Jamie Lee Curtis

The year was 1960. The actress, Janet Leigh, starring in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", acted out the first slasher scene ever to hit the screen. As moviegoers watched, Marion Crane screamed and bled her way to her death in a motel shower. The scene, and the movie, made motion picture history, and opened the door for a whole new genre of horror films. Jamie Lee Curtis was barely two years old and although mother Janet Leigh did not realize it at the time, the door her role in Psycho opened, had opened a door her young daughter would eventually slip through. Young Jamie would eventually scream louder than her mother ever did, and still make it through to the end of the picture (in slasher films at least). Her mother's character Marion Crane did not survive her "scream scene", her daughter's characters generally would. Jamie Lee Curtis survived not only the chases of mad men wielding sharp knives during her stint as the "Scream Queen", she survived the label to become a respected, and versatile actor in the ever changing world of Hollywood.

Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958 in Los Angeles to actors Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. The couple divorced when Jamie was just three years old and her mother remarried that same year to stock broker, Robert Brandt, and the family, including Jamie's sister Kelly moved to a quieter and more mainstream life in a Los Angeles suburb. Although the move allowed Jamie to live a somewhat more "normal" life than in her previous years, she still grew up feeling she didn't fit in with other children and teenagers her age.

This uneasy feeling of not being able to fit in coloured her high-school years, when she dropped out of the Beverly Hills high school she was attending and entered a Connecticut prep school. It was around this time that Jamie first got the acting bug. But the bug would have to wait. Mother Janet Leigh may have been a glamorous, successful actress herself, but flighty and ignorant to the ways of the real word she was not. Jamie was expected to attend college before she even considered pursuing and acting career.

Jamie tried to appease her mother, but dropped out after only one semester at the University of the Pacific. She auditioned for a part in The Nancy Drew Mysteries unsuccessfully. She did manage to land some guest appearances on the television series' The Love Boat, Marcus Welby M.D., and Quincy. Eventually in 1977 she secured a recurring role in the series Operation Petticoat.

Within the next year, everything took off for Jamie. The "Scream Queen" was about to be born. She was cast in the B movie Halloween. She was paid a whopping $8,000 for her appearance. But she must have realized the catapult this role would be for her career and demanded her listing in the credits be "Introducing Jamie Lee Curtis." Halloween became the most successful independent movie production up to that time, grossing $45 million at the box office.

Several roles in horror films followed, including a sequel to the now infamous Halloween. Once her position in Hollywood as the "Scream Queen" was secured, she began to spread her wings and fly and prove she had talents that exceeded just using her vocal chords to terrify moviegoers, and legs to run from murderous brothers. She starred in the made-for-tv movie Death Of A Centerfold, the true story of Playboy Bunny, Dorothy Stratton. From there she played a happy-go-lucky hooker beside Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd in Trading Places, and a privacy seeking aerobics instructor with John Travolta in Perfect, a movie that was a box-office and critical flop.

Although the early 80's saw her career take an exciting turn for the better, her personal life was less than idealic. Her biological father had been pretty much a stranger up until that point, but they formed a relationship now. Jamie had begun experimenting with cocaine, and the mutual habit brought them together, although she eventually kicked the habit, and even helped her father kick his. Once the drug habit was behind her, things started to fall into place in Jamie's personal life as well. In 1983 she met Christopher Guest, whom she eventually married a little over a year later. Jamie describes her hubby as her "kindred spirit."

During this period Jamie also found time to take on some made-for-TV roles, Annie Oakley, She's In The Army Now, and later, The Heidi Chronicles, but her primary medium remained the silver screen.

Jamie spread her wings and flew even further dramatically when, in 1988, she starred opposite John Cleese and Kevin Kline as a hilarious fortune-seeking nymphomaniac in A Fish Called Wanda. In 1994 she solidified her position as a unique actress able to combine comedic and dramatic roles as the bland housewife turned wild woman in True Lies, co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Despite her huge successes, Jamie remains an earthy, thoughtful, and charitable woman. She is currently chairperson of The Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park in tandem with her father's founding of The Emanuel Foundation, an organization dedicated to aiding families of holocoust victims in reclaiming assets and property that was lost during World War 2.

Today Jamie makes her homes in Los Angeles, and Sun Valley, Idaho with her husband Christopher Guest and their two adopted children, Annie and Thomas. In addition to her acting career she has successfully established herself as an author of children's books and is venturing into yet a third career as a photographer. She remains close to her mother, Janet Leigh and remains reconciled with father Tony Curtis as well.