Over the past few days several entertainment websites have been running a photo of a heavy-set, bald Tony Curtis in a wheelchair. The simple fact of aging that can startle even those of us who are getting on in years.
Back in the early 90s when I was with the William Morris agency our respective Morris agents brought me and Curtis together to develop a series of mystery novels. I'd done some deep cover books with celebrities before and Tony's new autobiography was just then being published.
Over a month or so we exchanged several phone calls, a couple of them fairly long. He had very good ideas and he was the most gracious star I'd worked with.
And I mean star. Not just a celebrity. If you grew up in the Fifties you know what I mean by that. He was major league in every sense. And in The Sweet Smell of Success he proved that he had great chops.
His autobiography didn't live up to publisher expectations so our mystery series came to naught. But for an almost innocent enthusiasim, humor and a charming vulnerability he impressed me as one of the most decent people I'd ever worked with.
Here's to you, Tony. Thanks for all the many, many hours of pleasure your movies have given me. And it was an honor to work with you, however briefly.