How’s Tony Curtis?

“Tony Curtis — just fine,” he sez. And he celebrates his 81st birthday June 3, with wife (of eight years-plus) Jill (“Jillie”) at their Henderson, Nevada home. It’s “just 35 minutes” from their 40-acre ranch in Sandy Valley where Jill has acquired 50 horses “which she’s saved from slaughter,” Tony proudly reports. These days, he spends most of his time painting.

Tony has art showings upcoming in Carmel, Maine, at Nice during the July festival where he’ll receive a Lifetime Achievement award. He has requests to appear at film fests — with or without his paintings. One of his canvases, “The Red Table” will hang in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, he proudly told me. Curtis claims he makes more from his art today than his acting career back then. However, thanks to his agent Lew Wasserman, he “owns a percentage” of his films including “Some Like It Hot,” “The Defiant Ones,” “The Great Race,” “Sweet Smell of Success” etc. “They bring in $400-500,000 a year,” Curtis volunteers.

He has no films now awaiting his approval. “They all want me to play a grandfather. I want to be a girl again” — like “Josephine” in “Some Like It Hot.” Whereupon he laughingly segued into reminiscences of the film and Marilyn Monroe. We recalled my visit to the location on the beach outside the Del Coronado Hotel. Tony, Jack Lemmon, Billy Wilder, the entire movie company and yours truly were on the broiling sand, waiting for Marilyn to emerge from her dressing room for the scene. I asked Wilder why he put up with Marilyn’s monkeyshines. Wilder shrugged his shoulders and said, “I could have gotten my aunt Tillie to do the part — she’d always be on time — but who would come to the box office to see her?” When Marilyn eventually appeared on the set Lew Wasserman politely asked, “How are you?” She abruptly answered “Lousy” and strolled off, Curtis recalled.

Tony has offers to write a book about Hollywood in that era. It would of course, include stories of him and Marilyn — whose 80th birth date was noted today, June 1. “I always loved younger women,” he laughed. How will he celebrate this 81st birthday? “Jillie and I and some friends will go to dinner — and dancing. I’m feeling great and looking wonderful. I’ve hardly changed.” He paused and laughed, “If I should go before you — don’t tell me.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 21

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. f. canter says:

    Me too I don’t want to see a cow boy movie full of gays.
    By the way when is tom, dick and harry getting married?
    When is God taking Eve out off the picture and let Steve take her place?
    By the way Sodom never happen, just a bunch a drunken Hawaiians the party got off hand and it went up in smoke!!

  2. saxifrage says:

    “The man is homophobic. He discriminates. If he were to talk about Jewish Films or Black Films in the same manner no one would accept it for a second!! Just think about it a little deeper.”
    Consider the previous statement and explain how ‘Bruce’ can be completely ignorant of the FACT that Tony Curtis has never been against male/male sex; that he has been completely open to other races and ethnic groups, and has never, ever, ever (to anyone’s knowledge) discriminated against anyone, in any way, shape, or form, and that he is one of the most progressive people on the planet.
    Why is ‘Bruce’ completely ignorant of the FACT that Tony Curtis is Jewish.
    How can ‘Bruce’ be completely ignorant of the FACT that Tony Curtis is hard-working and generous and does more for the world than ‘Bruce’ could ever hope to accomplish, yet ‘Bruce’ has the unmitigated gall, the outrageous temerity, to dare to criticize him without even trying to understand what he is saying, but, instead, takes it personally [‘Bruce’ must be completely self-centered since it all about him.]
    How can ‘Bruce’ be completely ignorant of the FACT that freedom of speech means exactly that. Americans are supposed to be free to express any opinion and not be destroyed for that opinion. ‘Bruce’ could have actually learned something if he would have done a bit of “deep thinking” himself instead of going off the deep end. (Although it may be that ‘Bruce’ doesn’t have the mental acuity to understand what Curtis was actually saying, since.
    How can Bruce be completely ignorant of FACTS, yet have the nerve to tell others to “think deeper.” Oy, what a schlub!
    “By the way, your insults to Jake and I were not necessary.”
    It’s “Jake and ME” you pretentious goof!
    Oh, and Brubaker; your lack of education (and class) is sadly evident. Merely because someone holds an opinion that is different that yours, does NOT mean that they lack intelligence, common sense, or logic (all of which they displayed in abundance). Rather, you exhibited proof that you don’t have a clue as to the actual meaning of “logic.” [Proof? There is no “basic understanding of logic” and your claim of same proves that you have never studied logic in your life. Your ad hominem attacks on those who hold a difference of opinion (including misspelling a name, is major uncool.
    Pam: No, YOU are the one who is missing the point. Some folks THINK and then speak. Tony Curtis is one of them. That is not a “generational” thing. I have heard young people who hate the movie express themselves. They do not have “old” brains. They have thinking brains. The fact that you are willing to be a sheep, and go along with the crowd, no matter what happens, does not speak well for your generation (whatever it is).
    lilywhite: You really got to the “depth” of Bruce! LOL He actually thinks that expressing an opinion about a gay cowboy movie theme is “racism.” That is FUNNY!
    Brad, lilywhite, and Ron are correct. Thanks to them, for their “common sense” and “logic.”

  3. Ron says:

    Just because someone doesn’t want to see a gay cowboy movie it doesn’t make them homophobic.
    Many of us were raised with Westerns with men in white hats and black hats and we liked them. They were simple and not realistic, but we liked that. I don’t like modern westerns with all their twisted, complicated anti-heroes. It is that simple.

  4. lilywhite says:

    “His opinion is pure racism and discriminatory and Jacqueline that is why I have lost respect for him and this is my opinion.”
    Since when did gays and lesbians constitute a race?!
    My god, no wonder people say ya’ll are drama queens!!!

  5. Pam says:

    You ALL miss the point. It isn’t about Gay or Straight, it’s about generation.
    Curtis grew up in a different time, decades when Gay was not permissable. He was simply expressing the views he was raised with.
    Thank G-d that things are changing, and there is much more tolerance now – but we still have a long way to go.
    Curtis is just one man, celebrity or not. Don’t give him the power, just accept his view as ONE who grew up in a different time – and did not change. (If you knew more about him, you would know he is a self-proclaimed womanizer, skirt chaser, and likes YOUNG girls, too. Those are offensive today, too.)

  6. Brubaker says:

    Who cares what this Jacalene or Lisa has to say. Why argue with these two who have no stake in the discussion. They are wrong. And Jacalene has no common sense and she lacks a basic understanding of logic. Let it go! (Being that no one’s posted since june, i guess you have.)

  7. Lisa says:

    I think Jacqueline is right, Tony Curtis has a right to express his opinion and why does that make him a gay-basher? I have gay friends as well, and they also don’t see what the fuss is about. Oh, to your remarks that Tony doesn’t have a clue? He is Jewish and changed his name. I think he has a BIG clue as to what persecution is all about.

  8. jacqueline says:

    Katie, you obviously do not understand what I write, you just SEE it the way it is convenient for you.
    I am not against anybody, you don’t wanna get the picture that is all. It is way to simple to judge anybody that you do not even know, that is what I think.

  9. Slingblade says:

    I like them french fried potato’s.

  10. Bruce Roger says:

    Unfortunately hate is alive and well and living all around us.
    This is out of today’s headlines:
    “A singer whose songs have topped the Billboard dance chart was attacked by a group yelling anti-gay slurs, and four people were arrested on hate-crime charges, police and his publicist said.
    Kevin Aviance, 38, underwent surgery for a broken jaw after the attack Saturday, said his publicist, Len Evans. Police said the singer, whose song “Alive” hit the top of the chart in 2002, was in stable condition.”
    As thinking feeling human beings we must rally and do whatever we can to change the world.
    Tony Curtis and those like him do not a clue. They are part of the problem and not part of the solution!

  11. Jake says:

    In response — Tony Curtis went on the show to discuss brokeback mountain. And I think it’s safe to say that there is no other movie like it — the very first mainstream gay movie. So yes Jacqueline, he disliked this particular movie because it’s a gay western. It wasn’t said in passing, he went on the Fox show to vent his disgust for a movie he did not see. I have never had a problem with Tony curtis before but when he makes comments like that, it makes me dislike his character. I would feel the same way if he said that he hates blacks or asians. People should be treated with respect and everyone is created equal.

  12. katie says:

    I’m not obligating anyone to see Brokeback Mountain. I don’t really care if anyone sees it or not. I’m simply saying that Tony Curtis used his clout, his celebrity to go OUT OF HIS WAY to put down a movie BECAUSE of its subject matter. Are you even reading what you are writing — he doesn’t like a movie because it’s a gay film — hmmm, what does that tell you about a person? I don’t care if he doesn’t want to see it, I do care when he tells others how wrong it is to watch it or how he should rally others not to see it. It’s not right especially given how he hasn’t even seen it. You can’t argue about something if you haven’t experienced it for yourself. If you can’t bring yourself to watch it, that’s fine, but the reason is, don’t kid yourself, is because you are homophobic. Once again, I don’t obligate anyone to see it, I object to people who tell others not to see it given the fact that have not seen it. It would be like someone saying don’t watch ER because its terrible, I haven’t seen one show but it’s awful how they portray doctors — that is the short sightedness I am talking about, that Jake and Bruce are talking about. By the way, you are the one making the huge fuss — he made comments that many of us did not like, end of story. If you want to back a gay basher, it is in your right to do so. Don’t argue with me that he is anything but that. You talk of mutual respect, where is Tony Curtis’s mutual respect for gays or gays in film — you made my point by your last paragraph!— he put his way upon others as an obligation. hmmm, guess you are against tony curtis after all!

  13. Jacqueline says:

    There is a big difference between refusing and not caring to see, and can not and want not. That first of all.
    Nobody will tell me that if one does not care to see a certain thing that this means he or she is discriminating, THAT would be ultimately short sighted. Dislike a movie, ONE movie and you are homofobic, discriminating etc. ?? How poor an attitude you all have.
    It is like this: you don’t like red, so you don’t want to wear it. The next thing you know one is all over you, because you HAVE to wear red because THEY think it is right. And you call yourself a free country ?? Everybody is entitled to have an opinion, but to judge someone that you do NOT know, and ONLY because of the fact he doesn’t like a movie, that is sad.
    I have no need to let my friends post here: we are not in court. And to enlighten you Katie: they DO share my opinion. They do not understand the fuss: so someone doesn’t care to see something, so what ?
    It is called mutual respect: you have your way, I have mine, and I do not put my way upon others as an obligation. That is what you all do.

  14. Katie says:

    Jacqueline, let me get this straight — you are defending derogatory comments of an actor because he has a right to dislike such movies because “Not everyone likes science fiction movies” and it shouldn’t be a crime?
    and you call yourself not homophobic but you refuse to watch the movie? I would love for you to show your post to your so called gay friends and see if they agree with you.
    Make no mistake that his comments were a political statement against a certain group of people and in my book that does not make him a nice, considerate or caring person and that is my opinion as you say

  15. jake says:

    it’s not just a question about opinion, it was a crusade that he went on Fox news to speak out against a movie that he refused to watch. Would it kill you to keep an open mind and take a look? I see a lot of movies that I don’t think I will like and I come away more enlightened and glad that I watched it. What tony curtis is almost like saying — I won’t watch the latest chick flick because it has women in it or if he won’t watch Hustle and Flow because there are blacks in it — do you not find that offensive and short sighted. In this day and age, we are supposed to treat people with equality and without discrimination. His opinion is pure racism and discriminatory and Jacqueline that is why I have lost respect for him and this is my opinion. No, I can’t kill someone for having an opinion, I can express shock and outrage that such comments come out of a respected actor and how disappointed I am that he feels, like you, cannot watch a movie about a gay romance. This comment was made out of malice and it was a movie that he did not even watch! I don’t care who you are, you shouldn’t say that you hate something without watching it first and then go out and tell the world about it on national television. You think you know what the movie is about, but you don’t because you haven’t seen it. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

  16. Jacqueline says:

    Well boys, I guess it does not feel good to be personally insulted does it ?
    No, I most certainly did not miss the point: I too, will not go to watch a “gay western movie” if I may call it so, it has nothing to do with being homofobic: some of my best friends are gay, and they are dear to me, and do not hold my opinion against me. It is that I just do not like the concept so I won’t watch it, I like a movie in which the cowboys are the ordinairy tough guys (call me old fashioned if you want), and don’t have the urge to see a gay love affair in western setting, I am sorry. I also think that a movie about a gay relation in general is not something so very spectacular as it is common goods these days (which is important and a good thing). I think that Mr. Curtis may have meant the same thing.
    You know, some LOVE science fiction movies and some hate them, and thus will not watch them and/or like them. I don’t think that such is a crime do you ? You can’t kill someone for having an opinion, and that opinion happens to be not yours.

  17. jake says:

    Jacqueline, perhaps you are missing the point. He did not even want to even watch the movie based on the subject matter. Do you call that being intelligent? He can love brokeback mountain or hate it, but at least give it the courtesy of watching it before you belittle it on national television. I certainly would not defame a movie without having seen it and his comments are uncalled for.

  18. Bruce Roger says:

    Jacqueline, you clearly missed our point. Mr. Curtis has every right to not like the film Brokeback Mountain. Our feeling is that has no right to make blanket statements about the Academy or belittle gay folk. The man is homophobic. He discriminates. If he were to talk about Jewish Films or Black Films in the same manner no one would accept it for a second!! Just think about it a little deeper.
    By the way, your insults to Jake and I were not necessary.

  19. Jacqueline says:

    Jake and Bruce,
    You poor souls. Why is someone only good if he likes brokeback mountain. Your intelligence does not go very far by saying this. If a person looses your respect so fast ( only because he does not share your opinion) then your respect is very shallow and thus meaningless. Really, if you have nothing intelligent to say, then say nothing.

  20. Jake says:

    Funny, I was just about to write the same thing as Bruce just wrote. I have lost any respect I have for this actor, not only for his homophobic feelings for airing it on national television for everyone to hear. It’s a sad state of affairs when such discrimination is as vocal as Mr. Curtis.

  21. Bruce Roger says:

    My respect for Tony Curtis evaporated due to his unnecessary and severe homophobic remarks about the Academy and Brokeback Mountain. For a man who has err… had a somewhat gay following do to his “Hot” movie he sure put his foot in his mouth. Shame on him for not being accepting and loving at his (or any) age. He needs to open his heart.

More Voices News from Variety