In 1959, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh invited a photographer into their home to introduce the newest addition to their family. Flashbulbs popped as Tony gave their toddler daughter Kelly a hug while a glowing Janet cradled infant Jamie Lee.

On the surface, the late 1950s seemed the best of times for Tony. With a beautiful, loving wife, a growing family and an Oscar nomination for 1958’s The Defiant Ones, he was a man envied by millions.

However, the emotional scars Tony bore from his traumatic childhood always prevented him from embracing love and happiness for very long. Only work could quiet his restless spirit.

“He was happiest when he was creating,” daughter Kelly Curtis tells Closer. “On a film set, in front of a group of fans, or alone in his art studio painting.”

Tony Curtis Was Happiest When He Was 'Creating' After Tragic Childhood Led to 'Compulsive' Behavior

In childhood, when he was still called Bernard Schwartz, the future actor would go to the movies to escape his physically abusive mother, who would later be diagnosed as schizophrenic.

“You want everybody to love you when you’re a kid. And if your mother doesn’t love you, or doesn’t act like she loves you, where are you gonna go?” he said.

He suffered other ordeals, too. Tony and his younger brother Julius were sent to an orphanage, where they experienced bullying and anti-Semitism, when their parents had no money for food.

A few years later, Julius would die after being hit by a truck, and Tony would blame himself. Another brother, Robert, would be institutionalized for schizophrenia.

“I was always being fed by this disaster that happened in my life,” Tony said. “And my behavior changed. I became very compulsive.”

Despite their golden-couple aura, Tony strayed during his marriage to Janet but blamed his wife — who struggled with alcohol and prescription pill abuse — for not loving him.

“I realized that whatever I was, I wasn’t enough for Janet. That hurt me a lot and broke my heart,” he said. The couple’s 1962 divorce and Tony’s subsequent marriage to the much younger actress Christine Kaufmann tarnished his reputation.

“If a marriage didn’t work out, what are you sitting around for?” he reasoned. “Didn’t I have as much right as anyone else to search for my future and my companionship the way I wanted?”

Over the years, the actor married four more times and fathered four additional children — including his son Nicholas, who died of a drug overdose in 1994 at age 23.

Tony regretted not being there for his son. “I was shattered: this son of mine to die so ignominiously,” he said.

After a lifetime of heartbreak, Tony did find some satisfaction in his later years. He married his sixth wife, Jill Vandenberg, who was 45 years his junior, in 1998.

They moved to Nevada, where they operated the Shiloh Horse Rescue and Sanctuary for abused animals. Tony also found peace in his fine artwork. “Life’s been a battle, but now it’s eased its way,” he said in 2008, two years before he would die from a heart ailment at age 85. “Those memories have softened up and I don’t feel so bad about things.”