Tony Curtis, “Vigorous Heterosexual,” 1925-2010

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09/30/2010 10:44 AM |

With then-wife Janet Leigh and daughters Kelly and Jamie Lee, in 1959.
  • With then-wife Janet Leigh and daughters Kelly and Jamie Lee, in 1959.

Tony Curtis, the pretty-boy movie star of the 1950s born, to Jewish immigrants in the Bronx, as Bernard Schwartz, and best-loved in retrospect for his cross-dressing, Cary Grant-imitating seduction of Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, and for his compulsively candid, charming perspective on his own life and career, died of cardiac arrest in his Nevada home yesterday.

Dave Kehr’s Times obit, linked above, is as ever definitive, and perhaps the best thing I can think to say about Tony Curtis is that, as his final gift to an adoring public, he left behind an obituary that’s a hell of a lot of fun to read, from his coded object-of-desire performance in “Spa-rat-a-cus” to his private life as “vigorous heterosexual” to a rundown of a fascinating, sometimes troubled career in the late days of the Hollywood studio system and beyond. Keep up with the Notebook for more news and tributes.