"Some Like It Hot." "The Sweet Smell of Success." "Spartacus." "The Defiant Ones." "The Great Imposter." Tony Curtis had plenty of bad moments in his career ("The Bad News Bears Go to Japan"!!) and in his personal life, but he left behind some fine performances and stellar films. I especially like him in "Sweet Smell," where he embodied moral flexibility and up-from-nothing ambition, and "Some Like It Hot," where he not only matches comic note for note with Jack Lemmon but is splendid in his faux-Cary-Grant scenes.
He could swagger and wink when the part called for it, but he also knew his way around a drama. Yes, the Bronx accent could seem odd -- check out his soldier in "Winchester '73" -- but it worked to his advantage in some roles, and he learned to put it aside in others. He had that knack for making the audience like him even when he was doing terrible things, and then making us like him even more if he turned back to the good. He's well represented in my movie library, and should have a place in yours.
The EW obit is here.