Wednesday, September 5, 2007
OUT OF ST. GEORGE, UTAH RIDES IN OUR CLASSMATE PAT CURTIS - CLASS OF 1957
Notre Dame High School
Class of 1957
Patrick and Annabel Curtis at the unveiling of his Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
Patrick started his journey in the entertainment industry in 1939, when he portrayed, “Baby Beau Wilkes,” in the beloved, GONE WITH THE WIND. Then, while still in diapers, he played Nicky Charles, Nick and Nora Charles’ baby in ANOTHER THIN MAN. For the next twenty years, he could be seen in over seventy motion pictures and television shows. His less then stellar talent usually cast him as the fifth kid on the right. Sometime during those early, thrilling days of yesteryear, his alter ego became the more show biz creditable, “Patrick Curtis,” instead of good ol’ Pat Smith. The Nuns at St. Charles, and the Brothers of Notre Dame, wisely paid no attention. But, for the last 50 years or so, he’s been Curtis to one and all.
Thanks to producers, Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, he was able to start his production career on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. When not in the cutting room, or pulling cable, he could sometimes be seen playing one of Wally’s friends, occasionally graduating to the third kid on the left. He was a very busy guy, with work, college and being engaged to the beautiful Linda Evans at the time. They met on the set of the OZZIE & HARRIET, where he shrewdly made sure he was the ONLY kid next to the delightful blonde from Hollywood High.
One of Patrick’s last film roles was in CIMARRON, starring Glenn Ford and Maria Schell. He played an elevator boy, circa 1912. Obviously, his acting career was either on its way up, or down, almost certainly the latter. He started filming on a Friday, and because of a pending Screen Actors Guild strike scheduled for Sunday at midnight, he worked almost sixty straight, quadruple golden time hours. Being an astute business kid, his greatly inflated paycheck led him directly to Felix Chevrolet, and a red, 1959 fuel injected Corvette. This is the car that terrorized Bob’s Big Boy and won a St. Patrick’s Day sports car rally with Patrick driving, and Spencer (Pat) Johnson as navigator. Tired of constantly being followed home by the entire North Hollywood and or Burbank Police Departments, he cunningly painted the Vette a less obtrusive, Fawn Beige. It didn’t help a bit!
Several years later, while on a location scout in San Diego, he met a stunning, San Diego State dance major. “What do you want to do with your life?” he asked. “I believe I want to be a model,” she replied. (Now comes the worst pick-up line it the history of the world!) “You’ll never be a model, because you look like an Italian movie star,” he said, “but, I’m going to make movies, and I want you to be in them!” Incredibly, she believed every word, and together they set out to successfully conquer Hollywood. His good friend, Charlton Heston once said, “Patrick is such a perfectionist, he was married to Raquel Welch for 14 years, and he expected her to cook!”
Patrick’s career as a motion picture and Television writer, producer and director, spans over forty years and encompasses more than thirty five major motion picture and television programs, many with Raquel. He even directed John Wayne, which is a whole story in itself. His award winning western, THE AVENGING ANGEL, starring; Tom Berenger, Charlton Heston and James Coburn, can currently be seen on the TNT Network. Patrick recently finished a pet film project of his, MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH, starring every B-western hero of our youth. This film won the Cannes Film Festival award for best motion picture, historical feature. He is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (The Oscars).
Try as he might to retire, he continues to write and produce THE GOLDEN BOOT AWARDS, saluting western movie heroes, heroines, directors and stunt people. This world renowned event, now in its 25th year, is held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and has raised millions of dollars for the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Patrick is on the Fund’s Executive Committee.
One of Patrick’s proudest moments was receiving a Beautiful People of Los Angeles Award, from St. Joseph’s Hospital, in recognition of his outstanding work in the community. He produced and directed over a dozen Public Service Commercials, at no cost, for such Valley organizations as MADD, and Activities for Retarded Children. This prestigious honor was presented to him by his lifelong friend, Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger. Oh, the next time you’re in Palm Springs, stop by and walk all over Patrick’s Star on Palm Canyon Drive’s, Walk of Stars. His star is in front of the Fudge Shop, of course!
A renowned public speaker, Patrick has traveled the world and sailed the seven seas, regaling audiences with his tales of the great and not so great characters he’s know, in his almost seventy years in Hollywood.
Patrick’s two children, Damon and Tahnee live in different parts of Europe, which gives him another great excuse to travel. He and his lovely wife of 19 years, Annabel, recently moved from the Palm Springs area, to St. George, Utah. Patrick is putting the finishing touches on his new book, “THE CROSSDRAW KID RIDES AGAIN,” a humorous look at growing up in Hollywood, during its Golden Age of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s.