Tony Curtis born Bernard Schwartz died on September 29, 2010 at the age of 85, he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), he was hospitalized in Las Vegas after suffering an asthma attack during a book-signing engagement in Henderson, Nevada, where he lived.
He was an American film actor whose career spanned six decades, but had his greatest popularity during the 1950s and early 1960s.
He acted in more than 100 films in roles covering a wide range of genres, from light comedy to serious drama.
Although his early film roles was partly the result of his good looks, by the latter half of the 1950s he became a notable and strong screen presence.
He began proving himself to be a fine dramatic actor, having the range to act in numerous dramatic and comedy roles.
In his earliest parts he acted in a string of mediocre films, including swashbucklers, westerns, light comedies, sports films, and a musical.
However, by the time he starred in Houdini (1953) with his wife Janet Leigh, “his first clear success,” notes critic David Thomson, his acting had progressed immensely.
Born Bernard Schwartz on June 3, 1925, in the Bronx, New York, to Helen (née Klein) and Emanuel Schwartz.
His parents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants: his father was born in Ópályi, near Mátészalka, and his mother was a native of Nagymihály (contemporary Michalovce, Slovakia); she later said she arrived in the US from Losonc (Lučenec).
He did not learn English until he was five or six, postponing his schooling. His father was a tailor and the family lived in the back of the shop—his parents in one corner and Curtis and his brothers Julius and Robert in another.
When Curtis was eight, he and his brother Julius were placed in an orphanage for a month because their parents could not afford to feed them.
Four years later, Julius was struck and killed by a truck.
Curtis joined a neighborhood gang whose main crimes were playing hooky from school and minor pilfering at the local dime store.
When Curtis was 11, a friendly neighbor saved him from what he felt would have led to a life of delinquency by sending him to a Boy Scout camp, where he was able to work off his energy and settle down.
He attended Seward Park High School.