HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — His widow says the only thing Tony Curtis ever wanted to be was a movie star.
Curtis died last night at his home near Las Vegas. He was 85.
He began his movie career in frivolous roles that exploited his looks and personality, but then moved to more substantial roles -- winning an Oscar nomination in "The Defiant Ones" for portraying a white racist who escapes from prison handcuffed to a black man.
Curtis, also starred in "Sweet Smell of Success" and in "Some Like It Hot" -- considered one of the top Hollywood comedies of all time. In that film, Curtis — famously imitating Cary Grant's accent — and Jack Lemmon play jazz musicians who dress up as women to escape retribution after witnessing a gangland massacre. Marilyn Monroe was their co-star.
After his acting career waned, Curtis reinvented himself as a writer and painter whose canvasses sold for as much as $20,000. His daughter, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, says he left behind a "legacy of great performances in movies," and in his artwork.