Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Celebrations and farewells as friends remember Tony Curtis

A public funeral has been held for Tony Curtis
A public funeral has been held for Tony Curtis

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis joined other celebrities, friends and family members crammed into a Las Vegas chapel to say goodbye to screen legend Tony Curtis and celebrate the star's life yesterday.

A film tribute to the actor's career brought tears and laughter to 400 guests, with Curtis appearing in a scene from the television series 'The Flintstones' and sparring with actor Kirk Douglas in 'Spartacus'.

The 85-year-old Oscar-nominated actor died last Wednesday at his home in Henderson, Nevada, after a heart attack.

Friends and fans lined up outside Palm Mortuary and Cemetery well before the funeral began.

Inside, seven colourful paintings by Curtis stood on easels while a photo of the young, dark-haired actor was projected on a screen. An American flag covered the coffin.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Curtis' daughter from his first marriage to 'Psycho' actress Janet Leigh, tearfully described a man who was, she said, "a little mashugana", using the Yiddish word for crazy, but always full of life.

"All of us got something from him. I, of course, got his desperate need for attention," she joked.

The father and daughter were estranged for a long period, but they eventually reconciled and he took pride in her on-screen credits that include 'Perfect', 'Halloween', 'True Lies', 'Trading Places' and the new comedy 'You Again'.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recalled Tony Curtis as a generous mentor who encouraged his budding Hollywood career when others told him his foreign accent and name were too much of a hurdle.

"You are going to make it," Schwarzenegger recalled Tony Curtis telling him.

The funeral was followed by burial and then a reception for 200 invited guests at the Luxor hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Tony Curtis' wife, Jill Curtis, gave a eulogy for her husband of 16 years. She said he was being laid to rest in his favourite Armani scarf and driving gloves. He wore them even after he could no longer drive.

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