A Portrait of Tony Curtis

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Although he’s still acting (most recently in the 2008 indie David and Fatima), Curtis devotes much of his time to his art, which encompasses painting, drawing and constructions made with found objects. His work is exhibited internationally; you can see some of his work at his Web site, www.tonycurtis.com. Curtis and his wife, Jill, are also actively involved with Shiloh Horse Rescue, a Nevada-based charity she founded in 2003 to save abused, unwanted, neglected and slaughter-bound horses. To find out more, visit www.shilohhorserescue.com.

From Oct. 7 to Oct. 11, Curtis will be at Goldenstein Gallery (390 N. SR 89A in Uptown; 928-204-1765) for daily artist receptions from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. He will also be honored by the Sedona Arts Festival for his life’s achievements.

The events kick off on Oct. 7 with an invitation-only celebrity reception at Goldenstein Gallery from 6-8:30 p.m. On Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively, Some Like it Hot and Sweet Smell of Success will be screened at Harkins Theatres Sedona 6 (2081 SR 89A in West Sedona; call 928-282-1177 for info), with a live interview of Curtis conducted by Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne. Tickets are $15 for one show or $25 for both shows.

On Oct. 9, “An Intimate Evening with Tony Curtis,” a gala event hosted by the Sedona Arts Festival, takes place in the ballroom at L’Auberge de Sedona (301 L’Auberge Ln. in Uptown). Tickets are $125 and available at 928-204-9456. Curtis will sign copies of his new book, The Making of Some Like It Hot, at the 19th annual Sedona Arts Festival on Oct. 10 from 11 a.m.-1p.m. at Sedona Red Rock High School (995 Upper Red Rock Loop Rd. in West Sedona), where his art will also be available for purchase.

Joe McNeill, Sedona Monthly’s creative director (and resident film buff whose history of Sedona moviemaking, Arizona’s Little Hollywood, is scheduled for publication in March 2010), visited with Curtis at his home in Las Vegas this past July for an exclusive chat about Hollywood, art and the old neighborhood back in Manhattan.

Sedona Monthly: How did you get into art? In American Prince, you mention you’ve always liked art. How did you first realize you had talent?

Tony Curtis: I was a kid in New York City. I used to chalk the sidewalks. I decided to draw cars with chalk – anything. I enjoyed it. So that was where it started. I was always playing around with it, always drawing. It wasn’t until just a little while ago that I began to realize how much I love it and how much I like to do it.

When you first went to LA and got into the movies, did you continue with your art when you had free time?
I did it all the time – I never stopped. Between shots, I’d take my script and do drawings on it or get a pad and do it. So I stayed within the movie and never had to leave the set. This way you had a chance to have another life within the life. I liked it a lot.

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