When Tony Curtis died last week at 85, I wondered whose picture was being shown. I just didn’t recognize him. He’d put on many pounds, his face had aged alot and he’d lost his hair. Of course I was frightened for a moment that growing older could look like that for me…although I am fighting it with a better diet, more exercise and no drugs. But what really made me want to include his pictures on this site was his attitude in later years. It reminds me of my own negativity, when I am playing “loser” tennis, and also of others who feel they “deserve” a better life, more skills, or greater talent.
We all just have what we have, and can’t do much to change our capabilities or physical aptitudes. We CAN learn new things and improve the gifts we have. Most importantly, we can modify our view of the world and how we react to the bad breaks that fall on us all. But we’re not “entitled” to anything.
Here are excerpts from an article about Tony’s crappy views at the end:
…Curtis spent his dotage, looking back with equal measures of wistfulness, pride and regret on the course his life had taken. A New York street tough originally known as Bernard Schwartz, he rose from domestic abuse and poverty to become a Hollywood pretty boy before becoming a burnout, a drug addict and an outcast seeking some form of redemption and reconciliation.
“I don’t feel like I got the movies I should’ve gotten,” Tony said in a 2008 interview.
“I don’t know why I’m so dissatisfied,” confided the star of “Some Like It Hot,” “Spartacus,” “The Defiant Ones” and another 120 films and an artist with work in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “What am I looking for? What am I chasing?”
It’s hard to know. Curtis enjoyed one of those American lives that most would envy. He was a matinee idol who appeared in films with his own idols, from Burt Lancaster to Cary Grant; who enjoyed wild dalliances with the world’s most lusted-after women; who had genuine friendships with a list of Hollywood and Washington royalty…
And yet none of that seemed to provide him much comfort. He felt so frustrated by Hollywood that he retired to Las Vegas, where he and sixth wife Jill lived and where she founded a wild horse rescue. He was openly saddened that he did not transition to playing older, wiser parts, the way Paul Newman and Marlon Brando did. He earned just one Oscar nomination in his career, for “The Defiant Ones,” and complained that he had to share that honor with co-star Sidney Poitier, who was also nominated.
“I don’t feel like I got the movies I should’ve gotten,” Curtis said in 2008. “I felt I deserved more than 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.”