I met the legendary Tony Curtis through the iconic hairdresser Leonard. Although he was twenty years older than me, we got on like the proverbial house in fire. We had ridiculous amounts of fun together. Despite his great success he was always very real with me.
We were lads on a mission when we went out together and we indulged ourselves in many ways (I will leave that to your collective imaginations), went to numerous nightclubs over the years, drank champagne and danced with beautiful women because Tony loved to surround himself with beautiful women.
Our friendship spanned many decades and I took the above photo on the balcony of Dodi Al Fayed’s cousins apartment on Park Lane (London) just as it was getting dark in his later years.
I never saw him down he was always very funny and effervescent. I met him for tea at The Dorchester once and he was there dressed in his signature cowboy hat and wearing his gloves (pictured). While we were there people were constantly approaching him and asking for autographs and I said “Do you like all this, or does it drive you mad?”
He replied “No, no, no, I’ve waited all my life for this, I love it.” And he meant it too, he really did love it and he was so gracious to everyone who asked for his autograph. He was also exceptionally intelligent and understood things that few people other than photographers and film makers can understand. I could talk to him about my work, my complicated life, photographic lighting and he just got it. I had the pleasure of watching ‘Some Like It Hot’ with him on several occasions complete with his hilarious inside running commentary. They say that meeting your heroes can be disappointing but in this case meeting Tony surpassed all expectations.
- Clive Arrowsmith is still shooting stunning images, staging exhibitions and is as passionate about photography as he was when he first pressed the shutter at The Paris Collections. He is available for global media opportunities related to his work and photography generally. Bespoke prints from Clive’s archive are also available by special request, for any enquiries (email Eugenie here). Clive’s book Arrowsmith: Fashion, Beauty & Portraits is available here and Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 is available here