The series in which we investigate the Semitic qualities (or otherwise) of someone in the news
Tony Curtis — who starred in classic movies Some Like It Hot and Spartacus — has been in London promoting his art exhibition. But just how Jewish is the Hollywood veteran? AGAINST: In his 60year film career, Curtis has played many roles, among them an escaped convict, a serial killer, a Viking, a Cossack, and a Roman slave. None of them what you call haimishe. He has been married five times, and not one of his wives has been Jewish, although one was German. In his younger days — he’s 85 now — he, shall we say, took full advantage of the opportunities afforded by being famous and goodlooking. “I had more action than Mount Vesuvius,” he boasted. Not something that would have made his mother kvell. FOR: Curtis is Jewish — but don’t be put off by that name. He was born Bernard Schwartz, in the Bronx, New York, in 1925, the son of HungarianJewish immigrant parents Emanuel, a tailor, and Helen Schwartz. Besides, he has a Jewish sense of humour. When he married his current wife, Jill Vandenberg, 42 years his junior, he was asked whether he was worried about the potentially life-threatening physical demands of consummating the relationship. “No,” he replied, “if she dies, she dies.” VERDICT: Forget the promiscuity and the fact he was a Cossack — Bernie’s one of us.