Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958 in Santa Monica, California to her parents Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She has an older sister, Kelly, and several half-siblings: Alexandra, Allegra, Benjamin, and Nicholas. Jamie’s parents divorced in 1962 and later stated that her father wasn’t around and wasn’t interested in being a father. She attended Westlake School, where she was a cheerleader, and Beverly Hills High School before graduating from Chaote Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. In 1976, she attended the University of the Pacific, her mother’s alma mater, in Stockton, California to study law. She ended up dropping out after a semester to pursue an acting career after she was encouraged to audition for the role of teenage detective Nancy Drew.
Jamie made her acting debut in an episode of Quincy M.E. in 1977 as the girl in the dressing room. She also appeared on an episode of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries as Mary, then played the Waitress on Columbo. The same year, Jamie had her first recurring role as Lt. Barbara Duran on Operation Petticoat, a comedy about hijinks on the high seas on a U.S. submarine, also starring her father Tony. In 1978, she made her feature film debut as Laurie Strode in the horror film Halloween, which also became her breakout role. Jamie also appeared on Charlie’s Angels as Linda Frye and The Love Boat (alongside her mother) as Linda the same year. In 1979, she appeared as Jen Burton on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Jamie played Elizabeth Solley in the horror film The Fog in 1980, followed closely by Prom Night as Kimberly Hammond, and Alana in Terror Terrain. With the success of each movie, she became known as “The Scream Queen.” The next year, she voiced the uncredited role of the Narrator and Computer in the film Escape from New York, followed by the television movie She’s in the Army Now where she played Private Rita Jennings. Jamie played the role of Hitch in Road Games, a film about a truck driver who plays a cat-and-mouse game with a serial killer. She then reprised her role as Laurie Strode in Halloween II. Jamie would show off her acting chops in the dramatic television movie Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story, where she played the Playboy model who died at the hands of her abusive and controlling husband.
In 1982, she appeared in a pair of television movies Money on the Side as Michelle Jamison and Rachel Bartlett in Callahan. Jamie played Anna in Love Letters before showing off her comedic chops opposite Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy in Trading Places as Ophelia. Next, she played Michelle ‘Mike’ Cody in Grandview, U.S.A., also starring C. Thomas Howell and Patrick Swayze. On December 18th, Jamie married actor, screenwriter, and composer Christopher Guest. In 1985, Jamie appeared in an episode of Tall Tales & Legends as Annie Oakley. She also starred in the film Perfect, opposite John Travolta, as Jessie. She would also appear in the music video for Jermaine Jackson’s (The Closest Thing To) Perfect that same year. In 1987, she filed a US patent application that was issued as Patent No. 4,753,647, which was a modification of a diaper with a moisture-proof pocket containing wipes that can be taken out and used with one hand. Jamie was a part of the short film Welcome Home and the television movie As Summers Die as Whitsey Loftin. Amazing Grace and Chuck and A Man in Love were released in 1987 before her films jumped back up at the box office with A Fish Called Wanda in 1988. She also played Lynn Taylor in Amazing Grace and Eugene that same year. Jamie co-authored the New York Times best-seller Today I Feel Silly, along with Other Moods That Make My Day.
Jamie played the co-starring role of Hannah Miller on the television series Anything But Love that began in 1989 and spanning 56 episodes. During this time, she and her father helped finance the rebuilding of the Great Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary, after it suffered damage during World War II. In 1990, she played Megan Turner in Blue Steel and Grace in 1991’s Queen Logic. She would also play the part of Shelly DeVoto in My Girl, starring Dan Aykroyd and Anna Chlumsky. In 1992, she played Claire Cooper in Forever Young before the release of Mother’s Boys in 1993, where she played Judith Madigan. She released her first children’s book When I was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, that year as well. Jamie would return to play Shelly in 1994’s My Girl 2 and act opposite Arnold Scharzenegger in her Golden Globe winning performance as Helen Tasker in James Cameron’s True Lies. The next year, she portrayed Heidi Holland in the television movie The Heidi Chronicles. 1996 brought Jamie to Cleveland playing Sioux in an episode of The Drew Carey Show before the release of the family comedy House Arrest, where she played Janet Beindorf. After her father died in April 1996, her husband became the 5th Baron Haden-Guest, which made Jamie a baroness with the style The Right Honourable The Lady Haden-Guest. She and her husband would adopt their first child Annie, who was born in December of 1986, which led to her second children’s book Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born. She would go on to play Willa Weston in the 1997 comedy Fierce Creatures, also starring Kevin Kline and John Cleese.
Jamie appeared in the television movie Nicholas’ Gift as Maggie Green and the film Homegrown as Sierra Kahan before returning to horror in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, which was made on her suggestion, as Laurie Strode and Keri Tate in 1998. The next year, she would play Kit Foster in Virus, also starring Donald Sutherland and William Baldwin. In 2000, Jamie was a part of the film Drowning Mona as Rona, also starring Bette Midler and Danny DeVito. She would also voice the character of Clara in an episode of “Pigs Next Door”. Jamie joined Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush in the dramatic thriller The Tailor of Panama, playing Louisa, then Elaine Bowen in Daddy and Them. Halloween: Resurrection was released in 2002, bringing Jamie back to her iconic character Laurie Strode once more. The next year, she would play Tess Coleman opposite Lindsay Lohan in the remake of the classic family comedy Freaky Friday. She earned a Grammy nomination in 2003 for Best Spoken Album for Children. In 2004, she would star alongside Tim Allen in the holiday comedy Christmas with the Kranks as his wife, Nora Krank. With the adoption of her second child Thomas, who was born in March 1996, she would write Is There Really a Human Race?.
In 2007, Jamie lent her voice to the video game The Tuttles: Medcap Misadventures playing Barbara Tuttle. The next year, she would play Aunt Viv in the film Beverly Hills Chihuahua. 2010 brought Jamie together with friend Sigourney Weaver in the romantic comedy You Again as Gail, also starring Kristen Bell and Odette Annabelle. In 2011, she voiced the character Bev in The Little Engine That Could and Royoko Matsuzaki in From Up on Poppy Hill. The next year, Jamie played the role of Sandy Stier in the television movie 8 before being a part of five episodes of “NCIS” as Dr. Samantha Ryan. She would make her first appearance on the popular television show “New Girl” as Joan Dry as well. Jamie would reunite with Kristen Bell for the Veronica Mars movie playing Gayle Buckley. She would also play Evelyn Long in the television movie Only Human that same year. Jamie played Ms. Karen Lowry in Spare Parts before a role on the horror mystery television show Scream Queens as Dean Cathy Munsch in 2015. She would once again reprise her role as Laurie Strode in the 2018 film Halloween, a direct sequel to the 1978 original, then played Rachel in the thriller An Acceptable Loss. In 2019, she would play the part of Linda Drysdale in the Rian Johnson whodunnit Knives Out, which also starred Daniel Craig, Don Johnson and Chris Evans as part of its ensemble cast.
Jamie’s upcoming films include two more Halloween movies, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends; Senior Entourage and Spychosis, where she will play Jamie; and Everything Everywhere All at Once.
This biography was written exclusively for Jamie Lee Curtis Archives.