A legend of old Hollywood passed away this past week. I was floored as I saw the brief announcement on the morning news, his handsome face grinning from the television screen in the same manner that he had smiled at the masses in his youth.
Bernie Schwartz was a gorgeous man and talented actor, to those of us that remember his darkly handsome good looks and his movies. Even now, as I look at his still, I realize he is the image of what a romance author envisions their male character to look like. Full lipped, luscious locks, with laughter reflected in his bright eyes.
Bernie exuded a charm that I find lacking in many of today’s actors, and a bravery to do what others would not dare to do. He didn’t have a problem appearing in high heels and a satin dress. Honestly, Bernie was a gorgeous woman, and a perfect foil for the effeminate Jack Lemmon and super sexy Marilyn Monroe.
Bernie was 85 when he passed away last night at his Las Vegas home. He left quite a legacy behind him, having tucked more than 150 movies under his belt. He had six children, his daughter Jamie Lee Curtis being the most easily recognizable to the younger crowd.
Many of the younger movie goers of the day won’t remember Bernie, either by his real name or by his stage name, but he was something else. When I first saw him, it was in the movie Some Like It Hot. I laughed til I cried, marvelling at the ease in which his East Coast suaveness and street smarts managed to get him through the toughest of situations.
Bernie had a lot of movies under his belt, the most notable the one I mentioned above. But, as I sit here and write this, I remember “Spartacus”, an Easter favorite at my household. Operation Petticoat was another giggle fest I enjoyed. I remember watching The Defiant Ones in 1969, stunned at the depth of his character as he remained chained to Sidney Poitier. He was nominated, as well as Sidney Poitier, for an Oscar. Personally, I feel they both should have won one of those coveted golden men.
If you haven’t seen any of Bernie’s films, each is a wonder of his acting, showing the broad spectrum that he was capable of projecting his talent.
Yes, Hollywood has lost another great star.
Good night, Tony Curtis, and thank you for making my world a little bit richer.