Nightly News | September 30, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (Washington, DC): Seems like we've been saying goodbye to too many of the people who've entertained us over the years. Tonight we have another farewell. Tony Curtis has died. He was 85. He was the son of a tailor in the Bronx . He was first known in Hollywood for his good looks, and then later for his talent. He was durable and prolific, and he was unique, and moviegoers loved him over six decades. Tonight, NBC 's George Lewis has a look back.
GEORGE LEWIS reporting: When you think of Tony Curtis , one of the immortal images is him in drag opposite Jack Lemmon in the classic comedy " Some Like It Hot ."
LEWIS: As an actor, Curtis was not afraid of taking on risky roles.
LEWIS: In " The Defiant Ones ," playing a white, racist escaped convict chained to a black man, Sidney Poitier , he was nominated for an Academy Award .
LEWIS: Curtis successfully fought to get equal screen credit for Poitier .
Mr. LEONARD MALTIN (Film Critic and Historian): Tony Curtis got famous for his good looks and his great physique, and then turned out to be a really good actor.
LEWIS: Born Bernard Schwartz to immigrant parents in the Bronx , he used those good looks to leap from poverty to stardom.
LEWIS: But early on, critics ridiculed his misplaced New York accent .
LEWIS: His first of six wives was his "Houdini" co-star Janet Leigh . They are the parents of actress Jamie Lee Curtis . Tony Curtis became an artist in his latter years, saying he used painting as part of his therapy to recover from addictions to alcohol and cocaine.
Mr. CURTIS: And I knew I was going to die if I continued, but I didn't know how to stop.
LEWIS: And as for his legacy, after 150 films...
Mr. CURTIS: You've got to die before they say something nice about you. Looking good is the best revenge.
LEWIS: Actually, he'll be remembered for a whole lot more than that. George Lewis , NBC News, Los Angeles .
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (Washington, DC): And that's our broadcast for