Tony Curtis collection tops $1 million at auction

Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:38pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fine art, jewelry and Hollywood memorabilia owned by Tony Curtis -- including the yachtsman jacket he wore in "Some Like It Hot" -- brought in over $1 million on the auction block on Saturday, more than twice the presale estimates.

Curtis, who enjoyed a 60-year career in show business before his death in 2010 at age 85, appeared in more than 100 films and received an Oscar nomination for the 1958 drama "The Defiant Ones." He was an art lover and painter as well.

The estate items on sale at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills featured property Curtis acquired throughout his life, from the time he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II to the 2000s. The presale estimate on the collection was $500,000.

Highlights included the Andy Warhol "Some Like It Hot" shoe lithograph, signed by Warhol to Curtis around 1955, which sold for $53,125; the "Some Like It Hot" yachtsman jacket, which sold for $46,875; and a signed Marc Chagall colored lithograph, which raised $23,125.

Collectibles on offer also included earthenware vases by Pablo Picasso, which fetched $20,625, and a sterling silver cigarette case from the John Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson inauguration, which sold for $6,875.

Curtis' Hollywood Walk of Fame plaque brought in $10,000.

Among Curtis' most memorable movies were the Billy Wilder comedy "Some Like It Hot," co-starring Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. His credits include "Spartacus," "The Boston Strangler" and "The Defiant Ones," in which he played a white prison escapee who is chained to a black man, portrayed by Sidney Poitier.

While his Hollywood career was glamorous, Curtis' personal life was racked by turmoil and change. He was married five times. His first and most famous wife was actress Janet Leigh.

A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit Shiloh Horse Rescue, a charitable organization founded by Curtis and his wife, Jill, that rescues and rehabilitates abused, neglected and slaughter-bound horses.

(Writing by Sheri Linden; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)