Birthdate: November 22, 1958
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Forever associated with the Halloween franchise created by writer-director John Carpenter, with whom she created the character of Laurie Strode in the original Halloween (1978), Jamie Lee Curtis is perhaps the ultimate “Scream Queen.” (Not coincidentally, one of Curtis’ three directorial credits is for an episode of the Fox TV series titled Scream Queens, in which she gained one of seven Golden Globe acting nominations.) The daughter of Hollywood mega-couple Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis quickly jumped from minor TV guest roles to a memorable run of movies with Carpenter, starting with her debut in Halloween.
She starred or co-starred in Carpenter’s The Fog (1980), Halloween II (1981), and Escape from New York (1981), with Kurt Russell, while furthering her specialty in horror in such vehicles as Roger Spottiswoode’s Terror Train (1980) and Richard Franklin’s Road Games (1981) with Stacy Keach. Curtis expanded her range in wide-release studio comedies such as Trading Places (1983), with Eddie Murphy, indie and studio dramas such as James Bridges’ Perfect (1985), paired with John Travolta, Mike Newell’s Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987), with Gregory Peck, and Dominick and Eugene (1988).
By the start of the 1990s, Jamie Lee Curtis established herself as a solid female lead and ensemble player, starting with John Cleese’s beloved hit, A Fish Called Wanda (1988) and then switching gears as a female cop in Kathryn Bigelow’s Blue Steel (1990). This proved the pattern of Curtis’ choices of roles, alternating such indie ensembles as Queens Logic (1991) with high-profile studio projects like James Cameron’s True Lies (1994) while collaborating again with Cleese on the 1997 comedy, Fierce Creatures and prestige dramas such as John Boorman’s adaptation of John le Carré’s The Tailor of Panama (2001) with Pierce Brosnan and Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush.
After her turn in the hit comedy, Freaky Friday (2003), with Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis--like too many other female actors--began to see starring and co-starring roles fade away as she shifted into supporting and guest roles in TV and film. The exception was the Halloween franchise (five more, apparently culminating with Halloween Ends (2022), even though her string of face-offs with the ubiquitous Michael Myers became increasingly ludicrous.
In recent years, however, Curtis has found a fresh angle on her skills as an ensemble actor, first in Rian Johnson’s hit murder mystery comedy, Knives Out (2019) and in Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) with Michelle Yeoh. Curtis is in the works on her first film as writer-director, the environmental thriller, Mother Nature (date yet to be announced), as well as turns in Eli Roth’s Borderlands (2022).
Jamie Lee Curtis was born in Santa Monica to actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Curtis has one sister, actor Kelly Lee Curtis, and one half-sister, actor and businesswoman Allegra Curtis, with whom Jamie and Kelly share a father, Tony Curtis. She is married to writer-director-actor Christopher Guest. They have a pair of adopted daughters, Ruby and Annie.
Baroness: Jamie Lee Curtis can claim, but does not use, the title of Baroness Haden-Guest of Saling in Essex, since her husband Christopher Guest is a baron in the Haden-Guest British family line.
Get Your Man: Five months after first spotting Christopher Guest’s face in Rolling Stone magazine during the release of This is Spinal Tap, Curtis married him.
Kid Lit: Curtis is the best-selling author of 13 children’s books, including the New York Times best-seller, Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day (1998).
Recovering: Jamie Lee Curtis considers her greatest achievement not to be her screen performances or books, but her recovery from her addictions to alcohol and painkillers.
Activist Theater: She joined actors Brad Pitt and Martin Sheen in a staged reading in Los Angeles of Dustin Lance Black’s play, 8, dramatizing the trial which overturned the California same-sex marriage ban.
Inventor: Jamie Lee Curtis invented a baby diaper with a moisture-proof pocket containing wipes, and has two patents for the item. She refused the diaper to be marketed until diaper manufacturers devised a biodegradable diaper.