Tony Curtis Personal Quotes: They gave me away as a prize once – a Win Tony Curtis For A Weekend competition. The woman who won was disappointed. She’d hoped for second prize – a new stove.
I ran around with a lump in my pants, chased all the girls. This is what I reflected on the screen. There wasn’t anything deeper or less deep than that.
What’s the secret to a long and happy life? Young women’s saliva!
[asked who the most attractive person he ever worked with was] I am.
I wouldn’t be seen dead with a woman old enough to be my wife.
I had to be careful where I went because I was a Jew, because I was young and because I was handsome. It made me wiry and erratic and paranoid, which is what I still am. Always on guard.
Hollywood… the most sensational merry-go-around ever built.
Comedy is the most honest way for an actor to earn his living. People would rather laugh than cry. The quickest way to change drama into comedy is simply to speed up the film.
Fame is another profession. I feel that I have two professions, I have the profession of being an actor and I have the profession of being famous.
I was 22 when I arrived in Hollywood in 1948. I had more action than Mount Vesuvius – men, women, animals! I loved it too. I participated where I wanted to and didn’t where I didn’t. I’ve always been open about it.
My father was a tailor. I used to deliver for him. I’d have to hold the clothes up high to keep them from dragging on the ground.
[on Marilyn Monroe] I’m in love with her now. I’ve loved her all these years.
[on Marilyn Monroe on the set of Some Like It Hot (1959)] I knew there was something disturbing her. For some inexplicable reason, she was going down the wrong path and no one knew it.
[about Spartacus (1960)] Kirk Douglas is tough, but Stanley Kubrick was tougher!
Well, on the one hand you could say I was tremendously blessed, on the other I was definitely cursed.
Look. I’m so privileged to be alive in this studio that happens to be mine. I’m 83 years old and I’m still a factor in this world, I still contribute wherever I go. It’s astounding. I could have been a politician or a brain surgeon. But I didn’t have an education, so there wasn’t anything I could do but get into the movies. And, boy, did I ever. To burst into the movies like I did. Isn’t that neat?
Early on, I decided I didn’t want to be known as a mere actor. I wanted to feel like a star. I wanted to get my footprints in Hollywood on the sidewalk, which I got. I wanted to be on the cover of all the magazines and go to parties in a limousine with a beautiful girl. I did all of that – and more. And I appreciate it. Every day I’m reminded of who I am. People stop me in the street all the time. Women love to see me – and I love to see them. I have an affinity for women, you know.
[about his many sexual dalliances] It was love. I was falling in love every day. I am completely in love with women. Every woman. I loved their company and there was always a chance you could kiss them. I found kissing a very appealing experience. I was just always hoping for that conquest, hoping for that physical affection . . . that ejaculation.
[about his schizophrenic mother’s influence on his childhood] Yes, yes, that had a lot to do with it. I got nothing from her. I got slapped around is what I got. But I liked to be with women. I never did it with dogs or elephants or men. Only with women.
[about the starlet system of 1950s Hollywood] These girls of 18 or 20 were fodder. All the guys at the studios, including myself, would feast on them, taking their sweetness. There were a lot of them. I don’t remember their names. Then they would go home and get married. Poor darlings. They came and went.
[about first meeting Marilyn Monroe] She was 19 and didn’t look anything like what she became. She had reddish-brown hair and her figure was not distinguished yet. Her bosoms weren’t what they were later and her legs were a little scrawny, but she was putting it all together. Don’t you see? Once she accepted she was a woman, then, look out, world. There was no guy that was safe. If she liked you, there was no man who could resist.
[on his ambitions] I even married Janet Leigh for my career. I could see the two of us could get more attention together. We had the paparazzi wherever we went, we were on the cover of all the movie magazines. It wasn’t enough for a man to be cute, he had to be connected to the right woman.
I was the best-looking kid in town. It’s not what you have but what you do with it that counts.
I became great friends with all my co-stars. With Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Jack Lemmon and Cary Grant . . . Cary Grant . . . Cary Grant. He could have picked anyone, but he allowed me the privilege to be in the movie with him. Jesus. To be in a movie with Cary Grant. Meeting him was the best thing that ever happened to me. He was the reason why I wanted to get into the movies – and that is all I ever wanted.
A lot of things that would have meant a lot to me were denied me by Hollywood. I didn’t speak properly. I spoke with a thick New York accent. Everyone knew my name was Schwartz – and Jews were not welcome. [I suffered resentment from the Hollywood establishment for marrying a “shiksa goddess” in Janet Leigh.] “Debbie Reynolds was the centre of gravity for a glitzy Caucasian crowd, and I could tell they didn’t appreciate me. They didn’t pick on you, they just ignored you. I couldn’t understand it.
[about Some Like It Hot (1959)] It was perfect. Great dialogue. Crisp acting. Billy Wilder was brilliant, and Jack Lemmon and I always had a great time together; even though we were from different backgrounds – he was Harvard-educated, very intelligent and urbane. We balanced each other out.
It’s rather nice not to be waiting for a script to come through the door, and even if it did, I would turn it down.
[about his sixth wife Jillie] She’s the only one who didn’t want me to change after I married her.
[on finally forgiving his mother long after she died] We could have all turned out like her. She cleaned houses in Hungary from when she was six or seven. She had no opportunities.
[on what he misses] I miss a pale-green Buick convertible with Dynaflow drive. I miss a little beach house in Malibu with the waves lapping on the beach. [This was during his first months in Hollywood, when he would bring then-unknown Marilyn Monroe back to his beach house]
On living in the present: So far so good, and I’m ready for more. My art will give me more. There’ll be more shows, and this book will open things up for me again. There’s still so much to discover. So I have to take good care of myself so you don’t find me in the gutter.
I realized if I could [have sex with] a girl . . . a woman has accepted me. The main force in me was to be accepted by others. Not education, not money in my pocket, nothing except to be accepted by a girl.
[in 2008] I’m just wondering how many more years I have. I don’t have 20. I don’t have 15. How many years do I have? I don’t know, but I plan to reinvent myself as an 84-year-old, as an 85-year-old man who can do anything and everything.
[on Brokeback Mountain (2005)] This picture is not as important as we make it. It’s nothing unique. The only thing unique about it is they put it on the screen. And they make ’em gay cowboys. ‘Howard Hughes (I)’ and John Wayne wouldn’t like it.
[on his troubled relationship with daughter Jamie Lee Curtis] I have a feeling she wanted to teach me a lesson for abandoning her mother and her. But I couldn’t be with Janet Leigh anymore. She was disappearing into her own madnesses.
[on dying] I may have them take my ashes and spread them all over Las Vegas!
[on his relationship with his mother] I got nothing from her. I got slapped around is what I got.
[on his 1951 marriage to first wife Janet Leigh] I even married Janet for my career. I could see the two of us could get more attention together. We had the paparazzi wherever we went, we were on the cover of all the movie magazines. It wasn’t enough for a man to be cute, he had to be connected to the right woman…What better way to get famous?
[on the long-running feud with daughter Jamie Lee Curtis] What am I going to do? God bless her, I wish her the best. If she can’t forgive me, then get another father.
I just wanted to be treated like anybody else. There was a lot of opposition to me during the early years of movies. It had an effect on me. I don’t feel like I got the movies I should’ve gotten. I felt I deserved more than that the industry had given me. I felt I should have been considered more, with a little more respect from the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy. I don’t feel like I contributed what I wanted to contribute in the movies.
[on Marilyn Monroe] You could tell she’d already been battered by life, and I found that she’d been in an orphanage, as I had, and that her mother was also schizophrenic. I loved her. And she loved me, but we both wanted to be in the movies, and that meant everything.
[on Cary Grant] The greatest movie actor of all time.
[on today’s actors, starting with Brad Pitt] That Pitt fellow – what’s his name? He hasn’t got it. Now, Robert Downey Jr. – I think he might have something.
One of the big reasons I started using cocaine was that I was told it was great for sex. It didn’t make me superhuman in the longevity department, but it certainly did make my sexual experiences more intense.