The rare Hollywood star, whose off-screen character was often more sensational than his on-screen one, lived a life that could be its own movie or television series.
An Andy Warhol 'Some Like It Hot'
Curtis' career spanned six decades with popularity during the 1950s and 1960s enabling him to transpose his good looks into super movie stardom. He acted in over 100 films ranging from light comedy to serious drama and also made numerous television appearances.
In addition to being a popular actor, Curtis was a fine art connoisseur. Collectors will have the opportunity to purchase some of his impressive art collection along with items from his illustrious career at Julien's Auctions Gallery in Beverly Hills on September 17.
A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit Shiloh Horse Rescue, a charitable organisation founded by Jill and Tony Curtis that rescues and rehabilitates abused, neglected and slaughter-bound horses of all types.
The Curtis Estate auction features property spanning from his World War II Naval stint through the first decade of the 21st century.
Fine art highlights coming to the block include the Andy Warhol Some Like it Hot Shoe, given to Curtis as a gift by the artist (estimated at $20,000-30,000), and three drawings by Balthus (two estimated at $25,000-35,000 and the other at $30,000-40,000).
A still life on canvas painted by Tony Curtis himself. The
A Maurice Denis oil on canvas study for the Baptism of Christ Mosaic at the Church of Saint Paul in Geneva, Les Ondes, is estimated at $20,000-30,000. It will sell alongside ceramics and prints by Picasso, Braque, and Chagall.
Curtis's yachtsman jacket worn
Curtis amassed a fine collection of 20th century American, British, and European paintings, and there are many selections from Tony Curtis's own secondary career as an artist. This includes paintings, drawings, prints, ceramic vases, and a tapestry.
Also available for the first time are a selection of assemblage shadowboxes, a type of artwork very personal to Curtis. They were never before exhibited or sold to the public, although these items were occasionally bestowed as gifts upon friends and family.
Among Curtis' most memorable films were 1959's Some Like It Hot, 1960's Spartacus, 1953's Houdini, 1952's Son of Ali Baba, 1957's Sweet Smell of Success, 1965's The Great Race and of course 1968's The Boston Strangler, often noted as his most serious part.
He earned an Oscar nomination for the 1958 crime drama The Defiant Ones. The film Some Like It Hot in which he acted with icon Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon has been called the funniest film in history by the American Film Institute.
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