Actor Tony Curtis, who was known for his work in Some Like It Hot and The Defiant Ones, passed away in his Las Vegas area home Wednesday evening. He went into cardiac arrest and died at 9:25 p.m. He was 85 years old.
Starting out as an on-screen heartthrob, Curtis worked relentlessly to transform himself into a respected character actor. He proved himself with the 1957 show biz tale Sweet Smell of Success. Curtis was a hard worker with an acting career spanning 60 years.
Tony Curtis had a tumultuous personal life. His first wife was Psycho actress Janet Leigh, and the couple had two daughters together — Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis (both actresses) — but divorced in 1963. He had 4 other children and 3 other wives. Sadly, his son Nicholas Curtis died of a heroin overdose in 1994 at age 23.
Like many Hollywood stars, Tony Curtis battled drug and alcohol addiction. In his later years, Curtis overcame these obstacles and returned to the spotlight, but this time with gray hair. At age 60, he said,
I’m not ready to settle down like an elderly Jewish gentleman sitting on a bench and leaning on a cane. I’ve got a helluva lot of living to do.
In addition to acting, Tony Curtis was a writer and painter. He will be missed.