Jamie Lee Curtis
Born/Date of Birth: November 22, 1958
Place of Birth: Santa Monica, California, United States
Other names: The Scream Queen
Height: 1.7 m
Occupation: Actress, producer, director, author, blogger, activist
Political party: Democratic
Spouse(s): Christopher Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest (m. 1984)
Children: Annie Guest, Thomas Guest
Parent(s): Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh
Relatives: Kelly Curtis (sister), Allegra Curtis (half-sister)
Jamie Lee Haden-Guest, Baroness Haden-Guest (born November 22, 1958) is an American actress, author, and activist. She made her film 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 Strode in four sequels, including Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), and Halloween (2018).
Curtis' 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' 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 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' 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.
Curtis was born in Santa Monica, California, to actor Tony Curtis and actress Janet Leigh. Her paternal grandparents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants. Two of her maternal great-grandparents were Danish, while the rest of her mother's ancestry is German and Scots-Irish. Curtis's parents divorced in 1962. After the divorce, she said her father was "not around" and "He was not a father. He was not interested in being a father."
Curtis has an older sister, Kelly Curtis, who is also an actress, and several half-siblings (all from her father's remarriages): Alexandra, Allegra, Benjamin, and Nicholas Curtis (who died in 1994 of a drug overdose). 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 the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. She considered majoring in social work, but quit after one semester to pursue an acting career.
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".
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, 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 film" genre. That year, Curtis also starred in Terror Train, which opened in October and was met with negative reviews akin to Prom Night. Both films performed moderately well at the box office.
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 had given 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." 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 as best supporting actress. 1988's A Fish Called Wanda achieved near cult status – while showcasing her as a comedic actress; she was nominated for a BAFTA as best leading actress. She won a Golden Globe for her work in 1994's True Lies. Her film roles also include Disney's Freaky Friday (2003), opposite Lindsay Lohan, filmed at Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, California, near where Curtis and Guest live with their children. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for this film.
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.
Curtis made her television debut in an episode of Columbo, but her first starring TV role was opposite Richard Lewis in the situation comedy Anything But Love, which ran for four seasons from 1989 through 1992. Her performance as Hannah Miller received both a Golden Globe and People's Choice Award. She appeared as nurse Lt. Duran in the short-lived TV series Operation Petticoat (1977), based on the 1959 film which starred her real-life father Tony Curtis.
She starred in the 1981 TV film Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story, playing the role of the eponymous doomed Playmate. She earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work in TNT's adaptation of the Wendy Wasserstein play The Heidi Chronicles. More recently, Curtis starred in the CBS television movie Nicholas' Gift, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Curtis also appeared in the science fiction series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and an early episode of The Drew Carey Show. Jamie Lee Curtis was a game-show panelist on several episodes of Match Game.
In 2012, she appeared in 5 episodes of the television series NCIS, playing the role of Dr. Samantha Ryan, a potential romantic interest of Special Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon). It has been hinted that her role may be a recurring one. During an interview, she openly said that if they could develop a story line, she would be more than happy to be on the show more. It was at least the second time Harmon has worked with Curtis; he played her character's fiancé and later husband in the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday.
From 2015 to 2016, Curtis had a lead role on the Fox television series Scream Queens, which aired for two seasons.
Working with illustrator Laura Cornell, Curtis has written a number of children's books, all published by HarperCollins Children's Books.
- 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.
- 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.
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. Curtis refused to allow her invention to be marketed until companies started selling biodegradable diapers, although 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 on November 28, 2017 and will expire on September 7, 2036.
Curtis is a blogger for The Huffington Post online newspaper. On her website, Curtis tells her young readers that she "moonlights as an actor, photographer, and closet organizer".
Humanitarian and political causes
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. The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting; in the video, Curtis and others told the stories of the people killed there.
Curtis is a self-described Democrat, and has spoken on behalf of the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Curtis plays a leadership role for Children's Hospital Los Angeles and supported the 2011 opening of a new inpatient facility for the organization. During California's 2008 general election, Curtis appeared in the "Yes on Prop 3" TV advertisements.
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.
Beginning in 1990, Tony Curtis and his daughter Jamie Lee 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.
Curtis married Christopher Guest on December 18, 1984. She originally fell in love when she saw a picture of him from the movie This Is Spinal Tap in Rolling Stone saying to her friend Debra Hill "Oh, I'm going to marry that guy", actually marrying him five months later. The couple have two adopted children (Annie, b. 1986; Thomas b. 1996). Curtis is actor Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother.
She is close friends with actress Sigourney Weaver, but in a 2015 interview, she said she has never watched Weaver's film Alien in its entirety because she was too scared by it.
Curtis is a recovering alcoholic, and was once addicted to pain killers that she began using after a routine cosmetic surgical procedure. She became sober in 1999 and maintains that recovery is the greatest achievement of her life.
After her father Tony Curtis' death, she learned that she, her children, and her siblings had been cut out of his will.
She is a fan of World of Warcraft, and has attended Comic-Con and BlizzCon 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.
Titles and styles
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 British peerage. However, she rejects the idea of using this title, saying, "It has nothing to do with me".
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