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September 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Actor Tony Curtis has died of cardiac arrest in Las Vegas at age 85. He was nominated for an Oscar for his work opposite Sidney Poitier in Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones (1958), but he is probably best remembered for his role in Billy Wilder’s comedy classic Some Like It Hot (1959) with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. Although he was featured as a Hollywood pretty-boy leading man in his early films, often appearing in swashbucklers and cast-of-thousands epics, he became a journeyman actor in midlife, accepting jobs when they were offered — and they were offered often; his IMDb credits number 130. But his stage career was shortlived. In 1979, he was cast in Neil Simon’s I Ought to Be in Pictures, working dutifully to memorize his lines, a difficult task for a movie actor used to having to learn only a few words for a short scene. The play opened in Los Angeles for previews, but Curtis hadn’t anticipated that after the previews there would be the necessity for rewrites. “What do you mean, rewrites?” he said to Simon. “I thought this was the play. I thought what I learned was the play we were going to do!” He walked out after the first act of a matinee performance.