A vigorous heterosexual in his widely publicized (not least by himself) private life, he was often cast in roles that drew on a perceived ambiguity: his full-drag impersonation of a female jazz musician in “Some Like It Hot,” a slave who attracts the interest of a Roman senator (Laurence Olivier) in Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” (1960), a man attracted to a mysterious blond (Debbie Reynolds) who turns out to be the reincarnation of his male best friend in Vincente Minnelli’s “Goodbye Charlie” (1964).
Curtis' career fizzled in the late 1960s, after he had already divorced Ms. Leigh, with whom he had two daughters, Jamie and Kelly, and never quite regained its steam, although Curtis did continue to act throughout the decades, including a stint on the late 1970s television show Ca$ino, and the actor successfully remained a Hollywood icon.
For those of you who have never seen the movie, here's a clip from Some Like It Hot, which costarred Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon. Curtis would later say of his time in drag: "I'm telling you, getting dressed as a woman is no easy experience. You can get very intimidated by it."