Tony Curtis, It’s Time You Opened Your Eyes Too
Dear Tony: There’s something you ought to know right from the beginning of this letter. You are being stared at. You are being talked about. You have only to open your eyes to know exactly what we mean. For weeks we at Photoplay Closed our eyes and turned a deaf ear to the “reliable reports” and the buzzing of the Hollywood grapevine about “the Curtis-Leigh situation.” Week-after week we were sent reports: “Tony’s acting strangely. . . Check the Curtis marriage . . . Keep your eye on Tony and Janet because I just heard that . . .” To all of these reports, we had the same answer: “Ridiculous!” But we can’t give that answer any more.
We must now examine very carefully—and we suggest, Tony, that you examine right along with us—the way the world is staring at you and why it is staring at you. We think we know why—and that is the real purpose of this letter—to tell you why. It is also our purpose to express with all our hearts the wish that you and Janet are as happy today—even happier—than you were the first year of your marriage. It won’t be easy to do this, but we’re terribly fond of you and Janet—and Kelly and Jamie, too—so easy or not, we’re going to try.
The first report that makes our job difficult is that you recently said you “no longer care” what your fans think. You’ve got to be kidding, Tony! It wasn’t too many years ago that, while discussing your remarkable climb to stardom, you said, “They made me—those wonderful, enthusiastic strangers—millions of them—they made me when I didn’t think I could make it myself.” And then you added, “I’ll never forget that I’d be nothing without them—my fans, I mean.”
But the Tony Curtis we’ve been hearing about lately just doesn’t seem to fit those lines—as a star, a husband or as a man.
At the wedding of Sharon Hugueny and Bob Evans you showed up alone. They said you wept during the ceremony, Tony. And it was the first time your closest friends had ever seen tears in your eyes. If Janet had been with you, and if Janet had cried, that would have been different because Janet, as you yourself told us, is so sensitive she weeps during Donald Duck cartoons.
But these were your tears, Tony. And it takes deep, powerful tremors in a man’s soul to cause him to cry.
Yes, it’s been said that you cried, Tony. And a thing like that, true or untrue, makes people stop and stare.
It was also reported that you have been seen in a certain Hollywood night spot—stag. Those who say they saw you there insist that you seemed to be a man in search of something. That sometimes you turned suddenly at a voice, a passage of music or some other sound. And when you turned, your face expressed a hope that what you see is what you are looking for.
Others reported that you sat under the club’s piano—brooding. Brooding about what, Tony? You would be surprised at how many people wonder what your answer might be.
As an individual you have every right to reply. “None of your business.”
What about Janet?
Okay, let’s forget about it—temporarily.
Now for the reports about you and Janet.
As a general rule the togetherness, the oneness that you and Janet have always created, seems to be weakening. The ring of sureness and security that once seeped into every word you and Janet spoke, appearsto be missing. It is not easy to detect, but as we write we remember someone asking the other day, “How is it going between Tony and Janet?”
We said that as far as we knew you were happy—but not as exuberant as you used to be. That’s what we said, but the firmness we once felt in this answer wasn’t there. Mostly, because these days, when you and Janet do appear together in public, we miss the happiness that once glowed from your faces.
One observer recently commented, after seeing you at a Hollywood gathering, “Tony seems to be looking without seeing, these days. I said, ‘Hi, Tony.’ He said, ‘Hello, Fred.’ I’ve known Tony for years. My name is Don.”
Let’s face it, Tony, whether you like it or not you live in a goldfish bowl. You are a star. So is Janet. The whole world wanted it that way—and so did you, Tony.
It seems to be the rule that when stars are asked whether their marriage is shaky they answer “Ridiculous!”—even though a divorce may be in the offing.
In your case those same questions have been asked. And you have answered, “Ridiculous.”
We believe you, Tony. We believe you for many reasons—the most important one being we want to.
Throughout the years, you and Janet have been loyal to your fans, cooperative with the press and obviously grateful for your fame.
But now, Tony, and we hope you’ll forgive us for this, we think it’s time you opened your eyes. It is time you faced the fact that, in your particular position, any form of behavior that seems mysterious or odd or contrary to the habit-shaped minds of the public, stimulates the talk game that the public loves to play with married stars.
It’s a talk game that goes, “It’s their tenth anniversary. . . . I wonder if they’re tired of each other? . . . You know how those stars are. . . . I’ll bet the marriage won’t see the eleventh anniversary.”
This is what is happening when the names Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh are mentioned.
It can be stopped, Tony. You can stop it.
Is it your fault?
You could put an end to this nonsense by opening your eyes to the fact that you are unwittingly contributing to the rumors.
You can stop it by opening your eyes to the fact that while you have always been cooperative in the past, of late it’s only Janet who’s been giving interviews. You have not, in recent months been “available.”
What we’re trying to point out, Tony, is that in 1961 your actions, however innocent they may seem to you, are raising eyebrows. To the public, much of what you have been doing seems “odd.”
Take. for instance, your legal action against M-G-M over “Lady L” (a movie we understood you did not want to make). When this news was coupled with the report that you had entered a hospital because of “tension” the rumors flew.
Why? Because such action suggested, quite reasonably, that you are experiencing emotional turbulence. Then after it was reported that your doctors told you to “take it easier,” you hustled to Chicago and worked harder than ever doing public appearances.
Rumor artists like that word “tension,” Tony. It opens up fantastic avenues for their imaginations. It suggests anything and everything. It connotes professional pressure and dissatisfaction. It hints of marital discord. It reeks of personal unhappiness, insecurity, boredom. It can mean anything to anyone—if the truth is not immediately forthcoming!
One reason the truth is not in print is because you have decided not to cooperate with the press. Unfortunately, in the mind of the public, this suggests that maybe the reports are true. It is certainly within your right not to cooperate with the press. None of us deny that. We only question the wisdom of such a decision.
The career of a star can not halt. It is much like life—and life must go on. If it does not—it dies. It may be a quick death or a slow one—but the result is the same.
In simple summation, Tony, what we ask of you is to look at your situation from the point of view of the people—those people, those fans who are eager to know about you, Janet, your children and everything else that has made you one of the most admired entertainers in the entire world.
Once, a long, long time ago, we heard you say, “I hope they like me. It’s so important to be liked, to be approved of, and, in a small way, to be needed.”
Well, Tony, fans did like you. They did approve of you. And in a very big way, they needed you.
And if you open your eyes—before it’s too late—they always will.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE OCTOBER 1961