Connect with us

Tony Curtis on Kissing Marilyn Monroe: ‘It was like kissing Hitler’


Tony Curtis on Kissing Marilyn Monroe: ‘It was like kissing Hitler’


It’s difficult to believe that, as a major celebrity and renowned blonde beauty, any of Marilyn Monroe’s co-stars would have anything bad to say about sharing a kissing scene with her. Nonetheless, the actor who co-starred with her in one of her most well-known films, Some Like It Hot, is in that boat. Tony Curtis spoke out about kissing Monroe in the years after the 1959 film, and he had harsh words for her.

Curtis, who had an affair with Marilyn Monroe, has been married five times, including to Hitchcock actress Janet Leigh, and estimates that he has slept with 1,000 women, attempts an unusual opening gambit.

“It’s such a relief to be sitting here with you – without feeling sexually aroused,” he says, clutching my hand in his gnarled paw.

I guess I’d hit Curtis if he wasn’t 82 and recuperating from a little illness. “Don’t get me wrong,” he adds, his Bronx drawl thick as molasses, “I’ve been sick for most of my life, in my head.

“This showed itself in a lot of ways. I was insecure about women, so I wanted to go to bed with them all. I was insecure about being a poor Jewish boy (Curtis was born Bernie Schwartz, the son of a Hungarian immigrant tailor). I was insecure that Hollywood never gave me an Oscar.”

His periwinkle blue eyes, though a touch rheumy, stare right into me. “For the first time in my life, I think I am at ease. I just want to paint. I’ve painted since I was young and it’s my passion.” (His art, which is highly inspired by the Post-Impressionists, is on display at Harrods.)

Monroe and Curtis co-starred with Jack Lemmon in the 1959 romance comedy Some Like It Hot. The film depicts two males who dress up as women in order to join a touring band in order to make money. Curtis’ character falls in love with a fellow band member portrayed by Monroe, and he has to swap between his disguises as a female saxophonist and a rich male oil heir.

Curtis didn’t hold back when questioned about kissing Monroe in an interview. In a 2008 interview with Curtis, the actor stated kissing Monroe “was like kissing Hitler,” according to the Daily Mail.

Curtis told the newspaper, “It was awful. She nearly choked me to death by deliberately sticking her tongue down my throat into my windpipe.”

Curtis made the controversial remark that kissing Monroe was like “kissing Hitler,” but subsequently clarified that he was kidding. “Someone said to me, ‘Hey, what’s it like kissing Marilyn?’ I said, ‘It’s like kissing Hitler. What are you doing asking me such a stupid question?'” he told The Guardian in 2008. “That’s where it came from.”

He also confirmed to the Daily Mail, “I said it as a joke. I mean, it was such a … stupid question, so I gave a stupid answer.”

Curtis’ opinion on what it was like to kiss Monroe as a stand-alone remark seems to be both dadaist and obscene. While the actor’s word-for-word assessment may not necessarily become more intelligible in context, it does provide some insight into why he would go to such lengths to criticize Monroe. Curtis famously made his Hitler connection in response to the amount of retakes Monroe insisted on during shooting.

“[Curtis] probably meant it could not possibly appeal to anyone but [Hitler’s wife] Eva Braun,” author Donald Spoto wrote in his biography on the actress.

Monroe and Curtis have a long history together. They became lovers while they were both struggling in Hollywood in the early 1950s. Curtis goes into great detail about their short encounter.

“She found it hard to reach orgasm. We were both inexperienced, 22 or something. It was a messy business.” When they worked on Some Like It Hot, he says she had “gone funny. Her mind was all over the place. She had lost confidence”.

“If I have to do intimate love scenes with somebody who really has these kind of feelings toward me, then my fantasy can come into play … out with him, in with my fantasy,” Monroe said (via Marilyn Monroe: The Biography).

According to Curtis’ 2009 biography American Prince, the well-documented mutual hate between him and his co-star was (and continues to be) not just overstated but also the polar reverse of what was going on behind the scenes. Not only were Curtis and Monroe having a passionate, extramarital affair while filming the Billy Wilder farce — Curtis was married to Psycho actress Janet Leigh and Monroe was with playwright Arthur Miller — but their relationship resulted in a pregnancy and, ultimately, a miscarriage, according to Curtis (via The Guardian).

“Even though everybody was warning Billy that Marilyn was going to be a lot of trouble,” Curtis told Entertainment Weekly in 2001, director Billy Wilder wanted Monroe to work on the film.

Curtis continued, “She did have difficulties. Showing up late. Spending all morning on one or two lines of dialogue. There was nothing laid back or amusing about Marilyn on that movie. She was drinking a lot on the set. I know she was drinking champagne out of coffee mugs when we were doing that scene [on the train]. She spilled some on me and I knew it was champagne.”


Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Updates


Top stories today


Most viewed this month

Hot Topics

Trending this week

To Top