Friday, November 26, 2010

Underrated and It's a Shame

                                                    Tony Curtis (Bernard Schwartz) 1925-2010     

I just finished reading the autobiography of Tony Curtis called American Prince: My Autobiography. I liked it a lot and I must say that I am definitely guilty of not appreciating his talent for what it was. I always thought he was very good in The Defiant Ones (1958) with Sidney Poitier. That was a groundbreaking movie and the movie itself didn't get the honors and raving reviews it deserved when it came out. But, I guess I let his reputation as a womanizer and an absent father get in the way of seeing his talents as an actor. That's not to say he wasn't a womanizer because he ABSOLUTELY was. You just have to read his book to see how many actresses, models, and regular women he bagged. I almost couldn't keep up with it! He seemed to have fallen in love or fallen in lust with almost every leading lady he ever had! But, last week The Boston Strangler (1968) came on TV and I thought Tony was amazing in it. He plays the strangler in the movie and he was so wonderful. He played the part so well, you thought he might actually be mentally disturbed. He should have been nominated for an Oscar for that one but I think Hollywood didn't want to see him succeed because of his philandering and messy divorce with Janet Leigh. He also had to deal with antisemitism in Hollywood.

Anyway the book really helped me understand a lot about why he was the way he was. He really had a hard knock life growing up in a poor Jewish family in the Bronx.  He may have cheated on pretty much all of his wives and wasn't the best father but he should still be praised as the stellar actor that he was.

                                                   Tony on the set of The Defiant Ones (1958)
                                                    Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh
                                              Tony and Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones (1958)

                                           Tony much older and painting which was his life's passion other than acting.