Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I love a good nose.

Following a tip from a library patron, I requested and received the book "The Obits Annual 2012" and I don't know why, but I'm excited to read them. I just reread the obituary of Tony Curtis, one I read when it was published back in 2010. I've always enjoyed Tony Curtis, even read his biography. I like him so much, probably because not only have I been completely mesmerized by his acting at least twice (please see Sweet Smell of Success immediately if you have not already. I'll lend it to you) but his dalliances and perpetual divorces and marriages have provided the part of my brain that fills up quickly with celebrity nonsense with some bit of satisfaction. It could have just been the lips and the eyes though. And the nose. I do love a good nose.

I mean, seriously?

Anyway, it was finely written obituary, as the ones in the Times generally are, pulling no punches about the steady decline of his career after the high highs of the 1950s and 1960s and employing amusing irony. His birth name was Bernard Schwartz. His final screen role was in an indie from 2008 and his character's name was Mr. Schwartz. I remember, after reading his biography, I looked for interviews about him writing it (apparently I'm fully a product of the need to know everything world we live in now.) The reviews and interviews were always accompanied by current photos and stories about his life at the time. There was one that described him doing a book signing at a Costco in Nevada and it was at exactly that point that I stopped reading anything current about him; I didn't even finish the article. I want Tony Curtis to remain the glamorous, gorgeous movie star with his lovely wives and his dress in drag performances, his bootstrap childhood and his good nose. I don't want to think about him signing books at Costco. I've never had a taste for salty and sweet together.

Anyway, that was a huge digression and I have no clue what I originally wanted to say in this blog post. Something about how I truly enjoy the way obituaries whittle us down to size while at the same time providing a profound record of the fact that we existed at all. I like how significant our insignificance sounds in obituaries. They seem like life's concentrate. I'm making a mental note to read more obituaries.


  1. I was a mailman in the south Bronx. Once I delivered special delivery letter to a Miss something Schwartz on Aldus St near Southern Blvd. Mrs Schwartz was a lovely lonely lady who liked to talk. She had lived in the same apartment for many years. Her brother and his family lived in an apartment below her. Tony Curtis (Bernie Schwartz) was her nephew and was born and raised in that apartment. She had many photographs of him in her apartment. I thought that was cool. Just thought I would mention that.


  2. That's a pretty cool story. He discusses his childhood in the Bronx at length in his biography, American Prince, which I'd recommend.