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October 21, 2014

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Memories of Tony Curtis from his star-studded funeral

Image

Tiffany Brown

Surrounded by his paintings, actor and artist Tony Curtis conducts an interview in 2007 in the studio at his home in Henderson.

The funeral of film legend Tony Curtis was held October 4 at Palm Mortuary on Eastern Avenue. Here’s what we learned about him during the distinctly Las Vegas service, in which applause and laughter were far more prevalent than tears:

Tony Curtis Funeral: Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis attends the funeral of her father, entertainment legend Tony Curtis, in Las Vegas on Oct. 4, 2010. Launch slideshow »

— He sat with Arnold Schwarzenegger and taught him to draw greeting-card-style figures. “He got me this book and taught me how to paint and how to draw hands and fingers and faces,” Schwarzenegger said during his eulogy of Curtis. “This is the kind of generous man he was.”

— His wife, Jill, said one of the couple’s greatest arguments was over Curtis’ favorite outfit: white shorts, white sweaters and his Stetson cowboy hat.

— He loved being called “an enigma.”

— He was friends with Dodi Fayed, killed with Princess Diana in 1998, and was buried with small stones he collected from Fayed’s gravesite.

In Memoriam: Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis and Jill Curtis at MGM Grand on Feb. 11, 2006. Launch slideshow »

— His dreams were so vivid he often mistook them for real-life experiences.

— His screen idol was Cary Grant.

— Elvis Presley is said to have modeled his early-career hairstyle after Curtis’ slicked-back pompadour.

— He was proud that he never lost a sword fight, and always got the girl.

— He never slept without wearing eye blinders.

— He had a notorious sweet tooth, dumping at least seven packets of Splenda into his beverages.

— He was a bad driver and once signed the bumper of a motorist he rear-ended to charm the angry driver.

— One of his friends was Ron Jeremy, who showed a text from Jill sent hours after Curtis’ death inviting him to the service. The two men met at the 1989 funeral of actor/director Cornel Wilde. When Curtis told Jeremy, “I’m a fan of your work,” Jeremy said, “I about crapped my pants!”

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