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Tony Curtis dies aged 85

Tony Curtis dies aged 85

Tony Curtis, star of Some Like It Hot and The Sweet Smell Of Success , has died today, representatives of daughter Jamie Lee Curtis have confirmed. He was 85.

Full details have yet to emerge, but the actor's health had been failing in recent years, including a hospitalisation for an asthma attack in June.

Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz on June 3 1925, to Hungarian immigrant parents in the Bronx, New York.

Despite growing up in near poverty, a stint in the Marines during World War II gave him the opporunity to do some amatuer theatre work alongside his duties.

Honorably discharged in 1945, Curtis was accepted to study at the New York Dramatic Workshop and paid his dues in small theatre productions. A meeting with David O. Selznick led to a seven-year contract at Universal.

Initially cast as a beefcake, Curtis' screen presence, charm, looks and willing to play a variety of roles helped him escape the lower tier of Hollywood productions.

He went on to appear in a great many classics, such as The Defiant Ones, The Sweet Smell Of Success , The Vikings , Spartacus and The Boston Strangler - Curtis' own favourite performance.

Despite appearing in some 130 productions, Curtis will perhaps be remembered most fondly for his role as a musician on the run from the mob in Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot , in which he starred alongside Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe.

Equally famous off-screen for his romantic exploits, the actor dated a number of notable actresses, and was married six times. He leaves behind current wife Jill Vandenberg-Curtis, and his five children.

Asked in 2008 interview what he'd like as his epitaph, Curtis answered 'Nobody's perfect', echoing the famous last line from Some Like It Hot .

Indeed, nobody is, but during a 60-year career, to critics, audiences and his adoring fans, Tony Curtis came close.