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Michael CurtizA Life in Film$
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Alan K. Rode

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813173917

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813173917.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Out on His Shield

Out on His Shield

(p.535) 33 Out on His Shield
Michael Curtiz

Alan K. Rode

University Press of Kentucky

Curtiz separated from Bess before leaving for Italy to direct Francis of Assisi (1961). The Encino ranch was sold, and Curtiz continued keeping company with Ann Stuart, aka Anitra Stevens. Francis of Assisi was highlighted by a memorable Curtiz meltdown that indicated he might be becoming senile.He was assigned to direct The Commancheros (1962), starring John Wayne, at Fox.While they were on location in Utah, Curtiz’s behavior became erratic and he was physically debilitated. He eventually fell, injuring his leg, and Wayne directedmore than half of the picture. It was discovered that Curtiz was riddled with cancer and had only months to live. Bess and his doctor had known he’d had cancer since his 1958 appendectomy but had kept it from him so he could continue working.Curtiz died on April 10, 1962, at seventy-five. His will left half his estate to Ann Stuart, including land and his movie residuals. He also reneged on a previously executed support agreement for his daughter by Jill Gerrard (who sued Curtiz’s estate and won) and left nothing to any of his children other than Kitty. The chapter concludes by summarizing his life and those of his key intimates, noting that Curtiz’s films remain a rich legacy.

Keywords:   Francis of Assisi, Dolores Hart, Stuart Whitman, The Commancheros, John Wayne, Ann Stuart, Jill Gerrard, John Meredyth Lucas, Bess Meredyth, Hal Wallis

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