I was making a picture, 'The Rat Race' at Paramount, and Elvis was on the lot. He had these big trailers, about a hundred feet long. I liked to get out, put on a sweater and shorts and walk around on the back lot, it was a lot of fun. I'd look at the sets and think where I remembered that from. I was immersed in movies, I just love them, and look at what a break they gave me. Made me a fortune. It's fabulous. So I walked by his trailer, the door opened, I looked up, and there was Elvis. And he grabs me and pulls me in. And he said, 'Mr Curtis, I want you to know what a fan I am. I used to watch your movies in Tennessee'. And I said, 'Please, don't call me Mr Curtis'. And this handsome kid looks at me and said, 'So what do you want me to call you?' And I said, 'Just call me Tony'. And I said, 'So what do I call you?' And he said, 'Mr Presley'. Bam, was he funny. We had a great time together.
Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz, in the Bronx, New York, in 1925, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrant parents (from M�t�szalka, Szatm�r, Hungary) Emanuel and Helen Schwartz. His father was a tailor who had left his home country to find a new life in the United States. In the early days the family lived in the back of his father's shop, parents in one corner and Curtis and his brothers Julius and Robert in another.
Curtis's screen debut came unaccredited in the Criss Cross playing a rumba dancer. Later, he cemented his reputation with breakout performances such as in the role of the scheming press agent Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success with Burt Lancaster (who also starred in Criss Cross) and an Oscar-nominated performance as a bigoted escaped convict chained to Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones.
He was so popular during the 1950s as a screen hunk that Elvis Presley copied his on-screen ducktail hairstyle.
Posted: 18th. May 2008