In 1957’s “Sweet Smell of Success”, the meandering drama about the lure of success and the ignominious aggression of defeat, “The Bronx Boy” had the role of a sleazy press agent who slips some joints into an innocent musician’s poket, setting him up for an arrest. But in real life, the star might have kept theWeed for himself.
More than 150 films, a thousand lovers, five wives, a cruel mother, a son killed by heroin, and daughter he fears does not love him. If you have lived the life “The Bronx Boy” had, and lived it to the age of 85, you need survival strategies. Its been a life of legendary highs starring roles, women, money and drug-addled lows.
He had a cornucopia of living, he was a painter, he was an Author, he was a father and a lover, he had a lot of girlfriends, he got six children, he got a big living experience. If the movies were the only thing he lived for, he would be devastated. He was always an intelligent person, but he was very erratic in his emotional behaviour, he said:
it’s taken my recovery and my search of myself to examine and open it all out to the sun and weed out all those little worms that were wiggling inside of me. You can’t weed it all out because we’re only human. Nobody’s perfect.
In 1933, during the economic struggles of the “Great Depression”, Curtis’s parents could no longer care for the boys financially. Curtis was placed in a state institution, where he was frequently involved in conflicts with anti-Semitic youngsters. Shaken by the loss, he was determined to make a better life for himself and began attending “Seward Park High School”.
After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in World War II aboard the submarine U.S.S. Proteus. Following his honorable discharge from the military, he began acting lessons in New York at the “New School for Social Research”. Curtis’s boyish good looks helped him to land a contract with Universal Pictures in 1948. During this time, he settled on the name “Anthony Curtis” and began a series of small movie roles,
Thanks in large part to his high-profile marriage to Hollywood beauty “Janet Leigh” in 1951, Curtis went on to star in a string of successful roles in the late 1950s and 1960s, including Houdini (1953), in which Leigh was his co-star. When he was asked about his vices, he said :
I don’t call it a vice. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug-abused person, and that’s the way I look at it.
He was flying to London for an “Anti-Tobacco” appearance when he was caught with pot. A Scotland Yard detective told the “Magistrates Court at Uxbridge”, that a very small amount, less than an ounce of marijuana, was found in the actor’s baggage by customs men at “London’s Heathrow Airport”. He admitted having theCannabis for his own use, and his conviction for marijuana possession in London has prompted immediate cancellation of his antismoking spots for the “American Cancer Society” by national television.
The contretemps has dealt a psychological blow to the “Society’s Campaign” to get people to give up cigarettes and proved amusing to marijuana users who have long held thatPot is less harmful than cigarettes. Later, he had problems with alcohol and cocaine. His final film was “David & Fatima” (2008). By then he was struggling with frequent health issues, which included heart bypass surgery in 1994 and a recurring battle with obstructive pulmonary disease.
Curtis died on September 29, 2010, at the age of 85, in Henderson, Nevada, of cardiac arrest, and When he died, among his mourners was VIP “Arnold Schwarzenegger”, fresh from signing a bill to reduceMarijuana possession to an infraction in California.