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After Radio Ulster, Curtis turns the air blue again

Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis

Hollywood legend Tony Curtis has told hundreds of spellbound fans how Joan Collins was one of the few leading ladies he never bedded.

To shrieks of shocked laughter the wheelchair-bound star – who turned the airwaves blue last Friday when he repeatedly swore on Radio Ulster’s Talk Back — told how he called her "a c***" to her face instead.

In a warts-and-all interview at a sold-out auditorium at the Hay Festival of Literature, in Mid Wales, Curtis spoke of his life, loves and loathings.

The 83-year-old star of the silver screen will be at the Ulster Hall on Wednesday at 7.30pm to promote his new autobiography, American Prince.

He spoke yesterday at length of his movie queen conquests such as Marilyn Monroe and Nathalie Wood.

He also denied that stars like Shelley Winters and Joan Collins had ever turned him down.

Francine Stock, interviewer at the hour-long session, noted that neither actress emerges well in the autobiography.

Putting the question point-blank to Curtis, she said: "Maybe they just turned you down."

"Neither one turned me down," said Curtis, pausing for effect, "neither one got an invitation."

Writing off both women, he said: "Shelley Winters was such a bigmouth. She was a rumourmonger and you could never trust her saying anything."

Of Collins, he told how she had irritated him on the set of his highly successful 1970s ITV series, The Persuaders, in which he starred with Roger Moore.

He said at one time they were filming in the South of France and Collins "just made life miserable".

He said in one scene he was supposed to drive a car into a river with Collins sat in the seat next to him.

But she constantly held up filming, reapplying make-up and demanding more time.

"Finally I said to Joan ’will you stop acting like a c***’. She said ’what did you say?’ I realised what I had said and just said to Joan ’I’m excited about the scene too’.

"Then she leans out of the window and she shouts ’he called me a c***’.

"I was so humiliated I didn’t know where to put my face," Curtis said.

Curtis also paid glowing tribute to Marilyn Monroe, his leading lady in Some Like It Hot, on and off the movie screen.

"We were perfect for each other. I got to Hollywood in 1948. She got there around 1949.

"I was 23 and she was three years younger. We both wanted to get into the movies.

"We had a wonderful early relationship. We flirted and finally we went to bed and we both learned from each other.

"They were wonderful days for me because I got an understanding of women that I’d never had.

"And for her it was also true that she had no knowledge of men. She was as beautiful as they come."

On a telephone interview on Talk Back the acclaimed actor swore numerous times, forcing presenter William Crawley to apologise.

Curtis was asked how he came to liken the love scene with Monroe in the 1959 movie to “kissing Hitler” and he told how it was a private, off-the-cuff remark while under pressure on the film set.

Then he said: “And you know what, some b******s go away and make that a headline.”

The Hollywood legend went on to swear again when explaining how he hates the Oscars. He said: “I think it is unfair the way they treat actors... they can f*** off.”

In reply presenter William Crawley said: “Oh no, now come on! We can't use that language, I apologise to our listeners.” The actor apologised after realising the programme was live.

The actor apologised after realising the programme was live.

“You can always cut those bits out, we are not live, are we? Oh, it is live! I apologise to everybody for what I have said, I didn't want to offend anyone, I apologise.”

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