Farewell To The Great Leslie
Bernard Schwartz, aka Tony Curtis, has died peacefully at home aged 85 – possibly the last of the great charming heroes. Curtis starred in more than 140 major movies and was nominated as for an Oscar for his performance in 1958’s “The Defiant Ones” with Sidney Poitier.
A witty, self-deprecating man, I remember him best for playing The Great Leslie in Blake Edwards’ ‘The Great Race’. As a child I was obsessed with this movie, for the charm of its performers and the sheer elan with which it was put together. As for ‘Some Like It Hot’ let’s just say this: Best. Drag. Ever. He gives a very funny explanation for his look in the award-winning documentary ‘The Celluloid’ Closet’, in which he supported gay rights at a time when it was unfashionable.
I had the privilege of meeting Mr Curtis briefly in Cannes a few years ago, and he was very un-starlike and entertaining. Modern celebrities would do well to emulate his good-natured style. Sod it, let’s have a pie fight. ‘Farewell you good Leslie you, I hope you win, I hope you win!’