Not all actors are good communicators in interview situations but Tony Curtis proved to be candid, funny, reflective – and with a good memory! Sadly though ,for the most part, the interviewers failed to take the opportunity to ask detailed questions about his long career.
The best interview was the first one from 1968 when Tony was on location making MONTE CARLO OR BUST.
“I remember in the war years, I was in the submarine service and we would run movies including GUNGA DIN. We would shut off the sound and everyone would take a part. I always played Cary Grant!”
Asked who his movie idols were:
“Cary Grant,Errol Flynn,Jimmy Cagney,Humphrey Bogart,Clark Gable, Leslie Howard. They all had some effect on me as a child.”
In the 1972 interview:
” I learned my work on the floor – from other actors.”
” what you have to avoid is acting. You mustn’t act. The words do the acting.”
He did his imitation of Cary Grant – “as a matter of fact, everyone does Cary.”
“Marilyn was very difficult. Her personal madnesses were so destructive. It made her unhappy. She could bring to a scene a lot of power, but it was difficult for her to put it together.”
In the 1978 interview :
” I got there (Hollywood) in the summer of 1948 and by the summer of 1950 I had worked in 16 movies. I started at $50 a week.”
“I was an instrument of the studio. I went from picture to picture. I didn’t argue with anyone. I needed experience – you get it in front of the camera.”
In the 1985 interview with Terry Wogan, there was much laughter when Terry mentioned Tony coming from the Bronx and Tony replying:
“I came from Manhattan. I was born and raised in Manhattan. I lived in the Bronx once.”
In the interviews in London ( two with Michael Parkinson, two with Terry Wogan), there were no questions about SWEET SMELL Of SUCCESS or THE DEFIANT ONES, or finally getting to work with Cary Grant in OPERATION PETTICOAT, or his directors.
Such a missed opportunity.