Tony Curtis, An Elevator Love Tale
Tony Curtis passed away on September 29, 2010, making yesterday the 6th anniversary of his death. He was a terrific actor and many of his films comprised the backdrop to my childhood.
“Some Like It Hot” was filmed right here in San Diego, in 1959, at the Hotel Del Coronado, about twenty minutes from where I live. Tony Curtis co-starred with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. In 1960, Stanley Kubrick directed “Spartacus,” which featured some of the best actors of that time – Peter Ustinov, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons. Tony Curtis played Antoninus. The film won four Academy Awards.
Five years later came “The Great Race” focusing in on a spectacular land race from New York to Paris in the early 20th century. Tony Curtis plays the dashing hero in white, The Great Leslie. Jack Lemmon plays the dastardly, black-suited Professor Fate. Peter Falk and a beautiful, young Natalie Wood also star in this film.
Elevator to the Penthouse
In those days, Mark and I attended annual video software shows to find new distributors for our home videos, and to shmooze with our friends in the business.
When Tony Curtis stepped into the elevator with Mark and me, his regal bearing was quite striking. He wore an ascot and had a beautiful woman hanging on each arm. Mark was bold enough to address him. “Mr. Curtis,” he said, “I really have enjoyed most all of your movies.”
Tony paused for the perfect amount of time before replying, “Sir, you have me at a disadvantage, for I have never seen any of YOUR movies.”
Mark grinned and said, “Touche, Mr. Curtis!”
Just then, of course, the elevator car came to a stop and the doors rushed open. Mr. Curtis and his entourage stepped into the teeming cocktail party, and were immediately enveloped by martini-toting, buxom Penthouse girls, thus ending our Tony Curtis moment.
But oh, what a moment it was.