Last night, one of our greatest actors – Tony Curtis – passed away. I was shocked. I know, he was 85, he lived a good life, but I just always thought that the world would have Tony Curtis in it.
I never met Mr. Curtis, but after watching his movies and seeing interviews with him, I felt like I knew him. I guess, a lot of people feel as if their know their favorite star. Strange, isn’t it?
I remember years ago watching a show about homosexuals in the movies. At the time I was struggling to come out and the issues surrounding all of that and there was Tony Curtis on this show, talking about his role in Spartacus. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve never seen the movie.
Anyway, he was talking about how his character – a slave – was bathing another character – a master – in this pool of water and how the conversation between the two characters went. The master was prying to see if the slave was or leaned to being a homosexual. The memory is a little vague. I haven’t been able to find the show, but I remember Mr. Curtis saying about his character, “I always admired him for that.” I can still hear the voice in my head.
There was something about that interview that just struck me that if I came out to Tony Curtis, there wouldn’t be any problems. He’d tap me on my head and tell me, in that great voice of his, that it would be okay. I have no idea why I have this image of him, I just do. The interview made me feel better during a rough patch and that’s probably why this image of Tony Curtis as a great father resonates with me. Even now, as I know, he probably wasn’t the world’s greatest dad.
I met Jamie Lee Curtis years ago, a little while after her mother – Janet Leigh – passed away. I told her quietly how sorry I was to hear about her mom. She patted my arm and gave me a smile, while I walked away. I wish I could tell her that today – how sorry I am that she’s lost her father. It saddens me, I don’t know why, to think that Jamie Lee Curtis is an orphan. Maybe, it’s because she reminds me of my friend, Linda, someone with whom I’ve lost touch.
Anyway, Jamie Lee, if you’re reading this, I’m truly sorry about your dad.
And, to Mr. Curtis, thanks for the movies, the paintings, the books. You will be truly missed – you were (and are) one of our greats.