Bernard Schwartz turned 84 this week (June 3rd) and since 1949, the man made over 100 films. Not under the name Bernard Schwartz, though. His stage name was Tony Curtis. Of course, as a kid, I always confused old Tony Curtis movies with Ray Liotta movies, but let’s face it, kids are dumb. My cousin used to think that all moms and dads shared the same birthdays just because his parents did. See? Stupid.
Anyway, Curtis made his screen debut in Criss Cross playing a rumba dancer of all things, but two of his most famous roles were in Some Like it Hot and Sparatacus.* Despite his exhausting list of films, though, Curtis never once won an Academy Award, something he wasn’t too thrilled with. “My profession has never recognized me sufficiently for my work,” he once said. Bitter Betty, much? Hopefully he learned to be happy with the Sony Ericcson Empire Lifetime Achievement Award and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The acting gene didn’t end with him, though. You may have heard of his two daughters: Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis. Their mother was Janet Leigh, one of Curtis’ five wives, who he was married to for 11 years. Curtis claims that he was “very dedicated and devoted” to Leigh, “but in her eyes that goldenness started to wear off. I realized that whatever I was, I wasn't enough for Janet. That hurt me a lot and broke my heart.” He later revealed that he cheated on her throughout their marriage. Not for nothing, but we may have just pinpointed whatever it was that wasn’t enough for Janet. But anyway…
Curtis still acts but he considers painting to be his current career, a hobby he took up in the 1980s. Some of his work goes for $25,000. That’s one hell of an up-sell when you consider how little paint costs.
Despite the fact that we wouldn’t recognize Curtis if we passed him on the street today, he was a hottie in his hey day. That’s why he’s today’s Matinee Man.
Sorry, but smoking never looked so good
*If you don’t get that reference please, please rent Clueless as soon as possible. It’s so much more than you probably think it is.