I came in from feeding and running errands this afternoon and turned on the TV for the first time today. I was probably one of the last people in the country to learn that Tony Curtis had died last night.
I felt a real sense of loss at this news. Tony Curtis had been one of my favorite actors since child hood, the kind of actor that will have you sat through a movie you don't really care for just because he was in it. There weren't many like that.
As much as I enjoyed Tony's movies I was more impressed with his early history. He was one of the young men that didn't wait to be drafted in World War Two, but joined the US Navy after seeing Destination Tokyo and Crash Dive.
He never became a submariner during the war, but it wasn't lack of effort. Tony was on the crew of the USS PROTEUS (AS-19) a subtender, and was a proud member of Submarine Relief Crew 202. He was able to make short run on USS DRAGONET (SS-293) before the end of the war. He watched the Japanese Surrender from the signal bridge of the PORTEUS.
After the war Tony started the career he is known for. Of all the Movies my favorite, and I think one of his, was OPERATION PETTICOAT.
In an interview he talked about a dream come true. As a kid he had sat in movie houses and watched Cary Grant drape himself around a periscope in Destination Tokyo and he wanted to be him. Later, on the set of OPERATION PETTICOAT he stood next to Cary Grant draped around a periscope. He said it was an amazing moment.
With all his success Tony Curtis never forgot his beginning in the US Navy. For as long as his health allowed he gave of his time and resources to vetrans groups, especially his beloved submariners.
When searching the internet this afternoon I came across this still taken of Tony Curtis while making OPERATION PETTICOAT . I will take it down if anyone objects to my using it, but this is the way I want to remember him.