Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis (born November 22, 1958) is an American actress and writer. She is the recipient of several accolades, including a British Academy Film Award, two Golden Globe Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998.

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 63)
  • Actress
  • writer
Years active1977–present
(m. 1984)
Jamie Lee Curtis's signature.png

Curtis made her film acting debut as Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's horror film Halloween (1978), which established her as a scream queen, and she thereafter appeared in a string of horror films, including The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train (all 1980) and Roadgames (1981). She reprised the role of Laurie in the sequels Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Halloween (2018), and Halloween Kills (2021). Her filmography is largely characterized by independent film that have been box-office successes, with 8 of her lead-actress credits grossing over $100 million.[1]

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 a daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She is married to Christopher Guest, with whom she has two adopted children, Annie and Ruby. Due to her marriage with Guest, who is the 5th Baron Haden-Guest in the United Kingdom, Curtis is a baroness formally entitled to the title Lady Haden-Guest.

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.

Early life

Curtis with her mother, Janet Leigh, in 1960

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.[2] Two of her maternal great-grandparents were Danish, while the rest of her mother's ancestry is German and Scots-Irish.[3] 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).[4] 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."[5] She was raised by her mother and her stepfather, stockbroker Robert Brandt.[6]

Curtis attended Westlake School (now Harvard-Westlake School) in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills High School, and graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall in 1976.[7] Returning to California in 1976, she attended her mother's alma mater, the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, and studied law.[8][9] She dropped out after one semester to pursue an acting career.[10]

Acting 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." She would return to the Halloween franchise six times, playing Strode again in the sequels Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Halloween (2018), and Halloween Kills (2021), and having an uncredited voice role in Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982).

Her next film following Halloween 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,[11] 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.[12] Curtis's roles in the latter two films served a similar function to that of Strode—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."[13] In 1981, she appeared alongside Stacey Keach in the Australian thriller film Roadgames, directed by Carpenter's friend Richard Franklin; her importation, which was requested by the film's American distributor AVCO Embassy Pictures, was contested by the Sydney branch of Actors Equity.[14][15] Although the film was a box office bomb in Australia and Franklin later regretted not increasing the size of Curtis's role, it has achieved a cult following and was championed by Quentin Tarantino.[16]

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.[17] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] 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 opening weekend of October and the highest opening weekend of the Halloween franchise; and became the highest-grossing in the franchise.[20] Its opening performance was the best-ever for a film starring a lead actress over 55 years old.[21] Curtis's performance earned critical acclaim.[22] 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.[23]

In September 2021, she was honored with the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for her lifetime achievements.[24] Curtis again reprised her role as Laurie Strode in the horror sequel Halloween Kills, which was released in October 2021, and is set to play the character again in Halloween Ends, which is set to be released in October 2022.[25] She will also appear in the science fiction action film Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Television performances

Curtis at the 1989 Primetime Emmy Awards

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.[26] The series reunited Curtis with Harmon, after he played her character's fiancé and later husband in the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday.[27]

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.

Other ventures

Children's books

Working with illustrator Laura Cornell, Curtis has written a number of children's books,[28] all published by HarperCollins Children's Books.[29]

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.[30]
  • 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.[31]


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.[32] Curtis refused to allow her invention to be marketed until companies started selling biodegradable diapers.[33] 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[34] on November 28, 2017, and will expire on September 7, 2036.


Curtis is a blogger for The Huffington Post online newspaper.[35] On her website, Curtis tells her young readers that she "moonlights as an actor, photographer, and closet organizer".[28]

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.[36]

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.[37] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.[38][39] 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.[40][41]

Curtis endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election; she has since been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump.[42]


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.[43]

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.[44][45]

Curtis plays a leadership role for Children's Hospital Los Angeles and supported the 2011 opening of a new inpatient facility for the organization.[46]

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"; she married him five months later.[47] They have two adopted daughters: Annie, born in 1986, and Ruby, who is transgender, born in 1996.[48][49] Curtis is actor Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother.[50]

Her father-in-law was a British hereditary peer; when he died on April 8, 1996, her husband succeeded him and became the 5th Baron Haden-Guest. By marriage, she takes on the title Baroness Haden-Guest of Saling in Essex. As the wife of a peer she is styled The Right Honourable The Lady Haden-Guest. Curtis rejects the idea of using this title, saying, "It has nothing to do with me".[51]

She is close friends with actress Sigourney Weaver. In a 2015 interview, she said she has never watched Weaver's film Alien in its entirety because she was too scared by it.[52]

Curtis is a recovering alcoholic, and was once addicted to painkillers that she began using after a cosmetic surgical procedure.[53] She became sober from opiates in 1999 after reading and relating to Tom Chiarella's account of addiction;[6] and maintains that recovery is the greatest achievement of her life.[54]

After her father Tony's death, she learned that her entire family, including siblings, had been cut out of his will.[55]

She is a fan of World of Warcraft[56] and One Piece,[57] and has attended Comic-Con, EVO[58] and BlizzCon[59] incognito.

Curtis received the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 78th Venice International Film Festival, to which she reacted saying that she "[felt] so alive, like I’m this 14-year-old person just beginning their life. That’s how I wake up every day with that sort of joy and purpose" and added that "she is just beginning [her] work."[60]



1978HalloweenLaurie Strode
1980The FogElizabeth Solley
Prom NightKim Hammond
Terror TrainAlana Maxwell
1981Escape from New YorkNarrator / Computer (voice)Uncredited
RoadgamesPamela "Hitch" Rushworth
Halloween IILaurie Strode
1982Halloween III: Season of the WitchTelephone Operator (voice)Uncredited
Coming SoonNarratorDocumentary
1983Trading PlacesOphelia
1984Love LettersAnna Winter
Grandview, U.S.A.Michelle "Mike" Cody
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th DimensionSandra BanzaiIn extended version
1985PerfectJessie Wilson
1987A Man in LoveSusan Elliot
Amazing Grace and ChuckLynn Taylor
1988Dominick and EugeneJennifer Reston
A Fish Called WandaWanda Gershwitz
1990Blue SteelMegan Turner
1991Queens LogicGrace
My GirlShelly DeVoto
1992Forever YoungClaire Cooper
1993Mother's BoysJudith "Jude" Madigan
1994My Girl 2Shelly DeVoto Sultenfuss
True LiesHelen Tasker
1996House ArrestJanet Beindorf
1997Fierce CreaturesWilla Weston
1998HomegrownSierra Kahan
Halloween H20: 20 Years LaterLaurie Strode / Keri Tate
1999VirusKelly Foster
2000Drowning MonaRona Mace
2001The Tailor of PanamaLouisa Pendel
Daddy and ThemElaine Bowen
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit ToysQueen Camilla (voice)
2002Halloween: ResurrectionLaurie Strode
2003Freaky FridayTess Coleman / Anna Coleman
2004Christmas with the KranksNora Krank
2005The Kid & IHerself
2008Beverly Hills ChihuahuaVivian Ashe
2010You AgainGail Byer Olsen
2011The Little Engine That CouldBeverly "Bev" (voice)
2012From Up on Poppy HillRyoko Matsuzaki (voice)English dub
2014Veronica MarsGayle Buckley
2015Spare PartsPrincipal Karen Lowry
2017HondrosNoneExecutive producer
2018HalloweenLaurie StrodeAlso executive producer
An Acceptable LossRachel Burke
2019Knives OutLinda Drysdale-Thrombey
2021Halloween KillsLaurie StrodeAlso executive producer
2022Halloween EndsLaurie StrodePre-production
TBAEverything Everywhere All at OncePost-production
TBABorderlandsDr. Patricia TannisPost-production[61]


1977Quincy, M.E.Girl in Dressing RoomEpisode: "Visitors in Paradise"[62]
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew MysteriesMaryEpisode: "Mystery of the Fallen Angels"
ColumboWaitressEpisode: "The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case"
1977–1978Operation PetticoatLt. Barbara DuranMain role
1978Charlie's AngelsLinda FreyEpisode: "Winning Is for Losers"
The Love BoatLindaEpisode: "Till Death Do Us Part, Maybe/Chubs/Locked Away"
1979Buck Rogers in the 25th CenturyJen BurtonEpisode: "Unchained Woman"
1980Saturday Night LiveHostEpisode: "Jame Lee Curtis / James Brown & Ellen Shipley"
1981She's in the Army NowPvt. Rita JenningsTelevision film
Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten StoryDorothy StrattenTelevision film
1982CallahanRachel BartlettTelevision film
Money on the SideMichelle JamisonTelevision film
1984Saturday Night LiveHostEpisode: "Jame Lee Curtis / The Fixx"
1985Tall Tales & LegendsAnnie OakleyEpisode: "Annie Oakley"
1986As Summers DieWhitsey LoftinTelevision film
1989–1992Anything but LoveHannah MillerMain role; also directed episode: "The Call of the Mild"
1995The Heidi ChroniclesHeidi HollandTelevision film
1996The Drew Carey ShowSiouxEpisode: "Playing a Unified Field"
1998Nicholas' GiftMaggie GreenTelevision film
2000Pigs Next DoorClara (voice)Episode: "Movin' On Up"
2005A Home for the HolidaysTV Program HostTelevision film
2012NCISDr. Samantha Ryan5 episodes[63][64]
2012–2018New GirlJoan Day6 episodes
2014Only HumanEvelyn LangTelevision film
2015–2016Scream QueensCathy MunschMain role; also directed episode: "Rapunzel, Rapunzel"
2019Guest GrumpsHerselfWeb series; episode: "Playing Super Mario Party w/ JAMIE LEE CURTIS!"[65]
2020ArcherAgent Bruchstein (voice)Episode: "The Orpheus Gambit"[66]

Awards and nominations

1981Genie AwardBest Performance by a Foreign ActressProm NightNominated[67]
Saturn AwardBest ActressTerror TrainNominated[68]
1984Jupiter AwardBest International ActressTrading PlacesNominated
British Academy Film AwardBest Actress in a Supporting RoleWon[69]
1986Jupiter AwardBest International ActressPerfectWon
1989American Comedy AwardFunniest Lead Actress in a Motion PictureA Fish Called WandaNominated[70]
British Academy Film AwardBest Actress in a Leading RoleNominated[69]
Golden Globe AwardBest Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalNominated[71]
1990Cognac Festival du Film PolicierSpecial Mention AwardBlue SteelWon[72]
Mystfest AwardBest ActressWon[73]
Golden Globe AwardBest Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or MusicalAnything But LoveWon[74]
People's Choice AwardFavorite Female Performer in a New Television SeriesWon[75]
1991Viewers for Quality Television AwardBest Actress in a Quality Comedy SeriesNominated[76]
1992Golden Globe AwardBest Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or MusicalNominated[77]
1995Fangoria Chainsaw AwardBest ActressMother's BoysNominated[78]
Awards Circuit Community AwardBest Actress in a Leading RoleTrue LiesNominated[79]
American Comedy AwardFunniest Lead Actress in a Motion PictureWon[80]
Blockbuster Entertainment AwardFavorite Actress – Action/AdventureNominated[81]
Golden Globe AwardBest Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalWon[82]
MTV Movie + TV AwardBest Female PerformanceNominated[83]
MTV Movie + TV AwardBest Kiss (shared with Arnold Schwarzenegger)Nominated[83]
Saturn AwardBest ActressWon[84]
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting RoleNominated[85]
1996Golden Globe AwardBest Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionThe Heidi ChroniclesNominated[86]
1998Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a MovieNicholas' GiftNominated[87]
1999Blockbuster Entertainment AwardFavorite Actress – HororHalloween H20: 20 Years LaterNominated[88]
Fangoria Chainsaw AwardBest ActressWon[89]
Saturn AwardBest ActressNominated[90]
2001DVD Exclusive AwardBest Animated Character PerformanceRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
and the Island of Misfit Toys
2004Golden Globe AwardBest Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalFreaky FridayNominated[92]
Satellite AwardBest Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalNominated[93]
Saturn AwardBest ActressNominated[94]
2012Behind the Voice Actors AwardBest Vocal Ensemble in a Television Special/Direct-to-DVD Title or ShortThe Little Engine That CouldNominated[95]
2014Behind the Voice Actors AwardBest Female Vocal Performance in an Anime Feature Film/Special in a Supporting RoleFrom Up on Poppy HillWon[95]
Behind the Voice Actors AwardBest Vocal Ensemble in an Anime Feature Film/SpecialNominated[95]
201520/20 AwardBest ActressTrue LiesNominated[96]
2016Satellite AwardBest Actress in a Series – Comedy or MusicalScream QueensNominated[97]
Fangoria Chainsaw AwardBest Television Supporting ActressNominated[98]
Golden Globe AwardBest Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or MusicalNominated[99]
People's Choice AwardFavorite Actress in a New Television SeriesNominated[100]
2018IGN Summer Movie AwardBest Lead Performer in a MovieHalloweenNominated[101]
Fright Meter AwardBest ActressNominated[102]
2019Fangoria Chainsaw AwardBest ActressNominated[103]
Saturn AwardBest ActressWon[104]
National Board of ReviewBest CastKnives OutWon[105]
2020Critics' Choice AwardBest Acting EnsembleNominated[106]
Gold Derby AwardBest EnsembleNominated[107]
Satellite AwardBest Cast – Motion PictureWon[108]
2021Saturn AwardBest Supporting ActressNominated[109]


1988Golden Apple AwardFemale Star of the YearHonored
1998Hollywood Walk of FameMotion Picture – 6600 Hollywood Blvd.Honored[110]
2000Hasty Pudding Theatrical AwardWoman of the YearHonored[111]
202178th Venice International Film FestivalGolden Lion Honorary AwardHonored[112]


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External links