Tony Curtis was a true icon of the golden age of Hollywood, gracing the silver screen with his magnetic charm and good looks. With a career that spanned over six decades, Curtis starred in more than 100 films, leaving an indelible mark on the world of cinema. Now, we’ll take a closer look at his early life, and examine the impressive net worth he accumulated throughout his storied career.
Net Worth: $60 Million
Date of Birth: Jun 3, 1925
Place of Birth: Bronx, New York
Profession: Actor, Painter
Tony Curtis Early Life
Born on June 3, 1925, in the Bronx, New York, Tony Curtis was the son of Hungarian-Jewish immigrants Emanuel Schwartz and Helen Klein. Named Bernard Schwartz at birth, Curtis faced a difficult upbringing marked by poverty, his parents’ struggles to make ends meet, and a challenging relationship with his father. The family lived in a cramped, one-room apartment where Curtis and his two brothers slept on the floor.
Despite these hardships, Curtis discovered his passion for acting during his time at Seward Park High School, where he participated in school plays. After serving in the US Navy during World War II, Curtis took advantage of the GI Bill to study acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in Manhattan. It was here that his talent caught the eye of a talent scout from Universal Pictures, ultimately leading to a contract with the studio.
In 1949, Curtis made his film debut in “Criss Cross,” adopting the stage name “Tony Curtis” and quickly establishing himself as a leading man in Hollywood. With his striking good looks and undeniable charisma, Curtis became a household name throughout the 1950s and 1960s, starring in a wide range of films that showcased his versatility as an actor.
Tony Curtis Personal Life
Tony Curtis’ personal life was as colorful as his on-screen roles. He married six times, with his first wife being the equally famous actress Janet Leigh, with whom he had two daughters, Kelly and Jamie Lee Curtis. Jamie Lee followed in her parents’ footsteps and has enjoyed a successful acting career of her own. Although Curtis and Leigh divorced in 1962, they remained on good terms for the rest of their lives.
Curtis’ subsequent marriages included Leslie Allen, Andrea Savio, Lisa Deutsch, Jill Vandenberg, and, finally, Eileen Davidson. His love life often made headlines, as did his friendships with other Hollywood icons like Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and Kirk Douglas. Despite his many relationships, Curtis remained devoted to his children and grandchildren and often spoke of the importance of family in his life.
Tony Curtis Career
Tony Curtis’ career was marked by his ability to take on a variety of roles, demonstrating his range and adaptability as an actor. In the 1960s, he continued to work on big-budget films such as “Spartacus” (1960), where he co-starred alongside Kirk Douglas, and “The Great Race” (1965), where he played the dashing hero, The Great Leslie. However, he also ventured into more dramatic roles, including “The Boston Strangler” (1968), where he portrayed the infamous serial killer Albert DeSalvo.
As the 1970s arrived, Curtis transitioned to television, starring in the series “The Persuaders!” alongside Roger Moore. The show, which aired from 1971 to 1972, featured the duo as playboy crime-fighters and was popular in Europe, further extending Curtis’ global reach.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Curtis took on a variety of roles in both film and television, as well as appearing on stage in productions such as “Some Like It Hot: The Musical” and “The Odd Couple.” Although his career slowed down in his later years, Curtis never lost his passion for acting.
In addition to his work in front of the camera, Curtis was a vocal advocate for the arts and was involved in various charitable endeavors. He co-founded the Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture, which aimed to preserve and promote Hungarian Jewish culture, and was an active supporter of the Shiloh Horse Rescue, a charity founded by his wife Jill Vandenberg that rescues and rehabilitates abused and neglected horses.
Tony Curtis Net Worth
Over the course of his career, Tony Curtis built an impressive net worth, estimated to be around $60 million at the time of his death in 2010. This figure is a testament to his success in the film industry, as well as his savvy business ventures and investments.
Curtis’ rise to fame began in earnest when he starred in 1951’s “The Prince Who Was a Thief,” a swashbuckling adventure that solidified his status as a leading man. He went on to star in other box office hits like “Houdini” (1953), “Trapeze” (1956), and “The Defiant Ones” (1958), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
His most iconic role, however, came in 1959 when he starred alongside Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon in “Some Like It Hot,” a film now considered a classic. This role not only showcased Curtis’ comedic timing but also his impressive range, as he played a character impersonating a woman to escape the mob. The film’s success, both critically and commercially, cemented Curtis’ place in Hollywood history.
In addition to his film career, Curtis also made smart investments in real estate and art. He collected works by notable artists like Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso, which further contributed to his substantial net worth. Curtis was also an accomplished painter himself, with his artwork selling for thousands of dollars in galleries around the world.
In his later years, Curtis continued to work in film, television, and theater, even after suffering from health issues. His final film role came in 2008 with “David & Fatima,” a testament to his dedication to his craft.