Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tony Curtis Dies at 85

The AP is reporting that the legendary actor Tony Curtis has died in Henderson. His downward spiral began when he collapsed in a Costco with a breathing problem in July. On July 27, Curtis' wife Jill told me he expected to make a full recovery and she was upset that his illness had prompted producers to replace him in his first Hollywood film role, a Sigourney Weaver flick called "Vamps" that shoots in November. He'd even done a wardrobe fitting, she said.

Curtis spent the latter part of his life in a state of both comfort and despair, happy in his marriage with Jill but unsettled by his film legacy, his physical infirmities and other personal issues. In October 2008, I spent several hours with him for a USA Today piece on his autobiography. It also yielded a Las Vegas Weekly column in which I wrote this:

“I don’t know why I’m so dissatisfied,” confides the star of Some Like It Hot, Spartacus, The Defiant Ones and another 120 films. “What am I looking for? What am I chasing?”

If he doesn’t know at this stage of his life, I’m not sure who or what is going to supply that answer.

You can hear that classic -- and very, very filthy -- interview because the two-part shows related to Curtis from 2008 are being reissued into "The Strip" podcast feed. It's free, so subscribe via iTunes or Zune or download PART ONE and PART TWO by right-clicking on those links.

Also cool are the pictures I took and posted of his home and art studio in Henderson. I also ended up with this (left), my copy of the book not just signed by Tony Curtis but with a line drawing!

A sad day for Curtis, his family, Las Vegas and Hollywood. R.I.P.