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Movie Heartthrob Tony Curtis Dies At 85

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Movie Heartthrob Tony Curtis Dies At 85

Remembrances

Movie Heartthrob Tony Curtis Dies At 85

Movie Heartthrob Tony Curtis Dies At 85

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/130234091/130232847" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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He starred in movies like Some Like It Hot and The Defiant Ones. Actor Tony Curtis is dead at the age of 85. The coroner in Clark County, Nevada, says Curtis died Wednesday night at his Las Vegas area home of cardiac arrest.

ARI SHAPIRO, host:

And here in the U.S., Actor Tony Curtis has died at the age of 85. He was in more than 100 films over the course of his career, ranging from hard edge dramas to classic comedies. His breakout role came in 1958 in "The Defiant Ones" with Sidney Poitier. The film is about two escaped convicts shackled together. In this clip they're arguing over which direction they should go.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Defiant Ones")

Mr. SIDNEY POITIER (Actor): (As Noah Cullen) How long you been in jail?

Mr. TONY CURTIS (Actor): As John "Joker" Jackson): Eight years.

Mr. POITIER: Then how do you know the train's still running.

Mr. CURTIS: I don't know.

Mr. POITIER: You don't know. You're asking me to go 60 miles with you and you don't even know. What are you inviting me on - a long walk off a short pier and I'm going to come up with a wet head? Nothing doing. Now, come on.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Tony Curtis received an Oscar nomination for that role. And one year later he starred with Jack Lemon in a very different movie, also with Marilyn Monroe, the comedy "Some Like It Hot." At the end of his long career, Tony Curtis told NPR that he enjoyed being one of Hollywood's elder statesmen.

Mr. CURTIS: (As himself) I'm now giving into some of the joys that I've experienced in my lifetime, you know. I'm a painter. I write poetry. I'm invited to different places to speak on movies, and I just get up and talk to them like I'm talking to you. I don't have to research everything. I am the research.

SHAPIRO: Curtis joined the Navy as a teenager. And the G.I. Bill took him through acting school. A talent scout spotted him, and the man who would become one of the best-known actors of his time went off to Hollywood on a contract that paid $75 a week.

(Soundbite of music)

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