Ever since Jamie Lee Curtis’ screen debut as Laurie Strode in 1978’s cult classic, Halloween, she has been a beloved character in a plethora of movies throughout the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. Curtis is an accomplished producer, author of many well-received children’s books, podcasts and 2022 graphic novel, Mother Nature — the multi-talented Curtis revels in the busyness of life.
Curtis is the youngest daughter of Hollywood legends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. She has been married to actor Christopher Guest for almost 40 years and they share two children. Known for her performances in the horror and slasher genres (she is regarded as a scream queen), Curtis also is adept at comedies. Over the years, Curtis has received multiple accolades, including an Academy Award, British Academy Film Award and two Golden Globes as well as nominations for a Primetime Emmy and a Grammy.
Here is a look at Jamie Lee Curtis through her body of work.
This was Curtis’ film debut in the John Carpenter classic. She was cast because her mother had been known as a horror icon due to her performance in “Psycho”. Curtis would reprise Laurie Strode in the sequels: Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021) and Halloween Ends (2022). “I wear my Halloween pin with great pride. I tried very hard through 22 years of making movies to always hold up Halloween and say `you know, it was the best experience I’d ever had up.”
The Fog (1980)
Also directed by Carpenter, the film solidified Curtis as a horror film star. Her mom, Janet Leigh, also appeared in the film.
Trading Places (1983)
Tired of her horror queen image, the role of a kindhearted prostitute helped Curtis shed her Scream Queen image. Curtis also shed her clothing. “I wouldn’t do it again”, Curtis told People on performing nude. “I wasn’t married then; I’m a mother of children. So absolutely not.” Yet, the role earned Curtis a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Curtis went from Scream Queen to Sex Symbol in this film opposite John Travolta. As a workout instructor in leotards and tights, Curtis’ revealed her perfect body.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Curtis broke out as a full-blown comedic actress. “She was a sexually brazen, cold-hearted manipulator who simply wanted money,” Curtis told the New York Times. “I didn’t find that real. I decided she didn’t altogether know what she wanted, but finds a wonderful power in manipulating people and feels personal satisfaction in trying to fool them. Yet she enjoys herself so she’s not cold-hearted, not vicious.”
Blue Steel (1990)
Curtis entered the action thriller genre as a rookie cop hunted by a psycho killer. She told Roger Ebert: “One of the reasons I took this job is because I love using my physicality and my strength in a film and I don’t often get to do that.”
My Girl (1990)
The coming-of-age film was a surprise boxoffice success that garnered Curtis as Shelly DeVoto, a fan following and led to My Girl 2 in 1994. It co-starred Dan Aykroyd and a young MacCaulay Caulkin.
True Lies (1994)
The action comedy opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger earned Curtis her first Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and a Golden Globe for her performance. “I had the best time ever on a Jim Cameron movie,” said Curtis to Interview Magazine. “It was the single most freeing experience as an actor I had ever had.”
Drowning Mona (2000)
This crime comedy is about a woman who drives a car into the river to her death. Everyone in town then becomes a suspect. It also starred Danny DeVito and Bette Midler.
Freaky Friday (2003)
Curtis played a mom to a then-teenage Lindsay Lohan and received rave reviews for her role in this fantasy comedy. Critics claimed it was some of her best work ever due to her physical comedic ability.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2007)
After a brief hiatus from the big screen, Curtis emerged as one of three live-action characters in the film.
Curtis appeared in five episodes opposite Mark Harmon as Dr. Samantha Ryan—a romantic interest to Special Agent Gibbs. Curtis said she’d sign on for additional episodes but it never happened.
An Acceptable Loss (2018)
This political thriller starred Jamie Lee Curtis with Tika Sumpter. It was directed by Joe Chappelle.
Knives Out (2019)
Curtis joined an accomplished ensemble that included Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Don Johnson.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
As persnickety IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre, the role earned her widespread acclaim, awards and nominations.
Haunted Mansion (2023)
In this supernatural horror comedy, Curtis starred as Madame Leota, a fortune teller who appears in a glass ball.
Read on for more talented leading ladies!