Women Who Managed To Win Tony Curtis' Heart And The One Who Won His Fortune
Tony Curtis became known for his roles in hit movies like “Sweet Smell of Success,” “Some Like It Hot,” and “Spartacus.” But his private life equally made headlines as one marriage after another failed. Tony was born Bernard Schwartz on June 3, 1925, to a poor Jewish immigrant family in New York. His father was a tailor, and his mother was schizophrenic. He was the first of his three boys. His younger brothers were Julius and Roberts. When Curtis turned 8, he and his brother, Julius were placed in an orphanage home because their parents couldn't afford to take care of them.
Four years after that, Julius was killed, and that pushed Cutis to join a gang. He soon became a juvenile delinquent and was almost thrown into prison, until help came in the form of a neighbor. The neighbor sent him to the Boy Scout, and that was when Curti began finding his life purpose. As a result, Curtis joined the U.S Navy as a submariner in the Pacific Ocean for two years. There are more intriguing details of Tony's life below.
TONY CURTIS: EARLY CAREER
At the young age of 23, Tony had his first Hollywood exposure when he met Jack Warner on a plane to California. Soon afterward, he signed a deal with Universal Pictures and changed his birth name to Anthony Curtis. His first screen debut was in 1949 in the movie 'Criss Cross.' He played the role of a rumba dancer.
Tony starred in several other movies afterward, but he didn't get his major break until 1951 when he was granted the major role in 'The Prince Who Was a Thief.' This made Tony established as a Hollywood actor. Curtis' career spanned over six decades, and he acted in more than a 100 films in his lifetime. At the age of 85, Curtis passed away from cardiac arrest after battling cirrhosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
TONY'S FIRST MARRIAGE
In the span of sixty years, Tony got married six times and divorced five. His first marriage to “Psycho” actress Janet Leigh came as a spur of the moment affair on June 4, 1951, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Janet gave birth to their first daughter, Kelly in 1956, followed by Jamie Lee in 1958.
The couple split in 1962, and Janet blamed their failed marriage on “outside problems,” which had a lot to do with Tony’s affair with Marilyn Monroe. Even though they had previously met, Marilyn and Tony worked together on the film “Some Like It Hot.”
“I loved the idea of working with Marilyn in a movie,” Tony said. “My marriage was in a bad state and I had no idea what hers was like but I had this insane idea that maybe something would happen between us while we were making the movie.”
The chemistry they experienced the first time around, led to them sleeping together with Marilyn pleading with Tony to leave Janet and marry her instead. “She told me she loved me and more than anything wanted to have babies with me. That made me feel awkward,” Tony recalled. “My wife was expecting our second child. It wasn’t a marriage I wanted to stay in, but I didn’t want to get divorced at that time because I thought that was the wrong thing to do. But Marilyn wanted to divorce Arthur Miller if I divorced Janet.”
Soon after their passionate night together, Arthur Miller confirmed newspaper claims that Marylin Monroe is pregnant. While Marilyn became desperate to leave Arthur, Tony kept his distance until reports came in December 1958 that she had a miscarriage, three weeks before the birth of Jamie Lee.
HIS OTHER FAILED MARRIAGES
With Tony’s marriage to Janet over in 1962, he married the Golden Globe-winning actress, Christine Maria Kaufmann the following year. Even though their marriage only lasted five years, they also had two daughters, Allegra and Alexandra. In 1986, Tony married his third wife and actress known for her roles in “The Last Tycoon” and “The Mike Douglas Show,” Leslie Allen. With her, Tony had two sons before their divorce in 1982. This time almost two years passed before Tony married again. His fourth marriage to the actress Andrea Savio happened in 1984, but their union ended eight years later. The fifth time around Tony married Lisa Deutsch, a lawyer nearly forty years his junior. However, their marriage in 1993 only lasted 18 months before Tony filed for divorce.
THE SIXTH TIME WAS A CHARM FOR TONY
A few years later Tony met the model Jill Vandenburg at a restaurant. Despite their 42 year age difference, the couple wed in 1998 and remained together until Tony’s death on September 29, 2010. At the age of 85, Tony suffered a fatal heart attack in the couple’s Las Vegas home. During a statement shortly after his death, Jill said, “He died peacefully here, surrounded by those who love him and have been caring for him.”
Shortly before his death, Tony returned home after being hospitalized several times for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The reading of Tony’s will delivered a shock to his children. A few months before he died, Tony drew up a new final testament and cut out all his children. Even though Tony stated that he intentionally disinherited them, he gave no reason. Months after his death, the reason why Tony chose to leave his entire estate to Jill surfaced when a source close to the family spoke out for the first time.
HIS LAST DAYS
By the 70's Curtis was struggling with addiction marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol. He was arrested at Heathrow airport for drug possession and in 1984 was rushed to the hospital suffering from advanced cirrhosis from his alcohol abuse. Eventually, he checked himself into the famous rehabilitation center the Betty Ford clinic and promised to battle through his addiction.
Tony Curtis sadly passed away on September 30, 2010, in Henderson Nevada at the age of 85. After struggling with heart issues, which included a heart bypass in 1994, he eventually died from cardiac arrest. He was survived by five children and seven grandchildren. His remains were interred at Palm Memorial Park Cemetery. Five months before his death Tony redid his will and disinherited all his children, instead, he left everything to his wife Jill Vandenberg.
WERE HIS KIDS ANGRY WITH HIM?
Tony had four daughters, Jamie Lee, Alexandra, Allegra and Kelly who followed in his footsteps and became actresses. He also had two sons; Nicholas who was an artist tragically died after having a heroin overdose in 1994 and Ben who lives his life out of the spotlight. Jamie Lee spoke on The Talk a month after her father passed away, the actress acknowledged that he provided for his family (when they needed it) but said he was not a present father:
"Children, as we all know, are complicated and messy. He was not a father and he was not interested in being a father."