Jamie Lee Curtis (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 Halloween, The Fog, Prom 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 online newspaper. She is married to actor, screenwriter, and director Christopher Guest.
Curtis was born in Santa Monica, California, to actor Tony Curtis and actress Janet Leigh. Her paternal grandparents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants and two of her maternal great-grandparents were Danish. 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). 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, 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 met with a negative reviews akin to Prom Night. Both films performed only moderately well at the box office. 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' 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, as well as giving an uncredited voice role in Halloween 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. 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. She won a Golden Globe for her work in 1994's True Lies. Her recent film roles 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.
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.
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 (Annie, b. 1986; Thomas b. 1996). Curtis is actor Jake Gyllenhaal's godmother.
On her website, Curtis tells her young readers that she "moonlights as an actor, photographer, and closet organizer." She takes time to support various philanthropic groups. 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.
Curtis appeared on the cover of the May/June 2008 issue of AARP Magazine, with gray hair and in water up to her chest.
Curtis was an alcoholic who was once addicted to pain killers that she began using after a routine cosmetic surgical procedure. She became sober in 1999 and maintains that recovery is the greatest achievement of her life.
Curtis has appeared in advertisements for Activia since 2007, and is a blogger for The Huffington Post online newspaper. During California's 2008 General Election, Curtis appeared in the "YES on Prop 3" TV advertisements