Rest in Peace
I was very sad to hear of the passing of Tony Curtis last week. Another loss from an ever-dwindling pool of movie stars of the Golden Age. I was, however, further saddened when I read an interview with him from a few years back in which he lamented the fact that he’d not done the sort of important work he felt he should have during his career, and that he felt the studios had never given him his due in casting him in such films. I found this rather sad for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because it smacks of a certain sense of entitlement, which is an unappealing trait. I understand that he came from a time when the studios would groom, guide, and essentially have total control over your career, but I wonder how hard he really tried to get those weightier roles that he thought should have been his. Then, as now, big names still had to fight for certain roles, no matter how popular they were at the box office. If they weren’t considered right for the part they had to prove it. And so I couldn’t help wondering, as he looked back on his life with so much regret, how vigorously he actually went after those parts, and whether his own insecurities in his abilities had held him back in that regard.
I also felt it unfortunate that he could look back on a career like his and not find the pride and sense of accomplishment in what he had done, only the disappointment in what he hadn’t. “Sweet Smell of Success,’ ‘The Defiant Ones,’ ‘Spartacus,’ ‘The Great Race,’ and of course ‘Some Like it Hot’ are terrific films that any actor should be extremely proud to have been a part of.
Anyway, rest in peace, Tony Curtis…and thank you.