I never know when to expect a call from him–but that Bronx twang is immediately recognizable. "Armelah," he exclaims, "how are you boychick?" He then segues into pure Tony Curtis, an East Bronx boy talking to one from the Grand Concourse (me). We've been friends since he was "The Prince Who Was A Thief" at Universal. I'd visited the sets or talked to him abut the making of "Spartacus," "The Boston Strangler,' "Some Like It Hot," "Defiant Ones," "The Vikings," and "Sweet Smell Of Success," among many others. He survived a close health call a year ago when departure from a hospital stay was iffy. He wrote his memoirs. And last week, he was enjoying yet another trek around the country selling his book..

"I'm getting stronger all the time — by walking," he said happily. This time, he was back in Hollywood at the Magic Castle. He was not only here with his bio, but he brought along a group of his paintings. They sell for up to $30,000 and for as low as $2,500 for prints. "I love going out with my paintings," he said. "Just think, if I sell five, it's four more than Van Gogh sold in his whole life."

Curtis is planning another revealing book, this one about the studios where he'd worked. He says he's made 150 movies. And as we enumerated on some of the choice ones he talked about Oscar recognition — some day. Who more deserving of movie recognition than movie star Tony Curtis?

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