Actor. A handsome leading man, he was a top box office attraction during the 1950s and 1960s. Born Bernard Schwartz, his father was a tailor who immigrated from Hungary; he was brought up in poverty in a tough Bronx neighborhood. He developed an interest in acting after visiting a neighborhood settlement house, and following service in the United States Navy during World War II, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and studied at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research (New York City). He began his professional career touring with a stock company in the "Borscht Circuit," and appeared in New York-area stage productions. He would be spotted by a Hollywood talent scout and signed to a contract with Universal-International Pictures, originally performing under the names James Curtis and Anthony Curtis, finally settling on Tony Curtis. Initially, he found bit parts in the pictures "City Across the River" (1949) and "Francis" (1950), but more substantial roles were to be had in "Houdini" (1953), "Trapeze" (1956), "The Sweet Smell of Success" (1957) and "The Vikings" (1957). He received an Oscar nomination playing an escaped prisoner chained to Sidney Poitier in the Stanley Kramer picture "The Defiant Ones" (1958), and performed what perhaps may be his best remembered role as a female impersonator with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's "Some Like it Hot" (1959). Further memorable films include "Operation Petticoat" (1959), "The Rat Race" (1960), "Spartacus" (1960), "The Great Impostor" (1961), "Goodbye Charlie" (1964), "The Great Race" (1965) and "The Boston Strangler" (1968). He had featured roles in the TV programs "The Persuaders" (1971 to 1972), "McCoy" (1975 to 1976) and a recurring part in series "Vega$" (1978 to 1981). His film career waned during the 1970s, but he experienced a resurgence with the TV-Movies "The Scarlett O'Hara War" (1980, for which he earned an Emmy Award nomination) and "Mafia Princess" (1986). He was formerly married to actress Janet Leigh and was the father of actresses Kelly and Jamie Lee Curtis. In addition to acting, Curtis was a gifted painter. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Bio by: C.S.
"And he was always quietly arrayed
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said, "Good Morning", and he glittered when he walked."