Remembering Tony Curtis

I can’t let the day end without mentioning the passing of Tony Curtis. I met Curtis just over one year ago at a dinner for long-time residents of Las Vegas hosted by former Lt. Governor and singer Lorraine Hunt. Once it was discovered that Tony Curtis was in attendance, many people lined up near his table in the hope of getting a chance to talk to the actor. He was in a wheelchair, not necessarily because he needed it, but it just made getting around easier for him due to years of physical ailments. Normally it’s not in my nature to force a meeting with someone unless I’m sure I’m not imposing. Nonetheless, I waited to talk to Curtis while others bent his ear, Curtis glancing my way a few times. Finally, it was my turn and the first words out of his mouth were “I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting.” Understand that this was a dinner in a large banquet room at the Orleans Hotel. He was under no obligation to talk to anybody, but he talked to everyone who approached his dinner table. This one sentence from the man told me everything I needed to know about who he really was.

We spoke briefly as I didn’t want to take up a lot of his time (and wanted to let him eat!). I mentioned that I had just recently seen “The Sweet Smell of Success” and thought he was brilliant. He said, “You know, I watch some of these old movies and I’m still amazed to see that I was in them.” In other words, he led a charmed life and he knew it.

A fuzzy, cell-phone picture is my little keepsake of our brief meeting, one moment I won’t soon forget.

So long.

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