'The Sweet Smell of Success', maybe tied by 'Some Like It Hot'. In the first he was incomparable (and so was everybody else in that movie); in the second he was flawless, so I won't choose. Also, that marvelous early Gigolo number in the noir 'Criss Cross' with Lancaster and De Carlo. One of the handsomest of all Hollywood actors when young. Marilyn esp. clearly responds to it onscreen, although she made him and everybody else miserable during the filming.

I just looked IMDb, 6 wives and 6 children (and here I'd thought he and Janet Leigh had been married for at least most of his marriages...) and this quote, which is hilarious: "I ran around with a lump in my pants, chased all the girls. This is what I reflected on the screen. There wasn't anything deeper or less deep than that." Witty the 'not less deep' part, reminds me of when David Bowie said he 'learned that beauty is not skin deep, it's deep skin'.

Hate to see him go, he was pretty special.

Edited to add: Just saw this: "In 2002, he toured in a musical adaptation of “Some Like It Hot,” in which he played the role of the love-addled millionaire originated by Joe E. Brown in the film."

That would have been the Marvin Hamlisch show, and the score, at least, wasn't half bad.

Also remember his appearance in Mae West's campy, and usually considered horrible 'Sextette', but which I found enjoyable in a low way.

The obits have made me decide to watch a number of these I've inadvertently missed, like 'The Defiant Ones' and also 'Mister Cory'.

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http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/09/30/obituaries/20100930-CURTIS-4.html

This still captures the fantastic ugliness of the Curtis and Lancaster characters in 'sweet smell of success'. This is still an amazing film, not least because of Barbara Nichols as well as the leads.

There's also a beautiful shot of Janet and Tony with their two kids, that's the second one in this NYTimes slide show.

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The Vikings is on the silly side but it looks breathtaking, with splendid work from the master cinematographer Jack Cardiff. It was shot on location in Norway, has some great action sequences, and the long ships are stunning. As for the cast, Ernest Borgnine is awesome, Kirk Douglas and Curtis get by. Janet Leigh has nothing to do but look pretty and she surely does.

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Correction of my above post about the musical based on 'Some Like It Hot'. I guess that was 'Sugar', from the early 70s, by Styne and Merrill and starring Elaine Joyce.

The Marvin Hamlisch show from 2002 was The Sweet Smell of Success, which was not quite a flop, but not a big success either. I think I had a hard time imagining that making a good musical, so the songs by themselves probably didn't tell much about the show for a change. I might listen to 'Sugar', never have thought to and didn't know it was Jule Styne.

Did anybody else think Tony Curtis was Italian? I can't believe I didn't know he was Jewish, and I believe one of the articles said his last little role was as 'Mr. Schwarz'.

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The UK press has really gone overboard on this story devoting pages and pages of tributes to Tony Curtis this morning, including huge front page pictures in The Times and Guardian, all the more remarkable because today is anything but a slow news day and generally Hollywood stars just get half a page in the arts section on their deaths. I think the extent of the coverage reflects his huge popularity here and the fact that so many people rate Some Like it Hot as the greatest comedy of all time, but of course he spent a good deal of his later career in Britain and is particularly remembered for The Persuaders opposite Roger Moore on TV.

I like this photo tribute from The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/8034431/Tony-Curtis-his-life-and-career-in-pictures.html Check out picture 6, sexy or what?

Ironically when he was at his most glamorous I was too young to realize what a drop dead gorgeous bloke TC actually was and just admired him for action films such as the Vikings because spectacle and derring-do is what kids like best. In the 1950's he was a real style icon and all the young men had 'Tony Curtis haircuts' including my older brother. It's a cliché but they really don't make 'em like that any more.

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Thank you for that link, Mashinka...it really is a lovely photo tribute. Tony Curtis was a tremendously likeable fellow, and probably a lot of that had to do with the way he owned up to his flaws and failings. He retained an almost childlike delight in the Hollywood he helped to shape, always eager to dish in interviews and air his opinions. That sort of genuineness is rare in today's world and might account for the unexpected wistfulness many of us feel with his death.

Yes, photo #6 is stunning. Curtis was quite photogenic as a young man! Parenthetically, I'm struck by how much Olivier looks like Daniel Craig in #23.

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Good post, Mashinka. I liked the first photo best.

Would be interested to hear more about 'The Persuaders' and his British career--I wasn't even aware of any of it. I think I stopped thinking about him after the mid-60s. (Just looked up the Persuaders, it was just after the Saint and pre-Bond by a few years. Sounds like it must have been a good show.)

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he spent a good deal of his later career in Britain and is particularly remembered for The Persuaders opposite Roger Moore on TV.

I think that he's particularly remembered for The Persuaders in France too. This show has been especially popular in France, and has been shown a huge number of times on TV (almost every year). Actually, part of its success was due to the dubbing voices, and especially Michel Roux's dubbing of Curtis (Michel Roux, who also was a theater actor, died in 2007, and his obituaries mentioned mostly that dubbing).

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Lots of memories of many films. I, too, enjoyed The Vikings, and the attempt at historical accuracy of place. But how can anyone forget that pie fight in The Great Race? And of course the omnipresent twinkle they inserted in those blue eyes--a totally unnecessary effect in my opinion.

Of course I also appreciated the talent that could move effortlessly (or at least make it appear so)from drama to comedy and all ranges in between...AND retain the admiration, affection, and respect of audiences and colleagues in a very fickle industry.

I hope RIP, but I'm sure he's still enjoying the afterlife as well.

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he spent a good deal of his later career in Britain and is particularly remembered for The Persuaders opposite Roger Moore on TV.

I think that he's particularly remembered for The Persuaders in France too. This show has been especially popular in France, and has been shown a huge number of times on TV (almost every year). Actually, part of its success was due to the dubbing voices, and especially Michel Roux's dubbing of Curtis (Michel Roux, who also was a theater actor, died in 2007, and his obituaries mentioned mostly that dubbing).

That's interesting, Estelle. Curtis could have used dubbing in some of his English-speaking roles, as well.....

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Curtis helped fund the restoration of the magnificent Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest--not just a striking building but witness to an inordinate amount of Jewish history from central European Jewry's seemingly successful efforts at assimilation (Liszt played the organ there and sermons were delivered in Hungarian for the first time) to the temporary housing of 20,000 Jews during World War II many of whom died in the appalling conditions. Eichman actually set up an office inside the synagogue. There is now a Jewish museum attached to it and a holocaust memorial outside including a sculpture of a silver colored tree. Herzl was born across from the synagogue on a street that no longer exits--so it's sort of ground zero for twentieth-century Jewish history.

Without Curtis (and others including Estee Lauder) raising and donating funds for the restoration, one does not know what would have happened to this building. Budapest has several other remarkable synagues that, to my knowledge, remain in not very good condition including one by Otto Wagner, more or less falling apart.

I was unspeakably moved when I visited the Dohanyi Street Synagogue--and when I think of Tony Curtis that is the first thing I think of ...

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Drew, this is very stirring. The more I learn about Tony Curtis through the posts in this thread, the more I admire him on many more levels than just the cinematic. Thank you for bringing this aspect of his character and spirit to light.

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