Tony Curtis Dies at Age 85

Tony Curtis Dies at Age 85

Heartfelt words from the tearful widow of Hollywood legend Tony Curtis, dead from a cardiac arrest at the age of 85.

Jill Vanderberg spoke exclusively to INSIDE EDITION at the Curtis home outside Las Vegas, where he died in his sleep Wednesday night.

"Tony was a great guy. His heart survived things that Tony would always say would have killed an ordinary man. That's absolutely true. This time, his heart was ready to go," said Vanderberg.

Vanderberg was the sixth wife of the man whose legacy was expressed perfectly by Matt Lauer who said, "When he got to Hollywood, he was like Brad Pitt and George Clooney rolled into one."

He was born Bernard Schwartz and grew up on a street in the Bronx, in New York City. He would later find fortune, fame, and a brand-new name in Hollywood."

Curtis and Jack Lemmon wore wigs and dresses in the legendary comedy Some Like It Hot. His Cary Grant imitation was pitch-perfect.

But Tony Curtis was also a serious actor, in films such as Spartacus and The Vikings. He was nominated for an Oscar® for his performance in the 1958 classic The Defiant Ones with Sidney Poitier.

Venderberg said, "All Tony wanted to be was a movie star. He didn't want to be the most dramatic actor. He wanted to be a movie star. Ever since he was a little kid."

His first wife was actress Janet Leigh, mother of their daughter, actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

Tony Curtis battled booze and drug addictions, but he never lost the twinkle in his eye. He was flanked by Playboy bunnies at a Hollywood event just a few years ago, and he turned on the charm for our Lisa Guerrero.

"Will I get into INSIDE EDITION?" asked Curtis.

"We hope so," replied Guerrero.

"Oh please, take me," said Curtis.

Toward the end, Curtis needed a wheelchair to get around.

Vanderberg said, "Tony had very bad lung problems from smoking. About 30 years ago he quit, but his lungs never worked the way they should have. Tony was a wonderful person and we were together 16 years, and we had a great time, right up until yesterday."

Tony Curtis once said, "My longevity is due to my good timing."