Tony Curtis, the famous actor, died in 2010. He fathered six children, but who did he leave his money to?
Despite having children, Tony Curtis’ money was left to his wife. Jill Vandenburg Curtis, the actor’s fifth wife was the beneficiary of his will and received his money and possessions.
Read more about Tony Curtis and the dispute over his will below.
Who was Tony Curtis?
Tony Curtis was born to Jewish, Hungarian parents in 1925. Named Bernard Schwartz, he was one of three brothers.
He grew up in the Bronx, New York, and had a complex childhood. His mother suffered from schizophrenia and is believed to have been physically abusive to Curtis and his brothers.
When his parents experienced financial issues, he was placed into the care of the state. In 1938, one of his brothers was killed in a traffic accident.
Curtis began spending time with gangs and was often subjected to anti-Semitic abuse.
During World War Two, he served in the military as part of the Navy. Afterward, he returned to New York and began a career in acting.
First, he attended acting classes and was soon appearing in theatre shows. For his acting career, he decided to use the stage name, Anthony Curtis.
He began to win small movie roles and quickly became a leading Hollywood figure. He went on to star in movies including ‘The Defiant Ones’, ‘Spartacus’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’.
Over the course of his career, he appeared in over 100 movies.
Behind the cameras, Curtis began a relationship with Janet Leigh, a fellow actor who had starred in the movie ‘Psycho’. The two married and had two children, Kelly and Jamie.
Their youngest child, Jamie Lee Curtis, would later become a movie star in her own right.
After more than a decade, the couple split. During their marriage, it was rumored that Curtis had an affair with Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe.
Following the separation, Curtis married Christine Maria Kaufmann, his co-star. The couple had two children together, Allegra and Alexandra, though they split after five years together.
His third marriage was to Leslie Allen, a well-known medal. After a 14 year marriage and having had two sons together, the couple divorced.
His last marriage began in 1998, this time tying the knot with Jill Vandenburg, who he met at a restaurant.
Death and Inheritance
In 2010, Curtis died at the age of 85. He passed away in his Nevada home and the cause of death was determined to be heart failure.
“He died peacefully here, surrounded by those who love him and have been caring for him,” his wife Jill Vandenburg Curtis said.
Just months before his death, Curtis amended his will, stating that he wished for his belongings and money to go to his wife. Reportedly, the will read “I acknowledge the existence of my children… and have intentionally and with full knowledge chosen not to provide for them.”
Vandenberg was his fifth wife and was significantly younger, with a 42 year age gap between the couple.
It is believed that the actor was worth around $60 million.
Following his death, several of his possessions were auctioned off. The items sold ranged from high-value artwork to letters exchanged between Curtis and other celebrities.
An Andy Warhol painting from Curtis’ collection sold for $53 thousand, while a Chagall picture brought in $23 thousand. In total, more than 500 of Curtis’ possessions were sold off.
The proceeds of the auction were received by his widow, with his charity also receiving some of the money raised. Curtis’ children were unhappy about the auction, stating that their father “Deserves better.”
They described the auction as the “dissemination” of his estate. “Jill Curtis is the only beneficiary of this auction. She did not consult us,” they said.
Some of Curtis’ children went on to launch legal action in an attempt to access some of their father’s estate. This was ultimately unsuccessful.