Entertainment & Arts

Tony Curtis: Hundreds bid farewell at actor's funeral

People wait outside the funeral for Tony Curtis
Image caption A crowd gathered outside the Las Vegas funeral chapel well before the service began

Around 400 fans, celebrities, friends, and family members have bid a final farewell to actor Tony Curtis at a funeral chapel in Las Vegas.

Funeral attendees bowed their heads and clasped their hands during a series of Jewish prayers.

The crowd then laughed at a film tribute to the actor, as a screen flashed clips from The Flintstones cartoon and the movie Spartacus.

The film star died last week, aged 85, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Mourners waited outside Palm Mortuary & Cemetery well before the funeral began at 11am local time (1800 GMT).

Tony Curtis's wife, Jill, eulogised her husband of 16 years, adding he was laid to rest in his favourite scarf and driving gloves.

Jamie Lee Curtis, his daughter from his first marriage to Psycho actress Janet Leigh, became emotional as she described her father, saying he was a "little mashugana" - using the Yiddish word for crazy.

"All of us got something from him. I, of course, got his desperate need for attention," Ms Curtis said.

Image caption Entertainer Richard Little was one of many celebrity guests at the funeral

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger remembered Mr Curtis as a mentor who encouraged his film career, when others told him his accent and name would prevent him from succeeding in Hollywood.

"You are going to make it. Don't pay any attention to those guys. I heard the same thing when I came here," Mr Schwarzenegger said, remembering Mr Curtis's words.

Friend and pallbearer Gene Kilroy said that Mr Curtis had a way of making other people feel "like they were Spartacus".

Mr Kilroy said billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian and actor Kirk Douglas were among seven honorary pallbearers at the funeral.

Oscar nomination

Mr Curtis died at his home in Henderson, Nevada, on Wednesday.

The Oscar-nominated actor starred in Some Like it Hot opposite Marilyn Monroe.

He received an Oscar nod in 1959 for The Defiant Ones, in which he starred with Sidney Poitier.

His career spanned six decades and he made more than 120 films including Trapeze, Spartacus and The Vikings.

Image caption Curtis served in World War II before he began his film career

Born Bernard Schwartz on 3 June 1925 in New York, the actor served in World War II before taking on the name Tony Curtis when he began his film career in 1949.

In the 1970s he turned to television, starring in a number of TV series including The Persuaders! opposite Sir Roger Moore, and Michael Mann's Vegas.

The actor was married six times.

He is survived by his wife, Jill Vandenberg Curtis, and six children.

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