A busy day for FilmEdge already when I heard the news of Tony Curtis passing away. Much has already been said about his life and career today, but I wanted to add what I’ll remember most about him as an actor. This photo crystalizes my first film memory of Curtis as seen in Billy Wilder’s comedy SOME LIKE IT HOT.
Many might argue this wasn’t even Curtis’ best role or best performance, but his deliriously heightened performance as a jazz musician pretending to be a woman to be near Marilyn Monroe then imitating Cary Grant to woo her bravely risks disaster at every turn. The wondrous comedic timing it took to pull off this character-upon-character mayhem — despite struggling with Monroe’s on-set difficulties — continues to impress. I still find it a marvel to watch today, many years and repeat viewings later.
Pick ’em from the rest of his career: Sidney Falco, Joker Jackson, Lieutenant Nick Holden, the Great Leslie. He was also Spartacus, only he wasn’t. But I’ll never forget Shell Oil Junior.
Tony Curtis will live on forever in that film as long as films are preserved and enjoyed. That’s really something in this business. Thanks for the laughs and rest easy, sir.