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. After the war, he returned to New York to pursue a career in acting, touring the Borscht circuit before starring in a Greenwich Village revival of Golden Boy. There Curtis came to the attention of Universal, who signed him to a seven-year contract. In 1948, he made his film debut, unbilled, in the classic Robert Siodmak noir Criss Cross. A series of bit roles followed, and he slowly made his way up through the studio’s ranks.
While 1950’s… read more