Originally dismissed as little more than a pretty boy, Tony Curtis overcame a series of bad reviews and undistinguished pictures to emerge as one of the most successful actors of his era, appearing in a number of the most popular and acclaimed films of the late '50s and early '60s. Born Bernard Schwartz on June 3, 1925, in New York City, he was the son of an impoverished Hungarian-born tailor, and was a member of an infamous area street gang by the age of 11. During World War II, Curtis served in the navy, and was injured while battling in Guam.
"He was a fine actor . . . I shall miss him," said British actor Roger Moore, who starred alongside Curtis in TV’s The Persuaders. “ A personal loss for me," actor Kirk Douglas said in a statement Thursday: "Tony and I were two Jewish kids from poverty-level families who could not believe our luck in making it as big Hollywood stars.... "I feel that he's the great farceur of his generation," said former Times movie reviewer Kevin Thomas, citing Curtis' many comedy roles. But, Thomas said, "he developed tremendous range" as an actor. Music background: SOME LIKE IT HOT sung by Marilyn Monroe.