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Did Tony Curtis Say That Kissing Marilyn Monroe Was "Like Kissing Hitler"?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 5/10/2015 Brian Cronin

There is a particular fascination among movie fans with the on-screen kisses. The greatest smooches live on for decades after all the parties involved have long since passed away. Thus, it is no surprise that there are a number of legends out there about on-screen kisses, whether it be the surprising fate of Elvis Presley's first on-screen kiss or the clever way a film managed to adhere to Kirk Cameron's strict rule to kiss no one but his own wife.
One of the most famous legends about an on-screen kiss is what Tony Curtis supposedly said about kissing Marilyn Monroe when they filmed the classic Billy Wilder film Some Like It Hot together in the summer of 1958.
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Curtis and Monroe had actually had a bit of a tryst in the very early 1950s (likely 1950 exactly, but maybe 1949), when neither were particularly famous.
But by the time they co-starred together in Some Like It Hot, Curtis was an established box office star and Monroe, well, Monroe was already a bit of a pop culture icon.
An icon that did not appreciate the fact that she was playing yet another dumb blonde in her first film in two years. She had come out of semi-retirement to appear in Some Like It Hot, but it is clear that she was not thrilled to do so, but rather was making a concession to the fact that it was likely to be a hit film.
While filming Some Like It Hot, Monroe was habitually late, ruined scenes and was overall an extremely difficult person to be around. Director Billy Wilder did not even invite her to the wrap party for the movie.
In the film, Curtis plays Monroe's love interest.
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When asked what kissing Monroe was like, Curtis reportedly said it was "like kissing Hitler."
The story became an instant Hollywood legend, the sort of thing that would be repeated no matter the veracity.
As to the truth of the quote, Curtis muddied that up when he denied saying it a number of times. In an interview about fifteen years ago, Curtis said of Monroe:

She would play Jack Lemmon off against me or me against him, and Billy Wilder against both of us. But I never said kissing her was like kissing Hitler! I don't know where that came from.

Where it came from was a screening room during the making of Some Like It Hot where most of the crew were watching the dailies of the film. Someone commented that Curtis' kissing scene with Monroe looked like he was really enjoying himself, so they asked what it was like. Curtis blithely responded that it was like kissing Hitler. It got a big laugh, although it greatly upset Paula Strasberg, who in the room (Strasberg was Monroe's acting coach, and her confidante - she was on the film as a sort of mini-entourage for Monroe). Monroe was not in the room at the time, but she of course was filled in soon enough by Strasberg. The room was filled with plenty of witnesses to the quote, though.
Soon before his death in 2010, however, Curtis finally admitted to the story, only he argued that it was not serious, he was just trying to get a laugh and to also make fun of the absurdity of the question.
That sounds believable enough, but either way, the legend is...
STATUS: True
Thanks to David Fantle's Reel to Real: 25 Years of Celebrity Interviews for the first quote from Curtis, and thanks to Curtis' autobiography, released soon before his death, American Prince: A Memoir for his final admission regarding the quote.
Be sure to read more film legends like this at my archive of movie legends here.
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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