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Tony Curtis on Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh and Christine Kaufmann

Tony CurtisTony Curtis on Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Christine Kaufmann

For obvious reasons, we avoid quoting from trash tabloids such as the Daily Mail. I'm making an exception here because that London rag features a write-up of a bizarre interview with 82-year-old Tony Curtis, whose co-stars include Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, and Burt Lancaster, and among whose film credits are The Defiant Ones, Some Like It Hot, and The Boston Strangler. Since Curtis is directly quoted a number of times in the Daily Mail piece, I'm assuming he actually said those things – about his mother, and ex-wives Janet Leigh and Christine Kaufmann – unless he sues. Below are a few Tony Curtis quotes found in the article. (Image: Tony Curtis ca. 1960.)

Tony Curtis quotes

“I was permanently aroused. Because of my mother, I didn't see women as people with intellects. All I wanted was big breasts and sex. I was trying to prove something. Then again, I was so good-looking.”

“[Janet Leigh] took all 14 pills out [of a bottle] and started popping them in her mouth. I hit her really hard on the back so they all flew out of her. Then I knew the marriage was over.” Tony Curtis also claims that Janet Leigh, best remembered for getting herself stabbed to death while taking a shower in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, tried to turn him “into her idea of a gentleman. She found me crude and clumsy, and then she went mad"

“[Christine Kaufmann] was anti-Semitic. I worry about that. I think that because of the Iraq war, anti-Semitism is on the increase again. But I don't get involved in politics.” (Update: Check out Christine Kaufmann's remarks regarding Tony Curtis in the comments section below.)

Tony Curtis on Marilyn Monroe

And finally, regarding his remark that kissing Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot “was like kissing Hitler.”

“I said it as a joke. I mean, it was such a darn stupid question, so I gave a stupid answer.”

Tony Curtis movies

Besides Some Like It Hot, which also starred Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis' movies include George Marshall's Houdini (1953), in the title role, opposite Janet Leigh; Carol Reed's Trapeze (1956), with Burt Lancaster, Gina Lollobrigida, and Katy Jurado; and Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success (1957), with Burt Lancaster.

Also: Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones (1958), for which both Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier received Best Actor Oscar nominations; Blake Edward's blockbuster comedy Operation Petticoat (1959), with Cary Grant; and Richard Fleischer's The Boston Strangler (1968), with Curtis in the title role, and co-starring Henry Fonda.

Source: Daily Mail. There's no date in the article, but the interview likely took place in early 2008.

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10 Comments to Tony Curtis on Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh and Christine Kaufmann

  1. Intheknow

    I always thought Curtis was good in his movies but a total asshole in real life. He thought he was so good looking and didn't hesitate to tell people. Seriously, what an asshole. He seemed immature, cold, calculating and not too bright in his real life. Also, I though Kauffman was absolutely stunning and it seems strange that he called her what he did since she married him and he was - a Jew! Curtis was just an asshole plain and simple.

  2. Brady Ann

    I recently saw a Johnny Carson, “The Tonight Show”, interview with Tony Curtis on TV. I believe the interview was about 1977.
    Tony seemed very immature, almost like a child that never grew up.
    Johnny asked him, “How old are you?” and Tony replied, “47 1/2”. Johnny then commented in the interview that his reponse was that of a young boy, “1/2?”.
    Tony further in the interview said, “I am married 3 times, that is the way to do it.”
    Tony obviously did not have much respect for his wives.

    I just googled Tony Curtis to learn more about his private life and found this article.
    I did not realize he was married 6 times. I was born in 1961 and I am a movie buff.

  3. Suzie

    I never saw his movies maybe my mother…yes he's a jerk!!!

  4. sparkle

    Is this a joke?  Christine Kaufmann anti-semitic?  Sounds to me like Tony was anti-women who wanted more from him than his good looks and narcissistic habits.  May he RIP but I don't know how he can having been quoted with so many assenine remarks which I'm sure he regrets where ever he is…

  5. rosemarie erickson

    I don't know if Ms. Kaufmann ever reads any of these comments, but in case she does I'd like her to know that ever since I saw her in Rosen Resli, to me she has the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen.
    Actually, she was also the prettiest of all the wives he's ever had. Good Luck in her lawsuit !!

  6. rosemarie erickson

    how strange that Christine Kaufmann, his second wife, supposedly was anti-Semitic, given the fact that she was married to a Jew, Bernie Schwartz (Tony Curtis), and gave him 2 children (Alexandra and Allegra) - what a glorious way to be anti-Semitic……

  7. Hello KI,

    I just saw what Tony said,its absurd.
    Yes,I am alive.
    Most of my energy comes from never reading what is written about me…!
    However,as I am preparing a legal step against Jill Curtis,I started to read things.
    Tony should be ashamed of his easy way to explain why I left him,he was a selfish asshole.a plain asshole,that has nothing to do with being jewish!
    All the best!
    Christine Kaufmann

  8. Chevalier

    I think that some of his reminiscences are dreams he had.

  9. L. Holmes

    He comes across as such a jerk.

  10. KI

    Kaufmann is still alive. Isn't Curtis afriad he'll be sued?