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American Prince: A Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 14, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“[F]illed with fond recollections of [Curtis’s] friendships with the famous and powerful but punctuated, too, by harsh words for Hollywood legends he says did him wrong….Curtis spares few intimate details about his years as a Hollywood lothario, including his teenage affair with a redheaded, ponytailed Marilyn Monroe.”
USA Today

Praise for Tony Curtis

“When you’re with Tony Curtis, you’re with somebody very alive. He was—and is—one of the most ‘up’ people I have ever known.”
—Sidney Poitier

“Tony Curtis could have just been the beautiful young leading man, handsome, charming as hell . . . [but] he wanted to be a good actor, and he’s the only guy I know wholearned his craft successfully.”
—Jack Lemmon

“For Some Like It Hot, I wanted a straight leading man and a comedian. I was sure Tony was right for it. Tony is so open and animated. . . . It was a huge, wonderful
plus for the picture.”
—Billy Wilder

About the Author

TONY CURTIS is one of Hollywood’s greatest stars. Today, he lives with his wife, Jill, outside of Las Vegas, where he continues to create paintings that have made him newly famous as a visual artist the world over. They are the founders of the Shiloh Horse Rescue and Sanctuary, a nonprofit foundation that rehabilitates abused and neglected horses for adoption.

PETER GOLENBOCK has written six New York Times bestsellers over a thirty-year career. In 2006 he cowrote the bestselling Idiot with then–Boston Red Sox, now–New York Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon. His book Seven, about Mickey Mantle, was published in 2007.

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307408493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307408495
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first copy was immediately grabbed from my hands by an avid Tony Curtis fan. So (sigh) I got another because I knew that first copy was history.

For those of you who like honest, open memoirs written with "no holds barred"....this ought to be very appealing. I prefer when writers write openly about their revelations, confessions, regrets and joys with readers...and I felt Mr. Curtis did this. There is also plenty of info in here that I didn't know before but I can't say for sure if a die hard Curtis fan would already know these facts about his marriages, estrangements from children, resentments about roles that went to other actors, etc.

For me, much of the information was new and I also enjoyed the style of this book. For those he likes (Sidney Poitier), his affection is clear. For those he hates, he pulls no punches and isn't particularly kind toward Jerry Lewis or Danny Kaye, among others.

As hard as he can be on some actors, Curtis is also able to look at himself with judgment, admitting to his shortcomings as both spouse and father. He isn't particularly close to Jamie Lee Curtis or his other children.

Confession time...when I was young,I had a huge crush on Curtis. As a result, I'm a bit baffled about how and why he didn't get many parts as a mature or older actor, something noted by film critics and others. As Newman and Redford and others aged, they continued to appear on screen but Curtis seemed to have a smoldering, edgy sexuality that may have overshadowed his very real acting talent. Just a personal take. I heard rumors of drug problems, too, but I never delved too deeply into that so they remain rumors to me - and nothing more.

For those interested in art, do check out his artwork. Information about that can be found if you search online, very easily.
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Format: Hardcover
This book needs to be read in conjunction with Mr. Curtis's previous autobiography: Tony Curtis the autobiography by Tony Curtis (Author)and Barry Paris, which I found to be a far better book. The text is virtually identical, except for the removal of Mr. Paris's notes which filled in the background story. The biggest difference is that whereas the first book was kind to costars, ex-wives and everyone but Marilyn Monroe, Shelly Winters and his mother, the current memoirs tell all and trash the dead (except for Ms. Monroe who has been transformed into "the great love of my early youth", with nary a peep about the immoral drug abusing self-destructive narcissistic woman previously recollected. Whereas in his previous book, if he hadn't a good word to say about someone, he would merely note that "we had our differences", this time the conveniently dead come in for more savage recollections.

I was never a fan of Tony Curtis, he simply happened to be in films that I saw from time to time. His name on a marquee would not draw me into the cinema, but I enjoyed his first bio for the insight into movie making, especially the cost accounting, and finished it with a respect for the author's discretion. Sadly, this latest effort has changed that opinion. The book is simply a rehash with a few unkind and salacious titbits thrown in.
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Format: Hardcover
Simply by acknowledging the title of this memoir, Tony Curtis obviously fancies himself a prince among men. Yet the behavior he recounts here, divulging it of his own volition, makes it clear that he is anything but regal.

Much to his credit, Mr. Curtis is brutally self-aware and revelatory regarding his life in AMERICAN PRINCE. His honesty is admirable; his life, less so.

He seems to have no shame about the way in which he regularly cheated on all of his wives; if anything, he seems rather proud. He also is unashamed of--if somewhat perplexed by--the fact that he has not been able to sustain ongoing relationships with any of the children he had by three of those wives, or with his children's children in turn.

The report of his brother Julie's death is one of the most touching I ever have read. Taken in the context of this larger work, however, one cannot help wondering whether his failure to supervise the younger boy, as he was instructed to do by his parents, led to the circumstances which killed Julie.

Even the report of his mother's death, horrible as she apparently was to him, reflects so poorly on Curtis that one wonders why he included it in the memoir.

Still, Tony Curtis did arrive in Hollywood at the very end of the famous studio system and he has some wonderful anecdotes to share about that time. He knew almost everyone who counted in what was a golden era, most of them now long gone. His life was peopled with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Mae West, Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson, Debbie Reynolds and on and on.

He does not hesitate, either, to tell things as he saw them, even if his recollections are less than kind. He is nothing if not forthcoming.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not a big fan of Hollywood biographies, but once in a while, I'll read one out of idle curiosity. My last excursion was William Shatner's autobiography and it was a delight. The man has had a far richer life than I would have imagined. Marlon Brando and Bob Dylan also penned interesting biographies describing their very interesting lives, both outer and inner.

I remember Tony Curtis from my youth as being a "pretty boy" who appeared mostly silly, forgettable movies, but also appeared in great films such as "Some Like It Hot", "The Defiant Ones" and "Spartacus".

So why not, I figured, and spent the very few hours this book requires to read.

It is, in a single word, awful. Or perhaps more to the point, Tony Curtis presents himself as a rather vapid person whose overriding interest was having sex with virtually every woman he met (even during the course of three marriages), essentially ignoring the children he fathered in each of those marriages (and then complaining that most of these children have strained relationships with him), who his "close" friends were and are (Sinatra, Brando and Hefner, of course, and oh so many others), what cars he drove and so on and forth till the cows come on.

Curtis is "oh, woe is me" from the first page on. His mom and dad were mean to him. He didn't have a lot of friends when he was a kid. He was sensitive to slights, real or imagined, because he was a (non-practicing) Jew. His wives didn't understand him. His children don't like him. When he was in his sixties, he no longer got movie parts. And on and on and on.

It is all about Tony Curtis, which would be fine if there was some depth of any kind to it, but there isn't.
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