The Movie Star Who Thought Marilyn Monroe Was A Terrible Kisser

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One of the enduring rules of Hollywood — and, by extension, Hollywood celebrities — is that the silver screen always makes everything larger than life. It's one of the joys of cinema (and media in general), but it's also one of its pitfalls, especially when it comes to the performers we come to admire. 

Celebrities might appear to be more attractive and fascinating than the people who appear in our own comparatively run-of-the-mill lives, but just because they hover somewhere between fantasy and reality doesn't mean that fantasy is actually willed into existence. The "celebrities — they're just like us!" joke is a joke for a reason: because it's true

In that vein, let's delve into what we're really here to talk about: kissing. Or rather, what one famous old Hollywood star said when asked what it was like to kiss bonafide sex symbol and cinema icon Marilyn Monroe. While the entertainment industry is rife with stories about who was and wasn't as fabulous a kisser as they appeared to be onscreen, this particular former co-star's criticism was unduly harsh. So who is the actor in question? And what was it he said that drew this particular amount of ire? Let's take a look.

Tony Curtis compared kissing Marilyn Monroe to 'kissing Hitler'

The actor in question? None other than Marilyn Monroe's former Some Like it Hot co-star Tony Curtis. When asked in an interview what it was like to kiss Monroe, Curtis held no punches. As the Daily Mail noted in a 2008 interview with Curtis himself, the actor once said that kissing Monroe "was like kissing Hitler." 

As a standalone quote, Curtis' take on what it was like to kiss Monroe seems about as dadaist as it is outrageous. And while the actor's word-for-word evaluation doesn't necessarily become more understandable with context, it certainly adds a bit of clarity as to why he would go out of his way to say something like that about Monroe. As author Donald Spoto noted in his biography on the actress, Curtis infamously made his Hitler comparison in reaction to the number of retakes Monroe insisted upon while filming, writing, "[Curtis] probably meant it could not possibly appeal to anyone but [Hitler's wife] Eva Braun."

Curtis, however, recanted the statement entirely more than four decades after Monroe's death in 1962. "I said it as a joke," Curtis insisted in his 2008 Daily Mail interview. "I mean, it was such a darn stupid question, so I gave a stupid answer."

After Marilyn Monroe's death, Tony Curtis said the kissing comments were only a joke

By all accounts, not only did Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe participate in an infamous feud during the filming of 1959's Some Like It Hot, but their ongoing spat was possibly the product of a nasty breakup between the two, who "became lovers" in the early '50s, per the Daily Mail. However, as per other sources, the whole thing might've not only been played up, it could have been a front for a much larger scandal.

According to his 2009 memoir American Prince, the well-documented, mutual dislike between Curtis and his co-star was (and continues to be) not only highly exaggerated but the exact opposite of what was really going on behind the scenes. As Curtis himself portrayed it (via The Guardian), not only were he and Monroe engaged in a passionate, extramarital affair while filming the Billy Wilder farce — Curtis was married to Psycho actress Janet Leigh and Monroe was with playwright Arthur Miller — but their relationship resulted in a pregnancy and, ultimately, a miscarriage. 

Even while alleging a relationship with Monroe on the set of the 1959 film, Curtis maintained that the kissing scenes weren't super pleasant. "It was awful," Curtis told the Daily Mail in 2008. "She nearly choked me to death by deliberately sticking her tongue down my throat into my windpipe."

Regarding the comments, Monroe had this to say (via Marilyn Monroe: The Biography): "If I have to do intimate love scenes with somebody who really has these kind of feelings toward me, then my fantasy can come into play ... out with him, in with my fantasy."