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Jamie Lee Curtis, Baroness Haden-Guest (born November 22, 1958) is an American actress and author. Although she was initially known as a "scream queen" because of her starring roles in several horror films early in her career, such as HalloweenThe FogProm Night, and Terror Train, Curtis has since compiled a body of work that spans many genres, and has won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. Her 1998 book, Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day, made the best-seller list in The New York Times. Curtis has appeared in advertisements, and is a blogger for The Huffington Post. She is married to actor, screenwriter, and director Christopher Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest.

Early life

Curtis was born in Santa Monica, California, to actor Tony Curtis and actress Janet Leigh. Her paternal grandparents were Hungarian Jewishimmigrants[1] and two of her maternal great-grandparents were Danish.[2] Curtis's parents divorced in 1962, after which her mother married Robert Brandt. Curtis has an older sister, Kelly Curtis, who is also an actress, and several half-siblings (all from her father's remarriages), Alexandra, Allegra, Ben, and Nicholas Curtis (who died in 1994 of a drug overdose).[3] Curtis attended 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 horror film The Fog, which was helmed by Halloween director John Carpenter. The film opened in February 1980 to mixed reviews but strong box office,[4] further cementing 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 only moderately well at the box office.[5]

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".[6] Curtis later appeared in Halloween IIHalloween H20: 20 Years Later and Halloween: Resurrection, as well as giving an uncredited voice role inHalloween III: Season of the Witch.

Her role in 1983's Trading Places helped Curtis shed her horror queen image, and garnered her a BAFTA award as best supporting actress.[7] 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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]


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 television series, Operation Petticoat; based on the big-screen version which starred her real-life father.

She starred in the 1981 TV film Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story, playing the part 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 ofMatch 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.[10] If the role is made recurring, it will be at least the second time Harmon has worked with Curtis; he played her fiancé and later husband in the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday[11]

Children's books

Working with illustrator Laura Cornell, Curtis has written a number of children's books,[12] all published by HarperCollins Children's Books.[13]

  • 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.[14]
  • 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 PeopleISBN 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.


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.[15] Curtis refused to allow her invention to be marketed until companies started selling biodegradable diapers,[16] although the full statutory term of this patent expired February 20, 2007, and is now in the public domain.

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.[17] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.[18][19]

Philanthropic Efforts

Curtis is a staunch supporter of children's hospitals and their advocacy efforts. Currently, she 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.[20]

Curtis was Guest of Honor at the 11th annual Gala and Fundraiser in 2003 for Women in Recovery, Inc., 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 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.[21][22]

Personal life

Curtis married actor Christopher Guest on December 18, 1984, becoming the 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 (Annie, b. 1986; Thomas b. 1996).[23] Curtis is actor Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother.[24]

On her website, Curtis tells her young readers that she "moonlights as an actor, photographer, and closet organizer."[12] She takes time to support various philanthropic groups. Curtis appeared on the cover of the May/June 2008 issue of AARP Magazine, with gray hair and in water up to her chest.[25]

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[26] and maintains that recovery is the greatest achievement of her life.[27]

Curtis has appeared in advertisements for Activia since 2007,[28] and is a blogger for The Huffington Post online newspaper.[29]


Film appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1978 Halloween Laurie Strode
1980 The Fog Elizabeth Solley
Prom Night Kim Hammond
Terror Train Alana Maxwell Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress

Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress

1981 Escape from New York Narrator, computer voice Only film outside of the Halloween franchise working with Donald Pleasence
Roadgames Pamela 'Hitch' Rushworth
Halloween II Laurie Strode
1982 Halloween III: Season of the Witch Phone Operator voice only, uncredited
1983 Trading Places Ophelia BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1984 Love Letters Anna Winter
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension Sandra Banzai featured in DVD extended version
Grandview, U.S.A. Michelle 'Mike' Cody
1985 Perfect Jessie
1986 As Summers Die Whitsey
1987 A Man in Love
Amazing Grace and Chuck
1988 Dominick and Eugene Jennifer Reston
A Fish Called Wanda Wanda Gershwitz Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

1990 Blue Steel Megan Turner Festival du Film Policier de Cognac Special Mention Award(For the acting performance)

Mystfest Film Festival Award for Best Actress

1991 Queens Logic Grace
My Girl Shelly DeVoto
1992 Forever Young Claire Cooper
1994 My Girl 2 Shelly DeVoto Sultenfuss
Mother's Boys Judith 'Jude' Madigan
True Lies Helen Tasker American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture

Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Saturn Award for Best Actress Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award - Best Supporting Actress Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Performance Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss

1996 House Arrest Janet Beindorf
1997 Fierce Creatures Willa Weston
1998 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later Laurie Strode/Keri Tate Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress - Horror

Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress

Homegrown Sierra Kahan
Nicholas' Gift Maggie Green Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries or a Movie
1999 Virus Kelly Foster
2000 Drowning Mona Rona Mace
2001 The Tailor of Panama Louisa Pendel
Daddy and Them Elaine Bowen
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys Queen Camilla, the Queen Hippo of Castaway Cove voice only
2002 Halloween: Resurrection Laurie Strode
2003 Freaky Friday Tess Coleman/Anna Coleman Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

2004 Christmas with the Kranks Nora Krank
2005 The Kid & I Herself
2008 Beverly Hills Chihuahua Aunt Viv
2010 You Again Gail
2011 The Little Engine That Could Beverly Voice only
2012 From Up on Poppy Hill Ryoko Matsuzaki Voice only
Television appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1977 Quincy M.E.[30] Girl in Dressing Room Episode: Visitors in Paradise
The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Mary Episode: Mystery of the Fallen Angels
Columbo Waitress


Episode: Try and Catch Me

Episode: The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case

1978 The Love Boat Linda Episode: Till Death Do Us Part, Maybe/Chubs/Locked Away
Charlie's Angels Linda Frey Episode: Winning Is for Losers
1978–1979 Operation Petticoat Lt. Barbara Duran 23 Episodes
1979 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Jen Burton Episode: Unchained Woman
1981 She's in the Army Now Pvt. Rita Jennings TV Movie
Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story Dorothy Stratten TV Movie
1982 Callahan Rachel Bartlett TV Movie
Money on the Side Michelle Jamison TV Movie
1985 Tall Tales & Legends Annie Oakley Episode: Annie Oakley
1986 As Summers Die Whitsey Loftin TV Movie
1989–1992 Anything But Love Hannah Miller Series Regular

Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy, 1989 Nominated —Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy, 1991

1995 The Heidi Chronicles Heidi Holland TV Movie

Nominated —Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

1996 The Drew Carey Show Sioux Episode: Playing a Unified Field
1998 Nicholas' Gift Maggie Green TV Movie
2000 Pigs Next Door Clara Voice
2005 A Home for the Holidays TV Program Host TV Movie
2012 NCIS Dr. Samantha Ryan 5 episodes[31][32]
2012 New Girl Joan Episode: Parents