Tony Curtis has died at the age of 85. If he’d left behind no legacy other than having given life to his gorgeous and talented daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, the world would still be in his debt. But the man left us so much more than that.
His good looks often overshadowed his skills as an actor, but the guy’s thespian versatility was undeniable. He was equally adept in handling laugh riots (Some Like It Hot), epic costume dramas (Spartacus) or thoughtful social commentary pieces (The Defiant Ones). But it was in Sweet Smell of Success that Tony really made his mark. Playing hungry press agent Sidney Falco, Tony gave the performance of a lifetime, which, if you haven’t seen, you should hang your head in shame, stop reading this immediately and go find the thing on Netflix or Amazon. Seriously, do it now. We’ll wait.
The character of Sidney Falco wasn’t depicted as a gambler in the traditional sense, but he was no stranger to taking risks, which [MILD SPOILER ALERT] ultimately cost him more than he bargained for. But there’s one line in particular in which Sidney sums up the ‘play hard’ ethos with which most gamblers could identify: “From now on, the best of everything is good enough for me.”
Calvin Ayre has a tattoo of some Asian script that translates as ‘Every man dies, but not every man really lives.’ Tony Curtis lived. And thanks to the magic of celluloid, we can celebrate the spirit of his well-lived life in perpetuity. Thanks, Tony.