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Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz in The Bronx, New York City in 1925, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants. He had a crappy childhood, and in WWII he served in the Navy. He got out in 1945 when the war ended, and went to acting school, and he was signed to a contract at Universal in 1948, where he changed his name to Anthony Curtis. His first movie was a tiny one in Cross Cross, but it was notable because that movie starred Burt Lancaster, with whom Curtis would later co-star in two very memorable movies. In 1951 he married Janet Leigh (he later admitted he primarily married her to advance his career), and in 1953 they co-starred in Houdini together. In 1956 he co-starred with Lancaster and Lollabrigida in Trapeze, and the following year he co-starred with Lancaster in Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman's masterpiece, Sweet Smell of Success. In 1958 he was memorable in The Defiant Ones (nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for this film) opposite Sidney Poitier. In 1959 he had his best role ever, as the cross-dressing star of Some Like It Hot. In 1960 he took a supporting role in Spartacus. In 1968, with his career fading, he took the lead role of Albert DeSalvo in The Boston Strangler. But it did not do much to revive his career and over the next 40+ years he made many lesser movies and had many appearances on TV shows. In his later years, he pursued art, and had a successful business selling his artwork, no doubt many of them to fans who wanted a "Tony Curtis original". He passed away in 2010 at the age of 85. Curtis had six wives, and six children, the best known being actress Jamie Lee Curtis. He had well documented troubles with his families, and with drugs. Tony Curtis was in many of the most memorable films of the 1950s and 1960s, and even his lesser movies of that period are pretty entertaining. Perhaps his best move was his willingness to take secondary roles to other great actors, even though he could have solely played leading roles. I highly recommend seeing all of the movies noted above!
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