Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis (born November 22, 1958) is an American actress, author, and activist. She made her film acting debut in 1978 as Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's horror film Halloween. The film established her as a scream queen, and she appeared in a string of horror films in 1980, including The Fog, Prom Night, and Terror Train. She reprised the role of Laurie in the sequels Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), and Halloween (2018).

Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis (41851191720) (cropped).jpg
Curtis at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1958-11-22) November 22, 1958 (age 61)
Occupation
  • Actress
  • producer
  • director
  • author
  • blogger
  • activist
Years active1977–present
Spouse(s)
Children2
Parent(s)Tony Curtis
Janet Leigh
RelativesKelly Curtis (sister)
Allegra Curtis (half-sister)
Signature
Jamie Lee Curtis's signature.png

Curtis's film work spans many genres, including the cult comedies Trading Places (1983), for which she received a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress, and A Fish Called Wanda (1988), for which she earned a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress. She won a Golden Globe, an American Comedy Award, and a Saturn Award for playing the starring role of Helen Tasker in James Cameron's action comedy film True Lies (1994). Curtis's other major films include Blue Steel (1990), My Girl (1991), Forever Young (1992), The Tailor of Panama (2001), Freaky Friday (2003), Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008), You Again (2010), Veronica Mars (2014), and Knives Out (2019).

Curtis received a Golden Globe and a People's Choice Award for her portrayal of Hannah Miller on the ABC sitcom Anything But Love (1989–1992). She earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her work in the television film Nicholas' Gift (1998). She also starred as Cathy Munsch on the Fox horror comedy series Scream Queens (2015–2016), for which she earned her seventh Golden Globe Award nomination.

Curtis is the daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She is married to Christopher Guest, with whom she has two adopted children. She has written numerous children's books, with her 1998 release Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day making The New York Times's best-seller list. She is also a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post. Curtis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998.

Early life

 
Curtis with her mother, Janet Leigh

Curtis was born in Santa Monica, California, to actor Tony Curtis and actress Janet Leigh. Her father was Jewish, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants.[1] Two of her maternal great-grandparents were Danish, while the rest of her mother's ancestry is German and Scots-Irish.[2] Curtis has an older sister, Kelly Curtis, who is also an actress, and several half-siblings (all from her father's remarriages): Alexandra, actress Allegra Curtis, Benjamin, and Nicholas Curtis (who died in 1994 of a drug overdose).[3] Curtis's parents divorced in 1962. After the divorce, she stated her father was "not around" and that he was "not interested in being a father."[4]

Curtis attended Westlake School (now Harvard-Westlake School) in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills High School, and graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall. Returning to California in 1976, she attended her mother's alma mater, the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and studied law.[5][6] She dropped out after one semester to pursue an acting career.[7]

Career

Film performances

Curtis's film debut occurred in the 1978 horror film Halloween, in which she played the role of Laurie Strode. The film was a major success and was considered the highest-grossing independent film of its time, earning accolades as a classic horror film. Curtis was subsequently cast in several horror films, garnering her the title "scream queen".

 
Curtis at the 1989 Primetime Emmy Awards

Her next film was The Fog, which was helmed by Halloween director John Carpenter. The horror film opened in February 1980 to mixed reviews but strong box office,[8] starting Curtis as a horror film starlet. Her next film, Prom Night, was a low-budget Canadian slasher film released in July 1980. The film, for which she earned a Genie Award nomination for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress, was similar in style to Halloween, yet received negative reviews which marked it as a disposable entry in the then-popular slasher genre. That year, Curtis also starred in Terror Train, which opened in October and met with negative reviews akin to Prom Night. Both films performed moderately well at the box office.[9]

Curtis had a similar function in both films—the main character whose friends are murdered and is practically the only protagonist to survive. Film critic Roger Ebert, who gave negative reviews to all three of Curtis's 1980 films, said that Curtis "is to the current horror film glut what Christopher Lee was to the last one—or Boris Karloff was in the 1930s."[10] Curtis has returned to the Halloween series five times, playing Laurie Strode again in the sequels Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), and Halloween (2018), and having an uncredited voice role in Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982).

Her role in 1983's Trading Places helped Curtis shed her horror queen image, and garnered her a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.[11] She then starred in the 1988 comedy film A Fish Called Wanda, which achieved cult status while showcasing her as a comedic actress. For her performance, she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.[11] Curtis received positive reviews for her performance in the action thriller Blue Steel (1990), which was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. She also received a Golden Globe Award for her work in the 1994 action comedy film True Lies, directed by James Cameron.

Her other film roles also include the coming-of-age films My Girl (1991) and My Girl 2 (1994), and the Disney comedy film Freaky Friday (2003), opposite Lindsay Lohan. The latter was filmed at Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, California, near where Curtis and Guest lived with their children. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her performance in the film.[12] She starred in the Christmas comedy film Christmas with the Kranks (2004), which went on to gain a cult following.

In October 2006, Curtis told Access Hollywood that she had closed the book on her acting career to focus on her family. She returned to acting after being cast in June 2007 in Disney's live-action-animated film Beverly Hills Chihuahua, co-starring opposite Piper Perabo as one of three live-action characters in the film. She also starred in the 2010 comedy film You Again, opposite Kristen Bell and Sigourney Weaver.[13] Curtis had voice roles in the animated films The Little Engine That Could (2011) and From Up on Poppy Hill (2011). This was followed by supporting roles in the neo-noir mystery film Veronica Mars (2014) and the biographical drama film Spare Parts (2015).

Curtis returned to leading roles with her reprisal of Laurie Strode in the horror sequel film Halloween (2018). The film debuted to $76.2 million, marking the second-best ever opening weekend of October and the highest of the Halloween franchise.[14] Its opening performance was the best-ever for a film starring a lead actress over 55 years old. It also became the highest-grossing of the franchise.[15] Curtis' performance earned critical acclaim.[16] Also in 2018, she had a role in the drama film An Acceptable Loss. She then starred as Linda Drysdale-Thrombrey in Rian Johnson's mystery film Knives Out, which earned critical acclaim and over $300 million at the global box office.[17]

Curtis is set to again reprise her role as Laurie Strode in the horror sequel Halloween Kills, which is due for release in October 2021. She will reprise the role for the sequel Halloween Ends, which will be released in October 2022.[18] She will also appear in the science fiction action film Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Television performances

 
Curtis in 2011

Curtis made her television debut in a 1977 episode of the drama series Quincy, M.E.. She went on to guest star on several series, including Columbo, Charlie's Angels and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. She appeared as Nurse Lt. Barbara Duran in the short-lived comedy series Operation Petticoat (1977–1978), based on the 1959 film that starred her father, Tony Curtis. Curtis was also a gameshow panelist on several episodes of Match Game.

Curtis starred in the 1981 television film Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story, playing the eponymous doomed Playmate. She earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for her work in TNT's adaptation of the Wendy Wasserstein play The Heidi Chronicles. Her first starring role on television came opposite Richard Lewis in the situation comedy series Anything But Love, which ran for four seasons from 1989 through 1992. For her performance as Hannah Miller, she received a People's Choice Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. Curtis also appeared in a 1996 episode of the sitcom The Drew Carey Show. In 1998, she starred in the CBS television film Nicholas' Gift, for which she received an Primetime Emmy Award nomination.

In 2012, she appeared in five episodes of the police drama series NCIS, playing the role of Dr. Samantha Ryan, a potential romantic interest of Special Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon). During an interview, she stated that if they could develop a storyline, she would be interested to return to the series, but this never occurred.[19] The series reunited Curtis with Harmon, after he played her character's fiancé and later husband in the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday.[20]

From 2012 to 2018, Curtis had a recurring role as Joan Day, the mother of Zooey Deschanel's character, in the sitcom New Girl. From 2015 to 2016, Curtis had a lead role as Cathy Munsch on the Fox satirical horror comedy series Scream Queens, which aired for two seasons. For her performance, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy.

Children's books

Working with illustrator Laura Cornell, Curtis has written a number of children's books,[21] all published by HarperCollins Children's Books.[22]

 
Curtis autographing a copy of her children's book in 2010
  • When I Was Little: A Four-Year Old's Memoir of Her Youth, 1993.
  • Tell Me Again About The Night I was Born, 1996.
  • Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day, 1998; listed on the New York Times best-seller list for 10 weeks.[23]
  • Where Do Balloons Go?: An Uplifting Mystery, 2000.
  • I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem, 2002.
  • It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel, 2004.
  • Is There Really a Human Race?, 2006.
  • Big Words for Little People, ISBN 978-0-06-112759-5, 2008.
  • My Friend Jay, 2009, edition of one, presented to Jay Leno
  • My Mommy Hung the Moon: A Love Story, 2010.
  • My Brave Year of Firsts, 2016.
  • This Is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From, 2016.
  • Me, Myselfie & I: A Cautionary Tale, 2018.[24]

Invention

In 1987, Curtis filed a US patent application that subsequently issued as Patent No. 4,753,647. This is a modification of a diaper with a moisture-proof pocket containing wipes that can be taken out and used with one hand.[25] Curtis refused to allow her invention to be marketed until companies started selling biodegradable diapers.[26] The full statutory term of this patent expired February 20, 2007, and it is now in the public domain. She filed a second US patent application related to disposable diapers in 2016 which issued as US Patent 9,827,151[27] on November 28, 2017, and will expire on September 7, 2036.

Blogging

Curtis is a blogger for The Huffington Post online newspaper.[28] On her website, Curtis tells her young readers that she "moonlights as an actor, photographer, and closet organizer".[21]

Political views

 
Curtis speaking at an event in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in September 2016

During California's 2008 general election, Curtis appeared in the "Yes on Prop 3" television advertisements.[29]

In March 2012, Curtis was featured with Martin Sheen and Brad Pitt in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play 8—a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage—as Sandy Stier.[30] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.[31][32] In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting; in the video, Curtis and others told the stories of the people killed there.[33][34]

Curtis endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election; she has since been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump.[35]

Philanthropy

Beginning in 1990, Curtis and her father, Tony, took a renewed interest in their family's Hungarian Jewish heritage, and helped finance the rebuilding of the "Great Synagogue" in Budapest, Hungary. The largest synagogue in Europe today, it was originally built in 1859 and suffered damage during World War II.[36]

Curtis was guest of honor at the 11th annual gala and fundraiser in 2003 for Women in Recovery, a Venice, California-based non-profit organization offering a live-in, twelve-step program of rehabilitation for women in need. Past honorees of this organization include Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dame Angela Lansbury. Curtis is also involved in the work of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, serving as the annual host for the organization's "Dream Halloween" event in Los Angeles, launched every year in October.[37][38]

Curtis plays a leadership role for Children's Hospital Los Angeles and supported the 2011 opening of a new inpatient facility for the organization.[39]

Personal life

Curtis married Christopher Guest on December 18, 1984. She saw a picture of him from the movie This Is Spinal Tap in Rolling Stone and told her friend Debra Hill, "Oh, I'm going to marry that guy", actually marrying him five months later.[40] The couple have two adopted children (Annie, b. 1986; Thomas, b. 1996).[41] Curtis is actor Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother.[42]

When her father-in-law died on April 8, 1996, her husband became the 5th Baron Haden-Guest, making her a baroness with the style The Right Honourable The Lady Haden-Guest, according to the rules of the British peerage. She rejects the idea of using this title, saying, "It has nothing to do with me".[43]

She is close friends with actress Sigourney Weaver, but in a 2015 interview said she has never watched Weaver's film Alien in its entirety because she was too scared by it.[44]

Curtis is a recovering alcoholic, and was once addicted to painkillers that she began using after a routine cosmetic surgical procedure. She became sober from opiates in 1999 after reading and relating to Tom Chiarella’s account of addiction;[45] and maintains that recovery is the greatest achievement of her life.[46]

After her father's death, she learned that her entire family, including siblings, had been cut out of his will.[47]

She is a fan of World of Warcraft,[48] and has attended Comic-Con[49] and BlizzCon[50] incognito. She once helped her son Thomas create a cosplay of blood elf character Kael'thas Sunstrider, which he entered into a BlizzCon costume contest. Together they also got the chance to attend the premiere of the Warcraft film on June 6, 2016, at The Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.[51]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1978 Halloween Laurie Strode
1980 The Fog Elizabeth Solley
1980 Prom Night Kim Hammond
1980 Terror Train Alana Maxwell
1981 Roadgames Pamela "Hitch" Rushworth
1981 Halloween II Laurie Strode
1982 Halloween III: Season of the Witch Telephone Operator (voice) Uncredited
1982 Coming Soon Narrator Documentary
1983 Trading Places Ophelia
1984 Love Letters Anna Winter
1984 Grandview, U.S.A. Michelle "Mike" Cody
1984 The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension Sandra Banzai In extended version
1985 Perfect Jessie Wilson
1987 A Man in Love Susan Elliot
1987 Amazing Grace and Chuck Lynn Taylor
1988 Dominick and Eugene Jennifer Reston
1988 A Fish Called Wanda Wanda Gershwitz
1990 Blue Steel Megan Turner
1991 Queens Logic Grace
1991 My Girl Shelly DeVoto
1992 Forever Young Claire Cooper
1993 Mother's Boys Judith "Jude" Madigan
1994 My Girl 2 Shelly DeVoto Sultenfuss
1994 True Lies Helen Tasker
1996 House Arrest Janet Beindorf
1997 Fierce Creatures Willa Weston
1998 Homegrown Sierra Kahan
1998 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later Laurie Strode / Keri Tate
1999 Virus Kelly Foster
2000 Drowning Mona Rona Mace
2001 The Tailor of Panama Louisa Pendel
2001 Daddy and Them Elaine Bowen
2001 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys Queen Camilla (voice)
2002 Halloween: Resurrection Laurie Strode
2003 Freaky Friday Tess Coleman / Anna Coleman
2004 Christmas with the Kranks Nora Krank
2005 The Kid & I Herself
2008 Beverly Hills Chihuahua Vivian Ashe
2010 You Again Gail Byer Olsen
2011 The Little Engine That Could Beverly "Bev" (voice)
2012 From Up on Poppy Hill Ryoko Matsuzaki (voice) English dub
2014 Veronica Mars Gayle Buckley
2015 Spare Parts Principal Karen Lowry
2017 Hondros None Executive producer
2018 Halloween Laurie Strode Also executive producer
2018 An Acceptable Loss Rachel Burke
2019 Knives Out Linda Drysdale-Thrombrey
2021 Halloween Kills Laurie Strode Post-production; also executive producer
TBA Everything Everywhere All at Once Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1977 Quincy, M.E. Girl in Dressing Room Episode: "Visitors in Paradise"[52]
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Mary Episode: "Mystery of the Fallen Angels"
1977 Columbo Waitress Episode: "The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case"
1977–1978 Operation Petticoat Lt. Barbara Duran Main role
1978 Charlie's Angels Linda Frey Episode: "Winning Is for Losers"
1978 The Love Boat Linda Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part, Maybe/Chubs/Locked Away"
1979 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Jen Burton Episode: "Unchained Woman"
1980 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Jame Lee Curtis / James Brown & Ellen Shipley"
1981 She's in the Army Now Pvt. Rita Jennings Television film
1981 Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story Dorothy Stratten Television film
1982 Callahan Rachel Bartlett Television film
1982 Money on the Side Michelle Jamison Television film
1984 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Jame Lee Curtis / The Fixx"
1985 Tall Tales & Legends Annie Oakley Episode: "Annie Oakley"
1986 As Summers Die Whitsey Loftin Television film
1989–1992 Anything but Love Hannah Miller Main role; also directed episode: "The Call of the Mild"
1995 The Heidi Chronicles Heidi Holland Television film
1996 The Drew Carey Show Sioux Episode: "Playing a Unified Field"
1998 Nicholas' Gift Maggie Green Television film
2000 Pigs Next Door Clara (voice) Episode: "Movin' On Up"
2005 A Home for the Holidays TV Program Host Television film
2012 NCIS Dr. Samantha Ryan 5 episodes[53][54]
2012–2018 New Girl Joan Day 6 episodes
2014 Only Human Evelyn Lang Television film
2015–2016 Scream Queens Cathy Munsch Main role; also directed episode: "Rapunzel, Rapunzel"
2019 Guest Grumps Herself Web series; episode: "Playing Super Mario Party w/ JAMIE LEE CURTIS!"[55]
2020 Archer Agent Bruchstein (voice) Episode: "The Orpheus Gambit"[56]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
1981 Genie Award Best Performance by a Foreign Actress Prom Night Nominated [57]
1981 Saturn Award Best Actress Terror Train Nominated [58]
1984 Jupiter Award Best International Actress Trading Places Nominated
1984 British Academy Film Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role Won [59]
1986 Jupiter Award Best International Actress Perfect Won
1989 American Comedy Award Funniest Lead Actress in a Motion Picture A Fish Called Wanda Nominated [60]
1989 British Academy Film Award Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated [59]
1989 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Nominated [61]
1990 Cognac Festival du Film Policier Special Mention Award Blue Steel Won [62]
1990 Mystfest Award Best Actress Won [63]
1990 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Anything But Love Won [64]
1990 People's Choice Award Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series Won [65]
1991 Viewers for Quality Television Award Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Nominated [66]
1992 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Nominated [67]
1995 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actress Mother's Boys Nominated [68]
1995 Awards Circuit Community Award Best Actress in a Leading Role True Lies Nominated [69]
1995 American Comedy Award Funniest Lead Actress in a Motion Picture Won [70]
1995 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Actress – Action/Adventure Nominated [71]
1995 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Won [72]
1995 MTV Movie + TV Award Best Female Performance Nominated [73]
1995 MTV Movie + TV Award Best Kiss (shared with Arnold Schwarzenegger) Nominated [73]
1995 Saturn Award Best Actress Won [74]
1995 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated [75]
1996 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television The Heidi Chronicles Nominated [76]
1998 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nicholas' Gift Nominated [77]
1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Actress – Horor Halloween H20: 20 Years Later Nominated [78]
1999 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actress Won [79]
1999 Saturn Award Best Actress Nominated [80]
2001 DVD Exclusive Award Best Animated Character Performance Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
and the Island of Misfit Toys
Nominated [81]
2004 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Freaky Friday Nominated [82]
2004 Satellite Award Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Nominated [83]
2004 Saturn Award Best Actress Nominated [84]
2012 Behind the Voice Actors Award Best Vocal Ensemble in a Television Special/Direct-to-DVD Title or Short The Little Engine That Could Nominated [85]
2014 Behind the Voice Actors Award Best Female Vocal Performance in an Anime Feature Film/Special in a Supporting Role From Up on Poppy Hill Won [85]
2014 Behind the Voice Actors Award Best Vocal Ensemble in an Anime Feature Film/Special Nominated [85]
2015 20/20 Award Best Actress True Lies Nominated [86]
2016 Satellite Award Best Actress in a Series – Comedy or Musical Scream Queens Nominated [87]
2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Television Supporting Actress Nominated [88]
2016 Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical Nominated [89]
2016 People's Choice Award Favorite Actress in a New Television Series Nominated [90]
2018 IGN Summer Movie Award Best Lead Performer in a Movie Halloween Nominated [91]
2018 Fright Meter Award Best Actress Nominated [92]
2019 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actress Nominated [93]
2019 Saturn Award Best Actress Won [94]

Honors

Year Association Category Result Ref.
1988 Golden Apple Award Female Star of the Year Won
1998 Hollywood Walk of Fame Motion Picture – 6600 Hollywood Blvd. Won [95]
2000 Hasty Pudding Theatrical Award Woman of the Year Won [96]

References

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