Feud Over Tony Curtis’ Will: Why He Left Jamie Lee And Four Other Children With Nothing

December 20, 2019

Hollywood heartthrob Tony Curtis was married six times and had six children (he also may have had a secret child from one of his highly publicized flings). You can say his most high-profile marriage was his first one, to actress Janet Leigh. It resulted in two children, daughters Kelly (b. 1956) and Jamie Lee (b. 1958), who followed their famous parents' paths and became actresses.

The actor’s second marriage, to Christine Kaufmann, resulted in two daughters, Alexandra (b. 1964) and Allegra (b. 1966). Allegra is an actress, like her parents and older sisters.

Getty Images / Ideal Image

Curtis’ sons, Nicholas (1970-1994) and Benjamin (b. 1973) were born in actor’s third marriage, to Leslie Allen. (Nicholas died of a heroin overdose, and his father and sister Jamie Lee also struggled with addiction.)

Getty Images / Ideal Image

The actor died in 2010, and one of the controversial decisions he made before his passing sparked a bitter feud between his children and his sixth and last wife, Jill Vandenberg.

The bitter feud over Curtis’ will

Tony Curtis was worth about $60 million at the time of his passing – sounds like enough to be distributed evenly between Jill and his five living children, right?

Getty Images / Ideal Image

But the actor chose to leave everything to his last wife and cut all of his children out of his will (although the document mentioned an undisclosed sum for his grandchildren’s education).

The final version of the will, signed just months before the actor’s passing, read:

I acknowledge the existence of my children… and have intentionally and with full knowledge chosen not to provide for them in this last will and testament.

Needless to say, the children – who were estranged from their dad – were not happy about such an arrangement. Some of them (Jamie Lee not included) tried to sue their late father’s wife for a share of his fortune, claiming their dad was pressured into cutting them out of the will by her, but their attempts were unsuccessful.

Getty Images / Ideal Image

“He was not a father”

It’s not like Jamie Lee needed any of her dad’s money, but she had a few nice things to say about him after his passing. She never got enough of what she really needed from him and her mom, and that wasn’t money – that was attention.

Speaking on The Talk a month after her father passed away, the actress acknowledged that he provided for his family (when they needed it) but said he was not a present father:

Children, as we all know, are complicated and messy. He was not a father and he was not interested in being a father.

Getty Images / Ideal Image

It looks like Curtis' relationship with his kids wasn't great, so he left all his money to the woman who, in his mind, cared about him most. Of course, this story is rather controversial, but anyways his decision should also be respected.