Tony Curtis Biography

Birthday: 1925-06-03
Place of Birth: The Bronx, New York City
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Wiki Biography: Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz, the eldest of three children to immigrant parents, Emanuel and Helen Schwartz. Curtis himself admits that while he had almost no formal education, he was a student of the "school of hard knocks", and learned from a young age that the only person who ever had his back was himself, so he learned how to take care of both himself and younger brother Julius. Curtis grew up in poverty, as his father Emanuel, who worked as a tailor, had the sole responsibility of providing for his entire family on his meager income. This led to constant bickering between Curtis' parents over money, and Curtis began to go to movies as a way of briefly escaping the constant worries of poverty and other family problems. The financial strain of raising two children on a meager income became so tough that in 1935 Curtis' parents decided that their children would have a better life under the care of the state, and briefly had Tony and his brother admitted to an orphanage. During this lonely time the only companion Curtis had was his brother Julius, and the two became inseparable as they struggled to get used to this new way of life. Weeks later Curtis' parents came back to reclaim custody of Tony and his brother , but by then Curtis had learned one of life's toughest lessons: the only person you can count on is yourself. In 1938, shortly before Tony had his Bar Mitzvah, tragedy struck when Tony lost the person most important to him, when his brother Julius was killed after being hit by a truck. After this tragedy, Curtis' parents became convinced that a formal education was the best way that Tony could avoid the same "never knowing where your next meal is coming from" life that they had. However, Tony rejected this as he felt that learning about literary classics and algebra wasn't going to advance him in life as much as some real hands-on life experience would. Tony was to find this real-life experience a few years later when he enlisted in the Navy in 1942. Tony spent the next three years getting the life experience he desired, as he did everything from working as a crewman on a submarine to honing his future craft as an actor by performing as a sailor in a stage play at the Navy Signalman School in Illinois. In 1945, Curtis was honorably discharged from the navy and when he realized that the GI Bill would allow him to go to acting school without paying for it, Tony now saw that his lifelong pipe-dream of being an actor might actually be achievable. Tony auditioned for the New York Dramatic Workshop, and after being accepted on the strength of his audition piece (A scene from "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in pantomime) Tony enrolled in early 1947. Tony then began to pay his dues by appearing in a slew on stage productions, including "Twelfth Night" and "Golden Boy". Tony then saw a small theatrical agent named 'Joyce Selznick', who was the niece of film producer David O. Selznick. After seeing his potential, Sleznick arranged an interview for Tony to see David O. Selznick at Universal Studios, where Tony was offered a seven- year contract. After changing his name to what he saw as an elegant, mysterious moniker "Tony Curtis" (named after the novel Anthony Adverse (1936) by Hervey Allen and a cousin of Tony's named Janush Kertiz), Tony began making a name for himself by appearing in small, offbeat roles in small-budget productions. Tony's first notable performance was a two minute role in Criss Cross (1949), with Burt Lancaster, in which he makes Lancaster jealous by dancing with Yvonne De Carlo. This off-beat role resulted in Curtis being typecast as heavies for the next few years, such as playing a gang-member in City Across the River (1949). Curtis continued to build up a show-reel by accepting any paying job, as he acted in a number of bit-part roles for the next few years. It wasn't until late 1949 that Tony finally got the chance to demonstrate his acting flair, as he was cast in an important role in an action-western, Sierra (1950). On the strength of his performance in this, Tony was finally cast in a big-budget movie, Winchester '73 (1950). While Tony only appears in this movie very briefly, it was a chance to for him to act alongside a Hollywood legend, James Stewart. As his career developed, Curtis wanted to act in movies that had some kind of social relevance, movies that would challenge audiences, so he began to appear in movies such as Spartacus (1960) and The Defiant Ones (1958). Tony was advised against appearing as the subordinate sidekick in Spartacus (1960), playing second fiddle to the equally famous Kirk Douglas. However, Curtis saw no problem with this as the had recently acted together in dual leading roles in The Vikings (1958).

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TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Houdini Harry Houdini
The Persuaders! Danny Wilde 1971 Action
McCoy McCoy 1975 - 1976
Operation Petticoat Lt. JG Nicholas Holden 1977 - 1979 Comedy
Sunday Night Clive Himself 1994 - 1994
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
Houdini Harry Houdini 1953 Drama
The Black Shield of Falworth 1954 Adventure, Romance
Trapeze 1956
Mister Cory 1957 Drama
Sweet Smell of Success Sidney Falco 1957 Drama
Kings Go Forth 1958 Drama, Action
The Vikings Eric 1958
The Defiant Ones John 'Joker' Jackson 1958 Crime, Drama, Thriller
The Perfect Furlough 1958
Operation Petticoat Lt. JG Nicholas Holden 1959 Comedy, Romance
Who Was That Lady? 1960 Comedy
The Great Impostor 1961 Comedy, Drama
Taras Bulba Andrei Bulba 1962 Action, Adventure, Drama
Captain Newman, M.D. 1963 Comedy, Drama
Goodbye Charlie 1964 Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
The Great Race The Great Leslie 1965 Action, Adventure, Comedy
Don't Make Waves Carlo Cofield 1967
The Manitou 1978
Sextette 1978 Comedy, Musical, Romance
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan 1978 Comedy, Sport
Insignificance The Senator 1985 Drama, Comedy
Club Life Hector 1986 Action, Drama, Thriller
The Last of Philip Banter Charles Foster 1988 Drama
Welcome to Germany Mr. Cornfield 1988 Drama
Lobster Man From Mars 1989
Midnight Mr. B 1989 Thriller
Walter & Carlo i Amerika Willy La Rouge 1989 Comedy
Prime Target Marietta Copella 1991 Crime, Drama
Center of the Web Stephen Moore 1992 Action, Crime, Drama
The Mummy Lives Aziru / Dr. Mohassid 1994 Horror
Naked in New York 1994 Comedy, Romance
The Immortals Dominic 1995 Crime, Drama, Action
The Celluloid Closet 1996 Documentary, History
Brittle Glory Jack Steele 1996 Comedy, Drama
Louis & Frank Lenny Star Springer 1998 Music, Comedy, Drama
Reflections of Evil 2002
Something About AJ Dr. Huckstepp 2002
50 Greatest Comedy Films 2006 Documentary
David & Fatima Mr. Schwartz 2008 Drama, Romance
The Last Tycoon 2012 0
Some Like It Hot Joe 2016