Who Is Jamie Lee Curtis?
The daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis embarked on her own celebrated acting career by starring in the horror classic Halloween (1978). She later drew favorable reviews for her roles in the comedies Trading Places (1983) and A Fish Called Wanda (1988), and earned a Golden Globe for co-starring in the sitcom Anything But Love. Married to fellow actor Christopher Guest, Curtis is also an acclaimed author of children's books.
Born November 22, 1958, in Los Angeles, California, Jamie Lee Curtis was introduced to show business an early age, although she didn't immediately decide to become an actress. She was a cheerleader at the all-girls Westlake School in Los Angeles, and graduated from the prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut in 1976.
Following a semester at the University of the Pacific, Curtis was convinced to audition for a role as teenage detective Nancy Drew. Although she didn't get the part, she soon dropped out of school to pursue acting.
Curtis initially landed spots on such shows as Quincy M.E. and Columbo. She even earned a role on the short-lived military comedy Operation Petticoat, which was based on a 1959 film that starred her father.
Curtis' real breakthrough came in 1978, when she starred in John Carpenter's classic horror flick Halloween. The unexpected success of this film led to more work in the horror genre, including Prom Night (1980), The Fog (1980) and Halloween II (1981), and resulted in the actress becoming known as the "Scream Queen."
Rise to Stardom: 'Death of a Centerfold,' 'Trading Places'
On the small screen, Curtis showed her dramatic talents in Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981). She played the title character, a Playboy model, who died at the hands of her abusive and controlling husband. Curtis also displayed her comic chops in the 1983 hit film Trading Places with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. Her portrayal of a soft-hearted hooker helped take her career to a new level.
Curtis landed a number of leading film roles, with decidedly mixed results. She earned positive reviews for Love Letters (1983) and Grandview, U.S.A. (1984). Perfect (1985), however, proved to be anything but perfection. Starring opposite John Travolta, Curtis played an aerobics instructor in this box-office dud.
'A Fish Called Wanda,' 'True Lies,' More 'Halloween'
Curtis enjoyed another wave of success in the late 1980s, starting with the acclaimed comedy A Fish Called Wanda (1988). She headlined the sitcom Anything But Love with comedian Richard Lewis from 1989 to 1992, earning a Golden Globe Award for her work in 1990. Curtis then showed another side of her acting abilities by taking on the action-adventure genre in True Lies (1994). She portrayed a suburban housewife unaware that her husband (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a spy, a performance that garnered her a second Golden Globe victory.
Curtis returned to her horror roots by starring in the sequels: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002). Though she gave memorable supporting performances in 2000's Drowning Mona and 2001's Tailor of Panama, her next significant box-office success came with a younger crowd when she starred alongside Lindsay Lohan in the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday.
Curtis is one of the few celebrity writers to win over both critics and readers. She has enjoyed tremendous success as a children's book author. Her first children's work, When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth, was published in 1993.
Much of her inspiration has come from her two children with actor-filmmaker Christopher Guest. The adoption of their oldest child, Annie, led to her second book, Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born (1996). Two years later, she co-authored the New York Times bestseller Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day. Additionally, in 2006 she wrote Is There Really a Human Race?, which she says was inspired by her and Guest's adopted son Tom.
Later Film and TV Work
Curtis' screen appearances dwindled after Christmas with the Kranks (2004), and she primarily became known as the spokesperson for Activia yogurt for several years. Still, she surfaced for parts in generally lighthearted fare, including Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) and You Again (2010).
Starting in 2012, Curtis popped up in recurring roles on such popular TV programs as NCIS and New Girl. Fittingly, she made a full-time return to TV in 2015 with Scream Queens, playing the dean of a university terrorized by a serial killer. That year, Curtis also starred in Spare Parts, a drama based on the real-life story of four high school students who enter a robotics competition.
Forty years after her big screen debut as Laurie Strode in one of horror's classic films, Curtis was set to face the evil Mike Myers once again in a new Halloween (2018). This time, the actress said, her character has readied herself to take on her longtime nemesis. "In this case, she is well-matched, she is prepared, she is focused," said Curtis. "She will be the one people are standing behind when that moment comes, because she's the one ready."
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