March 20, 2023

Lavish Lizard

Once Upon A Time In Old Hollywood

The Quick downward Spiral of Tony Curtis

3 min read

Tony Curtis born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx New York in 1925; Was ultra red hot in the decade of the 1950’s

Co starred with Roger Moore in 1970’s Persuaders!

Working with some of the greatest of the greats in film. From Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Mariyln Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Appearing serious dramas in the Defiant Ones with Sidney Poitier.

I can go on and on. Oh yes he has worked with Lawrence Oliver, Natalie Wood, Gregory Peck, and Kirk Douglas. He was young very attractive, and had decent acting chops. He was no Marlon Brando, or in the same league with Montgomery Clift, but then again nobody really was.

An actor with matinee idol looks working in films do well for bit but if they have no real deep acting ability or schooling. They will fade fast. Just as Rock Hudson, and Tab Hunter, all by the way had the same agent as Tony Curtis, and all were handed their stage names. These actors all flourished. For a relatively shorty window Hunter probably the shortest.

Nominated for Defiant Ones in 1959

What was Curtis biggest ally totally his friends, and connections. He was married to fellow actor Janet Leigh, and friends with, a lot of the greats of old Hollywood, and buddies with Frank Sinatra, and all the other cool rat packers.

He appeared in films with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, tried real hard to sharpened his acting chops by the early 60’s with films like Spartacus, Captain Newman MD, The Outsider, and The Great Imposer. Out of these I really enjoyed The Rat Race with Debbie Reynolds. The best out of the serious period of his career. These film did little of anything to strengthen his acting ability, and by the mid swinging sixties. His career as we know it as Tony Curtis was over, with dreadful roles.

Lets see Boeing Boeing with buddy Jerry Lewis. The we had Arrivederci Baby, Don’t Make Waves, with a last ditch effort to be taken more seriously starring in The Boston Strangler from 1968 with heavy weight Henry Fonda, but I think Curtis was seriously miss cast as Albert DeSalvo.

Tony Curtis starred in a bio pic call Houdini

Any other actor would have knocked the role out of the park and gained a Oscar nod. Although Montgomery Clift had already passed away in 1966; This would have been a excellent part for him.

As a kid really enjoyed Curtis in many of his light weight roles, and comedies from the 1950’s like Some Like It Hot, Operation Petticoat, The Perfect Furlough, and Who Was That Lady?

Tony Curtis was given a real opportunity to do comedy and serious drama, but did not have the real acting ability to convincingly pull it off.

I bet Curtis must have been pulling his hair out wondering why he was not being offered roles given to his direct contemporaries in the mid 60’s Jack Lemmon, Paul Newman, Sean Connery or Steve McQueen. Of course to be fair. There were other actors who fell by the way side around the mid 1960’s such as James Garner, Robert Wagner, and Rod Taylor, all took to TV shows by the early 70’s as did Curtis.

Tony Curtis had major substance abuse issues by the late sixties which might have lead to the permanent demise of his career. I remember a few show that failed horrible in the mid 70’s, but over all he has some great memorable roles for us to enjoy.

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