Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tony (Bernard Schwartz) Curtis -- June 3, 1925 to September 29, 2010

Tony Curtis was an American film actor. He played a variety of roles from light comedy, such as the musician on the run from gangsters in Some Like It Hot, to serious dramatic roles, such as an escaped convict in The Defiant Ones which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Since 1949, he appeared in more than 100 films and made frequent television appearances.

Born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx, New York, to Emanuel Schwartz and his wife Helen Klein who were Jewish Hungarian immigrants.

During World War II, Curtis joined the United States Navy, heavily inspired by Cary Grant in Destination Tokyo and Tyrone Power in Crash Dive (1943). He served aboard USS Proteus (AS-19), a submarine tender and on September 2, 1945, he witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay from about a mile away. Following his discharge, Curtis studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York with the influential German stage director Erwin Piscator, along with Elaine Stritch, Walter Matthau, and Rod Steiger. He was discovered by a talent agent and casting director Joyce Selznick. Curtis claims it was because he "was the handsomest of the boys." Arriving in Hollywood in 1948 at age 23, he was placed under contract at Universal Pictures and changed his name to Tony Curtis, taking his first name from the novel Anthony Adverse and his last name from "Kurtz", a surname from his mother's family.

Throughout his life, he enjoyed painting, and since the early 1980s, painted as a second career. His work commands more than $25,000 a canvas now. In the last years of his life, he concentrated on painting rather than movies. A surrealist, Curtis claimed "Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Magritte" as influences. "I still make movies but I'm not that interested in them any more. But I paint all the time." In 2007, his painting The Red Table was on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. His paintings can also be seen at the Tony Vanderploeg Gallery in Carmel, California.

Curtis was married six times. His first wife was actress Janet Leigh to whom he was married from 1951–1962, and with whom he fathered actresses Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis.

Suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he was hospitalized in Las Vegas after an asthma attack during a book signing engagement in Henderson, Nevada at Costco.

Tony Curtis died in bed at his Henderson home on September 29, 2010 at 9:25 PM of cardiac arrest.


Criss Cross (1949)
City Across the River (1949)
The Lady Gambles (1949)
Take One False Step (1949) (scenes deleted)
Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949)
How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border (1949) (short subject)
Woman in Hiding (1950)
Francis (1950)
I Was a Shoplifter (1950)
Sierra (1950)
Winchester '73 (1950) (Credited as Anthony Curtis)
Kansas Raiders (1950)
The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951)
Meet Danny Wilson (1952) (cameo)
Flesh and Fury (1952)
No Room for the Groom (1952)
Son of Ali Baba (1952)
Houdini (1953)
The All-American (1953)
Forbidden (1953)
Beachhead (film) (1954)
Johnny Dark (1954)
The Black Shield of Falworth (1954)
Six Bridges to Cross (1955)
So This Is Paris (1955)
The Purple Mask (1955)
The Rawhide Years (1955)
The Square Jungle (1955)
Trapeze (1956)
Mister Cory (1957)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
The Midnight Story (1957)
The Vikings (1958)
Kings Go Forth (1958)
The Defiant Ones (1958)
The Perfect Furlough (1958)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Operation Petticoat (1959)
Who Was That Lady? (1960)
The Rat Race (1960)
Spartacus (1960)
Pepe (1960) (cameo)
The Great Impostor (1961)
The Outsider (1961), as Ira Hayes
Taras Bulba (1962)
40 Pounds of Trouble (1962)
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963) (cameo)
Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)
Paris, When It Sizzles (1964) (cameo)
Wild and Wonderful (1964)
Goodbye Charlie (1964)
Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
The Great Race (1965)
Boeing Boeing (1965)
The Flinstones (1965) (voice)
Chamber of Horrors (1966) (cameo)
Not with My Wife, You Don't! (1966)
Arrivederci, Baby! (1966)
Don't Make Waves (1967)
On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who... (1968)
Rosemary's Baby (1968) (voice)
The Boston Strangler (1968)
Monte Carlo or Bust (1969)
You Can't Win 'Em All (1970)
Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? (1970)
The Persuaders! (1971–1972)
Mission: Monte Carlo (1974)
Lepke (1975)
The Count of Monte Cristo (1975)
London Conspiracy (1976)
The Last Tycoon (1976)
Casanova & Co. (1977)
Sextette (1978)
The Manitou (1978)
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
The Users (1978)
Double Take (1979)
Title Shot (1979)
Little Miss Marker (1980)
It Rained All Night the Day I Left (1980)
The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980)
Othello, the Black Commando (1982)
Where Is Parsifal? (1983)
BrainWaves (1983)
The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) (documentary)
Club Life (1985)
Insignificance (1985)
The Last of Philip Banter (1986)
Balboa (1986)
The Passenger - Welcome to Germany (1988)
Lobster Man From Mars (1989)
Midnight (1989)
Tarzan in Manhattan (1989)
Walter & Carlo In America (1989)
Prime Target (1991)
Center of the Web (1992)
Hugh Hefner: Once Upon a Time (1992) (documentary)
Naked in New York (1993)
The Mummy Lives (1993)
A Century of Cinema (1994) (documentary)
The Immortals (1995)
The Celluloid Closet (1995) (documentary)
Roseanne - TV Series (1996) (role as Hal, ballroom dance studio instructor)
Hardball (1997)
Brittle Glory (1997)
Alien X Factor (1997)
Stargames (1998)
Louis & Frank (1998)
Play It to the Bone (1999) (cameo)
Reflections of Evil (2002) (narrator)
Where's Marty? (2006)
The Blacksmith and the Carpenter (2007) (voice)
David & Fatima (2008)
The Jill & Tony Curtis Story (2008) (documentary feature)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Autumn, my favorite season, is soon here! Enjoy a musical preview!

Autumn in Central Park, Manhattan

Stories Behind the Hit Songs of Autumn By Mary Dawson

It has already started! The air is getting colder and crisper. Time for candlelight and popcorn -- falling leaves and soon, falling snow. It's "that time of year" once again. It's not quite Christmas, but the emotions are ramping up. We start thinking about family gatherings, parties, romantic evenings snuggled up by the fire with the ones we love. And under it all, is the magical music of the season.
In my never-to-be-humble opinion, some of the greatest songs ever written were inspired by the Season of Autumn. If you can't name at least a few songs about this season and the songwriters who created them, it's time to join us as we explore the stories behind the wonderful melodies and lyrics that mark this time of year.

The first song that comes to mind is the haunting, "Autumn in New York" written by Vernon Duke back in 1934. Never heard of him? Stay tuned.

You may be familiar with Billie Holiday's amazing rendition of this song, but then it has also been recorded by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Diane Schuur, Ray Charles, Mantovani, George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Charlie Parker and dozens of other major artists. Year after year this song keeps reappearing with new arrangements and different artists, but definitely the same words and melody written by this guy, Vernon Duke. This song is what's known as a standard -- the goal of every songwriter. Now do you want to know a little more about Mr. Duke?

Vernon Duke was born Vladimir Alexandrovich Dukelsky in a train station in Prafianovo, Russia, on October 10, 1903 as his mother was traveling to another Russian town. Growing up in an aristocratic family, Vladimir showed amazing talent for music at a very early age. When he was eleven, he had already been admitted to the distinguished Kiev Conservatory to study under the famed composer, Reinhold Gilere.
After the Russian Revolution, the Dukelsky family made its way to the United States where Vladimir's classical compositions began receiving rave reviews. In America, Vladimir became friends with the famous George Gershwin, who encouraged him to begin writing popular music. Gershwin also suggested that he consider changing his name to something more "American" -- like Vernon Duke. From that point onward, the composer began his double life -- using the name, Vladimir Dukelsky, for his classical works and Vernon Duke for his pop songs.

In the 1920's Vernon/Vladimir moved to Paris where he wrote oratorios and music for ballet and symphony, becoming friends with Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev and artist, Pablo Picasso. When he would travel to Britain or the United States, like Superman, he would step into a phone booth and come out as Vernon Duke, writer of popular songs for theater and the Ziegfeld Follies. Collaborating with other great songwriters of the era, Duke wrote such classics as "April in Paris. Taking a Chance on Love," and "I Like the Likes of You."

With that as a backdrop, take some time to enjoy "Autumn in New York."


The following are UGO Entertainment's Top 11 autumn pop songs:

11. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground by White Stripes
10. Grey Sky Eyes by Carbon Leaf
9. September by Earth, Wind, and Fire
8. Amanda Cecelia by Elliott Smith
7. Grand Theft Autumn by Fall Out Boy
6. Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel
5. Autumn Almanac by The Kinks
4. Autumn Acid by Aphex Twin
3. October by U2
2. Forever Autumn by Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
1. California Dreamin by The Mamas and the Papas

If you'd care to listen to any of the 11 songs, please click to the song on the playlist at bottom of page.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My wishes for a meaningful Yom Kippur, and...

a joyous Rosh Hashanah!

Love, Petra xo

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010