Tony Curtis cut his five kids from his will and left it all to wife, who remarried three years after his death

Tony Curtis left behind a legacy of timeless classics and a superstar daughter among his brood of six children.

When the casanova of the silver screen died almost 13 years ago, The Sweet Smell of Success turned sour for his children after he disinherited them, leaving his fortunes to his much younger wife, in a will that he revised shortly before his death.

When the legendary actor Tony Curtis died at 85 in 2010, he left behind a stellar career in Hollywood’s Golden Age, with classic films including his Academy-nominated performance in The Defiant Ones, Some Like it Hot and Spartacus.

After serving with the US Navy in World War II, the handsome man–born Bernard Schwartz–returned home and studied acting in college, catching his big break with the lead role in 1951’s The Prince Who Was a Thief.  

It was the same year he married his first wife, Janet Leigh, also an actor famed for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, where she played the woman stabbed to death in the shower.

Curtis and Leigh appeared together in the film Houdini, where Curtis played the titular lead. The couple had two children together, Kelly (born 1956) and Jamie Lee Curtis (born 1958), the latter who carved her own identity as a celebrated actress in Hollywood.

“My parents’ bond had deteriorated precipitously as their stardom grew. Like any other save-the-marriage baby, I failed,” said Jamie, an Oscar-winning actor. “My parents hated each other my whole life. I was raised in a house of hatred…My mother persevered through it all and survived. I’m not sure my sister and I did. There was no Demi [Moore] and Bruce [Willis] amicable divorce or joint family vacations for us. No love was left between them.”  

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Curtis divorced Leigh in 1962 and the year after, he married Christine Kauffman, his co-star from 1962’s Taras Bulba.

The coupling of Curtis and Kauffman resulted in two more children, Alexandra (born 1964) and Allegra Curtis (born 1966).

The pair divorced in 1968, the same year Curtis was nominated for a Golden Globe in his performance of the serial killer in the biographical crime drama The Boston Strangler

In the same year he divorced Kauffman, he found love again and married Leslie Allen, who added two sons, Nicholas Curtis (born 1970) and Benjamin Curtis (born 1973), to his clutch of four girls.

His marriage to Allen dissolved in 1982 and in his following three marriages–his last Jill Vanderberg who was widowed when he died–he had no more children.

He finally had the boys he wanted but in 1994, his firstborn son Nicholas died at 23 after having a seizure related to a heroin overdose. This event completely shattered Curtis.

“He was already tall and handsome and smart. I felt very strongly that he died like that,” the award-winning actor said in an interview. “I was shattered…I was shattered: this son of mine to die so ignominiously.”

Four years after Nicholas died, Curtis married Jill, a lingerie model turned horse trainer.

Today’s Trail Ride Wrangler Horse, Tanis ❤️Muley Hill Lodge

Posted by Jill Curtis-Weber on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

After years of declining health, Curtis died of cardiac arrest and his five children were shocked when his will (that he revised in months before his death) revealed that his widow Jill who was 42 years his junior was getting it all.

His children were given nothing.

The will names all five children by name and outlines that each one was intentionally disinherited, with no explanation provided.

Puzzled by the lack of division in the estate, Allegra said the family believes their father was the victim of “influence,” when he made the changes to the will.

“It’s written there but I don’t believe that was his last wishes,” Allegra shared with Inside Edition. “I believe he was influenced, and we all know who he was influenced by. I don’t need to say her name.”
But, court papers filed by her sister Kelly named their suspect. The filing says, “…Is a result of duress, menace, fraud or undue influence by Jill Curtis and/or others.”

There has yet to be a notable update relating to the lawsuit.


One year after his death, his widowed wife had an auction to unload his property and belongings, and collecting more than $1 million, she kept the money to herself.

Auctioned items included an Andy Warhol painting that fetched $53,125, the yachtsman jacket worn by Curtis in Some Like it Hot that sold for $48,000, and a Firebird Convertible that went for $21,250.

Allegra called out her stepmother, claiming that she failed to inform his family of the sale, also refusing them any sentimental items to remember their father.

“Jill Curtis is the only beneficiary of this auction. She did not consult us. This is not what my dad would have wanted. Jill’s even selling off credit cards and driver licenses,” Allegra said. “She’s also selling my dad’s letters to Cary Grant, Jerry Lewis, Picasso–these belong in a museum. It’s the dissemination of the estate of Tony Curtis. He deserves better.”


Despite the rift, his daughters think of him fondly.

“He was one of the funniest people ever,” Allegra tells Closer magazine in 2021. “He would call me and leave me a message like, ‘Allegra, this is Dracula. How long is your neck?’”

Kelly–who’s older than her widowed stepmother by about 11 years–adds, “I remember his cologne, Vetiver by Guerlain Paris, and his midnight blue velvet blazers. He went through what we call his ‘Italian count’ phase.” She continued, “I know he loved me and my sisters and brothers deeply and we loved him with our hearts and souls. Ours was a deep bond.”


Referring to her late dad’s relationship with his father and mother, the latter who was an abusive schizophrenic, Kelly adds, “He worshipped his father and loved his mother, but I don’t believe he ever felt taken care of by his parents.”

When Curtis was a child, him and his big brother Julius were handed to a state institution because his parents couldn’t afford to feed the three boys.

When Julius was only 12, he hit by a truck and killed. Curtis at the time had been running with gangs in the Bronx, but his brother’s death traumatized him to clean up his act.

Curtis spent the last few years of his life living on 40 acres outside of Las Vegas, property that him and his wife converted into a farm for hundreds of rescued horses.

Today marks the 10th year since my late husband, Tony, passed away. He had a long and wonderful life, was very blessed…

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Jill, now Jill Curtis-Weber, remarried three years after Curtis died and sold the ranch in 2019.

Meanwhile, Curtis is buried with a pair of his son Nicholas’ baby shoes.

“These instances in my life had a big, big influence for me. You see, those three experiences — the two boys and my mother–was enough tragedy for me, was enough ghosts for me. I didn’t need any more than that,” Curtis said of the triple tragedies in his life: his mom, his brother Julius and lastly, his son Nicholas.


We are so happy that Tony Curtis shared his talents with the world but we are also incredibly saddened to learn of his traumatizing upbringing, including the loss of his brother Julius and son Nicholas.

What do you think of his last wife Jill? Do you believe she influenced changes made to his will?