Jamie Lee Curtis (born on November 22, 1958) is a Golden
Globe-winning American film actress and a successful author of books for
children. Although she was initially known as a "scream queen", because of
her starring roles in many horror films early in her career, Curtis has
since compiled a body of work that covers every genre. Through marriage,
Jamie Lee Curtis is Baroness Haden-Guest in the British peerage, so is
entitled to be called Lady Haden-Guest, although she does not use this
Jamie Lee Curtis was born in Los Angeles, California, the child of well-known actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Her paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Hungary. Her parents divorced in 1962 and her mother remarried to a Robert Brandt. She has an older sister, Kelly Curtis, who is also an actress, and several half-siblings (all from her father's remarriage), Alexandra, Allegra, Ben, and Nicholas Curtis, who died in 1994 of a drug overdose.
Curtis attended both Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles and Beverly
Hills High School, but graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall. She returned to
California in 1976. She attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton,
California, where she considered majoring in social work, but left after a
semester in order to pursue an acting career. Universal Studios put her
under contract, and she starred in the television series, Operation
Jamie Lee Curtis made her film debut in the 1978 horror film, Halloween, playing the role of Laurie Strode, the only teenage character in the film who is not killed. The film was a major success and was considered the highest grossing independent film of its time. Curtis was subsequently cast in several horror films, which led to her association with the horror genre, garnering her the title of a "scream queen".
Her first follow-up to Halloween was the horror film, The Fog, which was directed by "Halloween" director John Carpenter. The film opened in February 1980 to mixed reviews but strong box office, further cementing Curtis as a horror film starlet. Her next film, Prom Night, was a low-budget Canadian slasher film and was released in July 1980. The film was considered similar in style to Halloween, and received negative reviews which marked it as a disposable entry in the then active "slasher film" genre. That year, Curtis also starred in Terror Train, which opened in October and received a negative reaction akin to Prom Night. Both films performed only moderately at the box office. Jamie Lee Curtis had a similar function in both films - playing the main character whose friends are murdered, and who is practically the only protagonist to survive. Film critic Roger Ebert, who had given negative reviews to all three of Curtis' 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 later appeared in Halloween II, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and Halloween: Resurrection.
Her role in 1983's Trading Places established her as more than just a horror queen and 1988's A Fish Called Wanda achieved near cult status -- while showcasing her as a first rate comic actress. Jamie Lee Curtis won a Golden Globe for her work in 1994's True Lies.
Jamie Lee Curtis recent successful film roles for Curtis have included Disney's Freaky Friday (2003), opposite Lindsay Lohan. The movie was filmed at Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, CA, near where Curtis and Guest make their home with their children. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in this movie.
In television, Jamie Lee Curtis co-starred opposite Richard Lewis in the situation comedy Anything But Love. Her role as Hannah Miller received both a Golden Globe and People's Choice Award. She also 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.
Working with illustrator, Laura Cornell, Curtis has written a number of critically-acclaimed children's books. These include:
Jamie Lee Curtis married actor Christopher Guest on December 18, 1984,
becoming Lady Haden-Guest when her husband inherited the Barony of
Haden-Guest in 1996, upon the death of his father. The couple have two
adopted children, Anne Haden Guest (born 1986) and Thomas Haden Guest (born
1996). Curtis is also actor Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother.
Today, Jamie Lee Curtis also takes time to support various philanthropic groups. She was Guest of Honor at the 11th annual Gala and Fundraiser in 2003 for Women in Recovery, Inc., a Venice, CA-based non-profit organization offering a live-in, twelve-step program of rehabilitation for women in need. Past Honorees of this organization have included Sir Anthony Hopkins; the 2005 honoree was Angela Lansbury.
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