Tony Curtis, 85, was laid to rest Monday in a casket holding dozens of unusual items that told the story of his life. The funeral service at Palm Mortuary on Eastern Avenue in Las Vegas was attended by hundreds including family, friends and celebrities.
The American actor and Hollywood legend Tony Curtis died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Nevada as reported previously by Digital Journal's Kev Hedges.
Born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx, Curtis was the son of Hungarian Jews who emigrated to the United States after World War I. Curtis left school to join the U.S. Navy as a teenager during the Second World War, serving on a submarine tender in the Pacific. On his release after being wounded at Guam, he returned to New York to take acting classes, reported the UK Daily Mail.
Monday's funeral included eulogies by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, daughter Jamie Lee Curtis and Jill Vandenberg Curtis, his partner of 16 years and wife for 12 of those years. Mrs Curtis said, "The charming, handsome man you fell in love with on the screen was the real Tony. He was kind, he was gentle, he was tough and he was strong. He was highly intelligent and incredibly witty."
Jill Curtis spoke of a list of items, artifacts, clothing and mementos her husband was to be buried with, which effectively told the story of Curtis' life. He was wearing his white shorts, his much-mended favorite white sweater, an Armani scarf and his well-worn Stetson under his arm.
Placed in the casket was a traveling bag, packed full of favorite photos and letters, a model of his 25th-anniversary Trans-Am, driving gloves, some "dough" (what he called money, always), his Navy medals, a pair of his grandson Nicholas' baby shoes, a patch from Hungary, gold coins, two of his favorite watches, a yarmulke from a synagogue in Budapest he helped renovate, stones he had collected during his travels (including a few from the grave-site of his friend Dodi Fayed), a DVD of clips from his favorite film, his "IV" (what he called his iPhone), sunglasses, seven packets of Splenda (which he apparently poured on everything he consumed), a single Percocet tablet, his sleeping-eye blinders, ashes from his dog Jack, paintbrushes, paints, sketchpads and a pen said John Katsilometes' Kats Report in the Las Vegas Sun.
Following the burial a reception for 200 people was held at the Luxor Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip. A large grouping of pictures from the funeral can be found here at the Mail Online.