Fascinating Facts About Hollywood's Original Scream Queen, Jamie Lee Curtis
Ever since she first terrified audiences running for her life in Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis has enjoyed a successful career on the big screen. However, behind the scenes of her sometimes-scary, sometimes-funny flicks, Curtis has led a full and enriching life filled with much more than movies.
From her humanitarian work to her authorhood to her recovery from addiction, Curtis has proved more than once that being a celebrity doesn't make you any less human. Check out some of the most fascinating facts about Hollywood's original "Scream Queen."
She's Literally Nicknamed the “Scream Queen”
Jamie Lee Curtis has an impressive track record in the horror genre. From the Halloween franchise to Prom Night to The Fog, she has been a leading lady in the field since the early days of her career. As a result, she earned an epic nickname in the entertainment industry: Scream Queen.
Her Mother Was Also a Slasher Star
Both of Curtis' parents were famous actors in their time. Her father, Tony Curtis, was the star of many ‘50’s and ‘60’s films, including Some Like It Hot and The Vikings. However, Curtis followed in her mother's footsteps more than her father's. Her mom, Janet Leigh, starred in numerous horror films, including Touch of Evil and Psycho.
She Loves Playing Video Games
Curtis' specialty may be in acting, but she isn't a stranger to recreational fun, including splurging on some epic fighting games. She loves online games such as World of Warcraft and has cosplayed before at different gaming conventions, often becoming unrecognizable in her disguises.
She Writes Successful Children's Books
Most people know Curtis for her on-screen personas, but she has also enjoyed success as a children's book author. She has written more than 13 illustrated books. When starting her first book, she referred to her daughter, Annie, sharing with The New Yorker:
She Has Two Adopted Children
Curtis has become a champion for mindful motherhood in the present day, but she wasn't always sure that she would get the chance to be a mother. Curtis and her husband struggled with infertility for years. Fortunately, they decided to adopt, and they now have two wonderful adult children, Annie and Thomas.
She Picked Her Husband from a Magazine
What is Curtis' secret for finding a soulmate? Pick one out of a magazine! Many young girls have pined over famous actors in the pages of tabloids. Ironically, Curtis successfully used Rolling Stone to predict her future marriage to actor Christopher Guest.
She Has a Royal Title
Do you think that Curtis' titles as an author, activist and actress are already more than enough for any celebrity? Well, you can tack on a royal title as well. Her husband was born Baron Christopher Guest, making his wife formally Baroness Jamie Lee Curtis.
She Invented a Diaper Prototype
In light of all her other skills, it's no surprise that Curtis is also an inventor. She both designed and patented a type of diaper that minimizes the mess associated with diaper changes. The product includes a hidden pouch that holds cleaning wipes to make changes a breeze.
She Went to College for Social Work
Although Curtis has enjoyed an uber-successful career in the entertainment industry, the star never planned on becoming an actress. She was always funny and charismatic enough to pursue entertainment, but her original intentions were to work in law enforcement or social work.
She and Sigourney Weaver Are BFFs
Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver were leading ladies in the same era. As a result, they often went head-to-head for roles in popular flicks. This competition could have easily turned the two against each other. Instead, their constant interactions led them to develop an awesome friendship.
She Runs a Blog on Huffington Post
Curtis has become a stellar author of children's books, and she has also established her abilities as a journalistic writer for Huffington Post. She has blogged about parenting, current events, politics, human rights issues, relationships and more since 2011.
She Has a Famous Godson
Jamie Lee Curtis and Jake Gyllenhaal make an iconic celebrity duo, right? While they might seem like an odd pairing, given their ages and typical film genres, Curtis is Gyllenhaal's godmother. Curtis has been close friends with Gyllenhaal's parents, director Stephen Gyllenhaal and writer Naomi Foner, for years.
Her Legs Once Had Insurance
Curtis is known for her acting career rather than a modeling one. However, one portion of her body was once more valuable than her talent: her legs. Curtis' long legs were a subject of envy back in the 1960s when she became a breakout star in horror films. As her acting career took off, so did commercial interest in her legs.
Her Older Sister Is Also an Actress
When it comes to Curtis' relatives, talent runs in the family. In addition to the acting careers of her father, her mother and herself, Curtis' sister, Kelly Curtis, is also an actress. She is best known for her role as Muffy in Trading Places and as Miss Sarda in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
She Is Recovering from Addiction
Throughout her Hollywood career, Curtis spiraled into a cycle of addiction. She began abusing alcohol early on, and after suffering from surgical pain that required prescriptions for painkillers, she became hooked on opioids. Luckily, Curtis decided to get sober, and she has been clean for nearly 21 years.
She Won't Watch Scary Movies
How is it possible that the queen of horror doesn't like scary movies? While Curtis is the star of several horrifying thrillers, she gets too freaked out to watch scary flicks in theaters — including some of her own.
She Has Her Own Production Company
There's no denying that Curtis has had a fruitful career in acting, yet that wasn't always the case. After starring in Halloween (and receiving great commercial acclaim for her role), she struggled to snag another significant gig in Hollywood. Growing restless while waiting for a role to come along, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
She Wrote a Film Treatment
After years of experience navigating the horror genre, Curtis was ready to take a stab at horror writing. After starting Generation Productions in 1981, she began drafting a treatment for a frightening new film she called The Myth. While Curtis hadn't previously written any scripts, she was excited at the idea of creating her flick.
Her Last Name Is a Stage Name
Although Curtis' last name is now permanently associated with the actress, it wasn't passed down through her family tree. Her father, Tony Curtis, was born with the name Bernard Schwartz. However, when he began to perform, he was urged to adopt a snazzier stage name that didn’t sound quite so Jewish.
Her Brother Died from an Overdose
When Curtis was addicted to alcohol and opioids, she danced with death until she chose to enter recovery. While she managed to make it out of the worst of her addiction, her half-brother, Nicholas Curtis, wasn’t so lucky. He passed away from a heroin overdose in 1994.
She Stays Connected to Her Roots
Curtis may be living the American Dream, but she hasn't forgotten her roots. Her grandparents immigrated from Hungary and Denmark for opportunities in America. Throughout her career and within her personal life, Curtis has continually reflected on and celebrated her Hungarian-Jewish background.
She's an Active Humanitarian
When it comes to charity, Curtis is hands-on. The actress is a humanitarian at heart and an active member of a variety of organizations that hope to better the world. Their honorable goals include ending world hunger, fighting diseases, acquiring equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, race, economic status or gender, and more.
She Stole the Show in a Comedy
Curtis' 1980s fans hardly expected to see the Scream Queen tackle a non-horror movie, but she blew her first comedic role completely out of the water. Her part in Trading Places was hilarious and very well received. She won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of the cheeky prostitute.
She Fiercely Supports Sick Children
Curtis is an incredible parent to Annie and Thomas, and her motherly instincts extend beyond her own two children. The actress is extremely involved with the kids at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where she visits sick children, donates to their foundation and helps support leadership projects to improve the hospital for its patients.
Her Knives Out Storyline Is Authentic
Warning: Spoilers ahead! In the new flick Knives Out, Curtis' character gets snubbed by her father when she is written out of his will. Surprisingly, Curtis was written out of her father's will in real life as well — along with all her siblings. Her father, Tony Curtis, didn't leave his family a single dime.
She Got Her Start on Mystery Sitcoms
For most of her career, Curtis' fame came out of her feature flicks. However, the star got her start on a variety of mystery and horror sitcoms and shows. She got her first role in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew series, and her first notable part was on Columbo (which her mother also formerly appeared on as a guest star).
She Used Her Kids to Get Out of Engagements
What parent hasn't used their kids as an excuse to leave a party early? In one of the most relatable confessions ever, Curtis admitted that she often used her children as an excuse to get out of prior engagements or social gatherings that she wanted to ditch.
Her Daughter Is a Star Dancer
Does the performance gene run in the family? Curtis' daughter, Annie Guest, showcases her creative talent through dance. She pursued her passion in Kenyon College, where she graduated with a BFA in Dance. She was also deemed the best choreographer by her school.
Her Acting Career Has Been Tumultuous
She may be an extremely successful actress, but Curtis' occupation hasn't been entirely linear. Throughout her career, she has taken multiple breaks and steps back from the big screen in order to focus on her mental and physical health, her family, her recovery and parenthood.
She Spent Years in Boarding School
Although Curtis reported experiencing a loving (albeit chaotic) childhood, she was often a loner in the classroom. In 1975, she was sent to attend a renowned, expensive boarding school called Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. While there, she struggled with feelings of depression.