Fans, Friends, Family Remember Tony Curtis

The 85-year-old Oscar-nominated actor died Wednesday in Henderson, Nev.

Monday, Oct 4, 2010  |  Updated 2:48 PM PDT
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NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 11: Grand Marshall Tony Curtis salutes during the annual Veterans Day parade November 11, 2009 in New York City. The nation's largest Veterans Day parade featuring 20,000 participants in New York is celebrating its 90th anniversary. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tony Curtis

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Wife: Tony Was "Once-in-a-Lifetime Man"

Tony Curtis' wife, Jill, speaks at a funeral service for her late husband held in Las Vegas.

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At a funeral service for Tony Curtis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger remembers how the legendary actor always encouraged him even during the tough times.
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Celebrities, fans, friends and family members said goodbye Monday to Tony Curtis.

The public funeral service in Las Vegas included a film tribute to the actor's diverse career, The crowd laughed as an animated Curtis appeared in a scene from the television series "The Flintstones" and sparred with actor Kirk Douglas in "Spartacus."

Jamie Lee Curtis, Curtis' daughter from his first marriage with actress Janet Leigh, was among family members who attended the service. Jamie Lee Curtis said he was "a little mashugana," using the Yiddish word for crazy, but always full of life.

"All of us got something from him. I, of course, got his desperate need for attention," she todl the crowd of about 400.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recalled Tony Curtis as a generous mentor who encouraged his budding Hollywood career when others told him his foreign accent and name were too much of a hurdle.

"'You are going to make it,'" Schwarzenegger recalled Tony Curtis telling him. "Don't pay any attention to those guys. I heard the same thing when I came here."

Schwarzenegger said Tony Curtis refused to feel old.

"I mean, who has the guts to take off their clothes at the age of 80?" Schwarzenegger said, referring to Tony Curtis posing naked for a Vanity Fair photo shoot in 2005.

Seven colorful paintings by Curtis stood on easels while a photo of the young, dark-haired actor was projected on a screen.

Curtis' wife, Jill Curtis, eulogized her husband of 16 years. The hourlong funeral will be followed by burial and then a reception for 200 invited guests at the Luxor hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, actor Kirk Douglas and singer Phyllis McGuire are among seven honorary pallbearers.

The 85-year-old Oscar-nominated actor who starred in such films as "The Defiant Ones," "Spartacus" and "Some Like It Hot" died Wednesday at his home in Henderson after suffering cardiac arrest.

Known for shifting from a pigeonholed pretty boy in the late 1940s and early 1950s to a serious actor, Curtis reshaped himself over decades of work and make himself impossible to typecast. The transformation was completed in 1957's "Sweet Smell of Success," in which he played a sleazy press agent who is manipulated by a ruthless newspaper columnist (Burt Lancaster).

In person, Kilroy said, Curtis loved giving friends and fans extra touches that made their face-to-face moments more memorable.
 

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