From The London Times:
The toupee is gone. So, too, are four wives and most of his nine lives, along with the screen legends who conspired with Tony Curtis to make perhaps the most brilliant comedy film ever. At 82, the only surviving star of Some Like It Hot is still defiantly rattling his wheelchair and spilling salacious details about Hollywood’s golden era. Curtis, in London last week to launch an exhibition of his oil paintings at Harrods, the department store, talked about his fight with drugs and his passionate affair with Marilyn Monroe years before they were cast in the Billy Wilder comedy that would make them both cinema immortals.
The picture that emerges is of a man tormented throughout his career – by taunts about his pretty-boy looks, by Hollywood’s reluctance to recognise his achievements, by his failed relationships, fading allure and the years lost to cocaine. From the outset he felt he was destined for greatness – “From the way people looked at me, I knew it” – but a US Navy veterans’ website reveals that it could have been an altogether different destiny for the man born Bernard Schwartz.
In 1943 Signalman 3rd class Schwartz, the son of poor Hungarian Jewish immigrants, began the happiest period of his life serving aboard the USS Proteus. He was fascinated by submarines, thanks in part to watching Cary Grant peer through a periscope in Destination Tokyo. As a youngster he built boats out of broom handles, powered by tin propellers and elastic bands, which he launched on a park pond in east Manhattan.