Tony Curtis was one of the last great matinée idols. He was known for his dazzling good looks and his sexual prowess – counting Marilyn Monroe as one of this many flings and notoriously bedding two showgirls a day at the height of his playboy epoch.
His family, however, remembers Tony Curtis in a far less reverent light. Curtis had six children with six different wives and all of those relationships were fraught with drama. It’s actually quite a messy story. A recurring theme of finger-pointing, resentment and legal action has defined the Curtis family since his passing.
Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony’s daughter, didn’t even view him as a father figure, and Curtis himself has admitted on numerous occasions that he was an inept parent. He never wanted to be a dad in the first place. He enjoyed life in the fast lane, not the carpool lane.
Curtis died in September 2010, but six months after his passing it was revealed that the Some Like It Hot star left his kids absolutely nothing – not a dime of his fortune which was estimated to be upwards of $60 million went to any of his children.
Can you imagine what a stinging blow that must have been? First, he fails to be a supportive parent and basically abandons his fatherly responsibilities to live a life of hedonism and lavish excess for decades on end then he completely snubs his own kin with his cruelly worded will when he died. If that’s not adding insult to injury then we don’t know what is.
Tony had actually done this very much so on purpose. Apparently, 6 months before he died from a heart attack he redid his Will and Trust and intentionally disinherited his children. No reason was given for the move, but his entire estate was given to his wife instead.
In fact, his will acknowledges the existence of his children and specifically disinherits them. There’s no arguing what he meant by his words. He acted decisively, although some of the kids don’t see it that way, but we’ll get to that in a second.
To put it lightly, his children were absolutely furious.
She Refused To Give Them Anything
Jill Vandenberg, Curtis’ widowed wife refused to give any of the kids anything that their father left behind. Of course, she refused to give them any of the money. After all, she was the one that encouraged her husband to rewrite the will in the first place. But she also refused to give them anything sentimental to remember their dad by. Instead, she auctioned off all of his belongings at an estate auction.
At the auction, several high dollar items were liquidated including an Andy Warhol painting that sold for $53,000, the leather jacket worn by Tony Yachtman in Some Like It Hot which brought in $48,000, and several other big-ticket items like a Firebird convertible and a Chagall painting.
Shockingly, Jill also sold many personal priceless items that belonged to Curtis such as intimate letters that he wrote to his friends and colleagues, his military medals, his professional awards including his Hollywood Walk of Fame Plaque, drawings he did, and even his casino membership cards.
Jill didn’t even leave any of the kids so much as a photo album. In total, she sold over 500 of his belongings. It makes you wonder if that’s really what he had wanted.
Legal Action And Hard Questions
Two of Curtis’s daughters Alexandra and Kelly teamed up to try and legally question the terms of the will. Curtis’s children all insist that they had no falling out with their father and attest that he had promised them for years that they and their children would all be left with money after his passing.
It’s been suggested that Jill coerced him into signing his wealth over to her. He was apparently on a lot of painkillers in his final years and it might have been possible to trick him into signing his estate away. It’s definitely suggested by some of Curtis’s kids that their step-mother was nothing more than a gold digger, but Tony would have probably taken offense to that allegation.
Christine Kaufman, Curtis’s second wife, has insisted that everything that Jill has should have gone to his children. She went on to say that Curtis was a nice Jewish Father and that Jewish parents don’t disinherit their children for no reason.
Apparently, the money that Jill inherited and the cash she took in from liquidating his belongings and real estate is being used to support her horse sanctuary ranch in Sandy Valley, Nevada. Jill takes in injured and disabled horses and nurses them back to health. That all sounds admirable except for the fact that Curtis’s children could also benefit from their father’s finances. You would think that family would come before farm animals, but apparently not.
Dark Secrets: The Truth Comes Out
While Tony Curtis’s children all claim that they were in good standing with their father and that there is no good reason for them being disinherited, it would seem that there is more to the story than what is seen from the surface. Nothing’s as clear-cut as it seems.
One of Tony’s sons, Ben, was so bitter about the matter that he refused to even attend his dad’s funeral. His mother, Leslie, who was Tony’s third wife, noted that her son loved his father immensely but found it difficult to communicate with him after his brother, Nicholas died in 1994 of a heroin overdose.
Allegra is known as being somewhat of the reprobate outcast of the family. She posed nude for Playboy magazine when she was younger and in recent years she wrote a memoir that described her dad as being a ‘drug-addicted demon’. She went on to lament how he never gave her a chance to really be his daughter.
She recalls that her father was corrupted by fame and that their life and relationship was always unstable because of choices and doing.
So it would appear that Curtis’s kids weren’t exactly on the best terms with their father despite what they claim. Allegra claims that she still loved her father despite his problems but her opinion of Jill Vandenberg is substantially less positive.
Jamie Lee Curtis gave a heartfelt eulogy at her father’s funeral but later on, she has spoken at length about her father’s many failings as a parent. She claims that there was absolutely no bond between them and that he was always estranged and distant.
By the way, if you’re digging this video so far, make sure you give it a like and subscribe to our channel. And make sure you stick around for the rest of the video. In a minute we’re going to take a look at Tony Curtis’s scandalous affair with Marilyn Monroe, but before we talk about that, prepare yourself for this hot take.
Maybe Jill Deserved The Money?
Jamie Lee speculates that Jill has already squandered the family fortune. She refused to join in with her sibling’s suit because she felt like it was a fruitless endeavor.
And fruitless it was. Her sister’s lawsuit and subsequent appeals were entirely unsuccessful at changing the terms of the will. To be fair, it sounded pretty cut and dry. Tony didn’t want them to have any of his money. Nothing was going to change that.
Maybe, just maybe, the money all went to the right place. Curtis’s kids obviously all feel some type of way about being disinherited. Jamie Lee Curtis certainly doesn’t need the money, but as a matter of principle she certainly wasn’t happy with her father’s decision, but maybe Jill really deserved the inheritance after all.
Jill and Tony met in 1993 while dining at a restaurant. The two got married 5 years later when he was 73 and she was 30. That age gap might raise a few eyebrows, but Jill was there for Tony when he needed her the most.
When Nicholas died of a heroin overdose, Tony was devastated and felt lost, but it was Jill that helped him through the grieving process.
In 2008, Tony said that he was deeply satisfied with Jill and that he didn’t want anyone else in his life. He went on to explain that for the first time in his life he felt love and not just lust.
Seeing as Tony battled sex addiction for much of his life, finding real love was significant. When he was with Jill, he was able to give up many of his vices such as his drug and alcohol problems. In so many ways, Jill helped him clean up his act and establish a life worth living.
When Tony got sick, it was Jill that served as his personal nurse for the remaining years of his life. When he battled pneumonia in 2006, he nearly died and needed a wheelchair even after recovering. He also suffered from COPD and had a very difficult time breathing in his final years. Jill stood by him throughout all of this.
Even still, it’s curious whatever happened to his promise to take care of his children. It’s understandable that their relationship was difficult at best, but a promise is still a promise.
Tony Curtis Almost Had Another Child With Marilyn Monroe
While shooting Some Like It Hot, Curtis infamously said that kissing Marilyn Monroe was like ‘kissing Hitler’. Obviously he was being sarcastic, but in truth, Curtis and Monroe were secretly involved in an affair. As a result. Monroe got pregnant but she later had a miscarriage.
The two stars first met in 1949 and had a brief fling, but they didn’t get close again until they were both working on the same set with each other.
Curtis was married to Janet Leigh at the time and Marilyn Monroe was wed to Arthur Miller, the playwright.
It was actually when they were admitting to their affair to Miller that Marilyn blurted out that she was pregnant. Curtis had no idea.
After that awkward exchange, he was told that he should stay away from Monroe and her husband while they finished up filming. It wasn’t until post-production that Curtis found out that Monroe had miscarried.
Curtis’s marriage to Janet Leigh would fall apart in 1962. Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller’s union would fall apart in 1961 – a year before her death.
Well, here we are yet again at the end of another facts-tastic video.
It really is crazy to think about how Tony Curtis left absolutely nothing to his kids. He must have had strong feelings and a good reason to intentionally write them out. It’s also fairly clear that his children will always feel bitter about that decision.
Do you think his kids should have gotten a percentage of his inheritance or do you think he was justified in leaving it all to his wife? Let us know what you think down below in the comments section.
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