This week not only brings Thanksgiving to the U.S. with its grateful tidings and tasty traditions, but also Jamie Lee Curtis’ 60th birthday! How better to celebrate a Scream Queen’s 60th than to share some little-known facts relating to her life and films?
Most people know that the versatile actress is the child of acclaimed actors Janet Leigh (Psycho) and Tony Curtis (Some Like It Hot). But how many of her children’s books have you read? Did you know she hadn’t planned on acting at all or that she has written a horror script? Read below for more!
The Acting Bug, The Helping Bug, The Writing Bug
The more I like me, the less I want to pretend to be other people.
While her parents were show business sweethearts, Curtis initially had no interest in becoming a star herself. After graduating high school in Connecticut in 1976, she had her sights set on a career in social work. While attending classes at The University of The Pacific in California, Curtis decided to audition for the role of teen detective Nancy Drew. The role wasn’t meant to be hers, but that didn’t stop the acting bug from biting. Curtis decided to drop out of school and began pursing acting after all.
Ironically, Curtis has been able to help others in a few different ways even though she never actually became a social worker. In a 2018 interview with People Magazine, she opened up about recovering from an opioid addiction that very few people knew she had. Still attending meetings, Curtis said that whenever anyone brings up opiates, she instantly responds, “Oh here, talk to me. I’m the opiate girl.”
Mommy, Daddy… put down your phone and look at your kid, and read a book.
Over the course of 25 years Curtis has written 12 children’s books which discuss a range of topics, including moods, self-esteem, and the human race. Her most recent book, Me, My Selfie, and I: A Cautionary Tale, was released in September 2018. In it, a mother is gifted a smartphone which quickly becomes all-consuming. Instead of being in the moment, the mom is now overly concerned with getting the perfect shot of the moment. The actress turned author tells Romper that she knows it’s listed as a children’s picture book, but that it’s really intended for families, just like her previous releases.
Split Over Split-Pea Soup
We screened The Exorcist for my fifteenth birthday… It scared me so badly that my friends would taunt me in school.
Back in September, Curtis revealed that when she was thirteen years old her mother received a phone call from a film producer. He wanted to know if Jamie would be allowed to audition for a movie. Leigh declined the offer, preventing her daughter from the possibility of portraying Regan MacNeil in one of the most terrifying movies in cinematic history, The Exorcist. However, director William Friedkin tweeted a few days later that the claim was, “totally untrue.”
Regardless of whose memory is more accurate, it’s interesting to think of what may have been (though Linda Blair ended up doing an excellent job as young Regan).
Me and my shadow. Where would I be without Michael Myers… I’m grateful to him, for all of his badness.
While Curtis was credited as Executive Producer for Halloween (2018), she regrets that she didn’t seek that title for 1998’s Halloween: H20. While originally hoping she could get John Carpenter and Debra Hill to collaborate for the 20th anniversary, it turned out only Curtis came back for the film. Her excitement for the project was eventually reduced to disappointment because it didn’t end up being what she had hoped it could be. Her vision was that Laurie Strode would destroy Michael Meyers and see an end to the franchise, but that did not end up being the case.
One thing to note is that she did get paid well for Halloween: H20. Curtis was only paid $8,000 (roughly the equivalent of $31,000 in money today) for starring in the original Halloween (1978). But H20 ended up being more of “a money gig” as the actress put it in an interview with Variety. “The film had some good things in it. It talked about alcoholism and trauma, but I ended up really doing it for the paycheck.”
Little did she realize that she’d revisit Haddonfield again in another 20 years.
I’m not sure what fame is for if it isn’t to focus on charitable work.
Yes, JLC admits she did H20 for the paycheck, but have you seen the amount of charities she’s involved with? Curtis acknowledges that Halloween launched her career and brought her an abundance of fame, but she’s found many ways to give back and inspire.
Charitable giving site, Look To The Stars, reports that Curtis has championed 25 different causes while supporting 22 different charities. She was honored by KidSave in 2007, is on the board for The Starlight Children’s Foundation, and is an official spokesperson for Children Affected by AIDS Foundation. She and her husband, Christopher Guest, are also known for their philanthropy to Share Our Strength, which deals with childhood hunger, and Exceptional Minds, a non-profit computer animation studio who specializes in digital art for youth on the autism spectrum.
The astonishing thing about being a parent is that your children bring things to you that you would never, ever know.
Not only has Curtis attended various gaming conventions incognito, but she also cosplayed with her son for the premiere of the Warcraft movie! In 2015 the actress attended not one, but two conventions dressed as video game characters. In July, she attended the EVO Fighting Championship Series with her family dressed as video game characters. Jamie disguised herself as Vega from Street Fighter, while the rest of her family dressed as characters from Tekken. Later that year Curtis passed through the aisles at BlizzCon dressed as an undead Forsaken character from World of Warcraft. Afterwards she tweeted, “Lovely time haunting the HORDES and making ALLIANCES.”
A year later she and her son, Thomas Guest, made headlines when they cosplayed as orc characters from the same MMORPG. Complete with green face paint and intricate costumes, Curtis walked the red carpet as an orc shaman while her son wielded a hammer as an orcish warrior.
I’m Laurie Strode’s guardian angel.
It’s common knowledge that Curtis earned her “Scream Queen” title after starring in multiple horror movies in the 1980s, (The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, Halloween II). But over her career she has shown versatility by performing in comedic roles as well as dramatic and action films. JLC brought depth to many of the characters she portrayed, including Laurie Strode, both as a teenager in 1978 and as an adult in Halloween (2018). You’d think after portraying a badass over the years would make her impervious to horror movie scares, but she’s admitted that she doesn’t really watch horror films, or if she does, it’s through her fingers because she’s so scared.
Still, Curtis admits that working on the newest Halloween film inspired her to delve into horror in a different way; perhaps even directing her own fright flick. “Being around David (Gordon Green) definitely got my creative mojo going. I went home and wrote a screenplay that I will direct at some point, I hope.”
Maybe in the future, instead of covering her eyes behind her hands, she’ll be making viewers squirm and peek at the screen from behind sweaty palms.
Happy 60th Birthday, Jamie Lee Curtis! Hopefully we let you in on an unknown nugget of information on this talented and versatile actress. Let us know on Twitter, Reddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook.