Jamie Lee Curtis Biography: In Her Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
Jamie Lee Curtis is an American actress, producer, director, author and activist. She is best known for her roles in Halloween (1978), True Lies (1994) and Anything But Love (1982-1992). In this biography, Curtis tells her own story of her acting life.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: EARLY LIFE, FAMILY, EDUCATION
Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958 (Jamie Lee Curtis age: 61) in Santa Monica, California. She was the second child born to legendary actors Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. Curtis has one older sister, actress Kelly Curtis, and a number of half-siblings from her father’s three other marriages. He divorced Leigh in 1962, essentially leaving Curtis without a father.
The actress-to-be attended many schools in Los Angeles, including Westlake School, Beverly Hills High School and Choate Rosemary Hall. She also spent one semester at the University of the Pacific before dropping out to pursue acting.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON HER ACTING ROOTS
In November 2019, Curtis spoke with uInterview exclusively about her acting roots. She revealed that her first acting performance can be found online.
“Vanity Fair has one of those career highlights that they put on their site,” Curtis said. “And they got the first second I’m ever on [a] TV show, and it was in a Quincy episode.” She went on to describe her role as a woman in a dressing room whom Quincy accidentally exposes. “She covers up, and they have words, and then she has a little retort to him at the end of the scene,” Curtis said. “And that was my first moment ever on-screen.”
Check out the full interview at the top of this page.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: CAREER IN MOVIES AND TV SHOWS
Curtis’ first acting role came in 1977, when she appeared briefly in an episode of the TV series Quincy M.E. The same year, she had minor roles in single episodes of the shows Columbo and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Curtis landed her first recurring role on Operation Petticoat, for which she played Barbara Duncan in 23 episodes between 1977 and 1978.
Curtis’ career took off in 1978. She guest-starred in an episode of the hit show Charlie’s Angels alongside Farah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith. She also appeared as Linda in The Love Boat. The same year, she skyrocketed to fame as Laurie Strode in the horror flick Halloween. It became an instant classic and earned Curtis the Best Actress award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
1979 was the calm before the storm for Curtis. She only appeared in one episode of the show Buck Rogers. The next year, however, she earned the nickname “Scream Queen” by starring in three horror films. These included The Fog, Terror Train and Prom Night, for which she earned multiple award nominations.
Curtis’ horror stint continued through 1981. She acted in Escape from New York; Road Games; Halloween II; She’s in the Army Now and Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story. One of these films was the sequel to her cult-classic Halloween, which received a third installment called Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982).
In 1982, Curtis stuck to TV movies, appearing in Money on the Side and Callahan. She acted in the film Love Letters the following year. Her most notable performance of 1983, however, was that of Ophelia with Trading Places. She won a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work alongside Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.
The next few years were steady for Curtis. In 1984, she played Sandra Banzai in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and Michelle Cody in Grandview, U.S.A. The following year, Curtis guest-starred as Annie Oakley in an episode of Tall Tales & Legends. She also starred as Jessie, John Travolta’s romantic interest, in Perfect.
Curtis appeared in the short “Welcome Home” and the TV movie As Summers Die in 1986. The next year, she acted in the films A Man in Love and Amazing Grace and Chuck, then Dominick and Eugene a year later. Curtis’ career took off again in 1988, when she starred in the heist comedy A Fish Called Wanda. Her performance astounded audiences and critics alike. Curtis was nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Apple Award, a CinemaCon Award and an American Comedy Award.
Following her success in A Fish Called Wanda, Curtis turned to television. She starred as Hannah Miller in 56 episodes of the series Anything But Love. In 1990, she won a Golden Globe and a People’s Choice Award for her work. She was also nominated for a Q Award at the 1991 Quality Television Awards. In 1992, Curtis received a Golden Globe nomination for her work and even directed an episode of the show.
During her time on Anything But Love, Curtis worked on four films. These included Queens Logic, My Girl, Forever Young and Blue Steel. This last film garnered much critical acclaim, winning a Special Mention at the Cognac Festival du Film Policier. Curtis also won Best Actress at the 1990 Mystfest Awards.
After her time on Anything But Love, Curtis appeared in several films. These included Mother’s Boys and My Girl 2, sequel to the 1991 film starring Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky. Curtis’ career truly took back off in 1994 with the release of True Lies. Curtis played Helen Tasker in this action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Arnold and received thunderous praise. She won Best Actress at theAcademy of Science Fiction Awards and the American Comedy Awards. Curtis also received nominations from the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, ACCA and MTV Movie and TV Awards.
But Curtis’ success didn’t stop there. She played the iconic Heidi Holland in the 1995 TV movie The Heidi Chronicles. This performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress. In 1996, she guest-starred on The Drew Carey Show and appeared in House Arrest. Curtis was also a part of the Epcot video “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” (1996) and the film Fierce Creatures (1997).
1998 was another banner year for Curtis. She played Sierra Kahan in Homegrown and Maggie Green in the TV movie Nicholas’ Gift. This film earned Curtis a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress. The same year, Curtis again assumed the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The next year, Curtis played Kit Foster in Virus, a sci-fi film starring William Sutherland and William Baldwin.
Curtis kicked off the new millennium with a role in the film Drowning Mona. She simultaneously launched her voice acting career after being featured in an episode of Pigs Next Door. In 2001, Curtis also voiced Queen Camilla in the video “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys.” She was later nominated for a Video Premiere Award for Best Animated Character Performance. Also in 2001, Curtis played Louisa in The Tailor and Elaine Bowen in Daddy and Them.
The following year, Curtis graced the screen as Laurie Strode once again in Halloween: Resurrection. Her career got another boost in 2003 with the release of Freaky Friday, a revamp of the 1976 film starring Lindsay Lohan and Chad Michael Murray. Curtis’ performance as Tess Coleman won her a Golden Satellite Award for Best Actress. It also earned her nominations at the Golden Globes and the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
Curtis played a wide variety of roles in the mid-2000s. In 2004, she portrayed Nora Krank in Christmas with the Kranks. She played a DJ in Molly & Roni’s Dance Party the following year. In 2007, she voiced Barbara Tuttle in her first video game, The Tuttles: Madcap Misadventures. Curtis played Aunt Viv in the 2008 children’s comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
The early 2010s had more voice acting in store for Curtis. Though she appeared in the live-action film You Again in 2010, she voiced Bev in the 2011 animated movie The Little Engine That Could. She went on to voice Ryoko Matsuzaki in the English version of the Japanese anime film From Up on Poppy Hill (2011). Curtis was honored for her work on this translated piece at the Behind the Voice Actor Awards.
2012 marked the beginning of two television stints for Curtis. She acted in five episodes of NCIS in 2012 and, between then and 2018, six episodes of Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl. Also in that time, Curtis appeared in Veronica Mars as Gayle Buckley and the TV movie Only Human as Evelyn Lang (2014).
In 2015, Curtis played Ms. Karen Lowry in the film Spare Parts. However, her greatest success of the year was her work in the Hulu series Scream Queens. She played Dean Kathy Munsch in 23 episodes of the show between 2015 and 2016. She was nominated for Best Actress at the 2015 Satellite Awards and 2016 Golden Globes. In 2016, Curtis directed an episode of Scream Queens and was nominated for Fangoria Chainsaw and People’s Choice Awards.
In recent years, Curtis has expanded her portfolio even beyond acting and directing. She served as the co-executive producer for the 2017 documentary Hondros. She composed the song “Close to Me” for the 2018 edition of Halloween, which she also starred in and executive produced. Curtis acted in the film An Acceptable Loss later in 2018. The next year, she appeared in an activist short called the “HRC Americans for the Equality Act Awareness Campaign.” Most recently, Curtis played a central role in Knives Out, a dramedy starring Chris Evans and Daniel Craig.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON ‘KNIVES OUT’
In November 2019, Curtis spoke with uInterview exclusively about Knives Out. She had a lot to say about her character, fellow cast members and thoughts on political commentary in film.
Curtis described her character, Linda Thrombey-Drysdale, as a “self-made real estate maven who really looks down her nose at the rest of her family.” She explained that Linda believes her family has been “sucking off the hookah pipe” of her dead father’s estate. However, Curtis hinted, Linda has “secrets of her own.”
According to Curtis, the most signature moment of filming took place behind the scenes. “There was a moment where we were in between setups,” she explained, “and there was a flight of stairs, and this whole cast sort of [was] sitting on it.” Curtis recalled a rare “feeling of family” between her castmates as they chatted on the stairs. She told uInterview that typical casts split up after the day is done. “They finish shooting, and then everybody goes off into their own worlds,” she said. “And we didn’t. We stuck together, and I think it shows in the movie.”
In addition to commenting on the cast, Curtis told uInterview about political commentary in Knives Out. “The nature of art,” she said, “is that it’s to challenge us as an audience, and to delight us and to entertain us. But even in entertainment, you can still think a little; you don’t have to be brain-dead.” In Curtis’ eyes, the movie takes on white privilege and other political issues. “There’s plenty of red meat in this movie and plenty of blue meat,” she noted.
Check out the full interview at the top of this page.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: UPCOMING PROJECTS
Fans of Curtis’ have plenty to look forward to in the coming months and years. In 2020, she will return to the screen as Laurie Strode in Halloween Kills, a sequel currently in post-production. Curtis herself served as executive producer on this film and will do the same for Halloween Ends, set to release in 2021.
Curtis’ film Senior Entourage is another project in its post-production stages, but Curtis has not announced a release date. She has, however, revealed that she will act in the films Spychosis and 2 Timers, the latter of which she will also produce.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: CHILDREN’S BOOKS
In addition to acting, Curtis has found success in writing. She has worked with illustrator Laura Cornell to publish 13 children’s books at HarperCollins since 1993. Titles include:
When I Was Little: A Four-Year Old’s Memoir of Her Youth; Tell Me Again About The Night I was Born; Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day; Where Do Balloons Go?: An Uplifting Mystery; I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem; It’s Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel; Is There Really a Human Race?; Big Words for Little People; My Friend Jay, 2009; My Mommy Hung the Moon: A Love Story; My Brave Year of Firsts; This Is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From; and Me, Myselfie & I: A Cautionary Tale.
Of these works, Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day was a New York Times best-seller for ten weeks. Many of Curtis’ focus on children in light of social issues, such as race and the current American immigration crisis.
See a list of Curtis’ books here:
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: PHILANTHROPY AND POLITICAL VIEWS
Successful career aside, Curtis is an accomplished activist and philanthropist. She and her late father helped to rebuild a Hungarian synagogue destroyed in WWII. She was also the guest of honor at the 2003 fundraising gala for the rehabilitation organization Women in Recovery. She is the annual host for the “Dream Halloween” event held by the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation. Curtis’ work with children extends to her support for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and its 2011 inpatient facility.
Curtis is no less involved in the political scene. She starred in the “Yes on Prop 3” commercials during California’s 2008 general election in support of the Children’s Hospital Bond Act. She also acted alongside Martin Sheen and Brad Pitt in a 2012 production of 8, a reenactment of the trial that led to legalized same-sex marriage in California and later served to commemorate the lives lost at the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. Also in 2016, Curtis endorsed Hillary Clinton for the presidency and became an active critic of Donald Trump’s.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: PERSONAL LIFE, HUSBAND, ADDICTION HISTORY
Curtis has no recent dating history, as she has been married to British screenwriter Christopher Guest since 1984. They have two grown adopted children, Annie and Thomas. Curtis is also Jake Gyllenhaal’s godmother.
Though Curtis herself is not British, she has become a UK baroness through marriage. In 1996, her husband took the title of the 5th Baron Haden-Guest following his father’s death. Curtis has not yet found any use for the title and rejects the idea of being part of any royal structure.
Curtis’ life has not been without drama. When her father died in 2010, she discovered that the entire family had been cut out of his will. She had suffered the loss of her mother six years prior. Curtis has also struggled with alcoholism and opiate addiction in the past but has been clean for over 20 years.
JAMIE LEE CURTIS BIOGRAPHY: QUOTES
“I’m not sure what fame is for if it isn’t to focus on charitable work.”
“For me, I just show up and do what I do. And for me it has to be real – anything I do, I don’t care what it is. On Halloween, I can remember, John Carpenter’s first and only real direction to me was, ‘I want people to believe this is a real person.’ All I care about is trying to make anything real — and then because I’m brave I’ll try anything.”
“Everything good in my life has happened when I wasn’t expecting it.”
“The more I like me, the less I want to pretend to be other people.”