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Janet Leigh Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (7) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 6 July 1927Merced, California, USA
Date of Death 3 October 2004Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (vasculitis)
Birth NameJeanette Helen Morrison
Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Janet Leigh was born Jeanette Helen Morrison on July 6, 1927 in Merced, California. She was the only child of a couple who often moved from town to town. Living in apartments, Jeanette was a bright child who skipped several grades and finished high school when she was 15. A lonely child, she would spend much of her time at movie theaters. She was a student, studying music and psychology, at the University of the Pacific until she was "discovered" while visiting her parents in Northern California. Her father was working the desk at a ski resort where her mother worked as a maid. Retired MGM actress Norma Shearer saw a picture of Jeanette on the front desk and asked if she could borrow it. This led to a screen test at MGM, a name change to Janet Leigh, and a starring role in The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947). MGM was looking for a young naive country girl and Janet filled the bill perfectly. She would play the ingénue in a number of films and work with such stars as Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Kirk Douglas and John Wayne. She starred in a number of successful films, among them Act of Violence (1948), Words and Music (1948), Little Women (1949), Holiday Affair (1949), Angels in the Outfield (1951), Scaramouche (1952), Houdini (1953), The Naked Spur (1953), The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), Living It Up (1954), My Sister Eileen (1955), Safari (1956), and the Orson Welles film noir classic Touch of Evil (1958).

Janet's films ranged from comedies to westerns to musicals to dramas. Of her more than 50 movies, she would be most remembered for the 45 minutes she was on screen in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Even though her character was killed off early in the picture, she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress. Her next film was The Manchurian Candidate (1962), in which she co-starred with Frank Sinatra. For the rest of the decade, her appearances in films were rare, but she worked with Paul Newman in Harper (1966). In the 1970s, she appeared on the small screen in a number of made-for-television movies. In 1980, she appeared alongside her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog (1980), and later, in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998). Janet Leigh died at age 77 in her home in Beverly Hills, California on October 3, 2004.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana < tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Spouse (4)

Robert Brandt (15 September 1962 - 3 October 2004) (her death)
Tony Curtis (4 June 1951 - 14 September 1962) (divorced) (2 children)
Stanley Reames (5 October 1945 - 7 September 1949) (divorced)
John Carlisle (II) (21 August 1942 - 28 December 1942) (annulled)

Trade Mark (3)

Sparkling blue eyes
Voluptuous figure
Deep sultry voice

Trivia (18)

Was 'discovered' by Norma Shearer from a photo on the desk of Janet's father.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#99).
Eloped at the age of 14 - marriage was later annulled. Thus, Tony Curtis was her third husband when she married him in her 20s.
Actually made Touch of Evil (1958), with a broken arm. Her arm was in a cast when she showed up for production, so they took her arm out of the cast and used every trick they could to hide it.
She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California on May 14, 2004. She delivered an inspirational speech to graduating students, faculty, and administrators in accepting her award. Author Maxine Hong Kingston and US Solicitor General Ted Olson were also awarded honorary degrees on the same day.
Graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.
She and her actress daughter Jamie Lee Curtis appear together in John Carpenter's The Fog (1980), though they do not meet until the film's end. They also appear together in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) early in the film when Janet reports to Jamie on a problem with the girls' shower at a private school.
In 2006, the city of Stockton, California renamed and dedicated a downtown cinema and plaza in her honor. "Janet Leigh Plaza" is in the central core of the redeveloped downtown 2 blocks away from the "Bob Hope Theater".
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by either Renata Marini or Rosetta Calavetta. She was occasionally dubbed by Germana Calderini, Dhia Cristiani, Micaela Giustiniani and Fiorella Betti.
She was the daughter of Frederick Robert Morrison, and his wife, Helen Lita (Westergard). Her father had English, German, Northern Irish (Scots-Irish), and Swiss-German ancestry. Her mother was from a family of Danish immigrants.
Interviewed in Tom Weaver's book "Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes" (McFarland & Co., 1991).
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 326-329. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
In June 2010, Pacific Theatre, the campus movie theater of the University of the Pacific, was renamed and dedicated as Janet Leigh Theatre. The theater houses Janet Leigh movie posters, movie stills, college and family photos, and a display cabinet with many personal and professional Janet Leigh artifacts. The lavender gown worn by Ms. Leigh to the 1961 Academy Awards (and created by Edith Head) is on display in the cabinet in the lobby.
Had appeared with third husband Tony Curtis in five films: Houdini (1953), The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), The Vikings (1958), The Perfect Furlough (1958) and Who Was That Lady? (1960).
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1777 Vine Street in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
She was an active Democrat and appeared alongside Tony Curtis at the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California.
Was portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in Hitchcock (2012).

Personal Quotes (7)

[when asked if it was true that she doesn't take showers] It's actually, honestly true. And not because of the shooting of it. It was the seeing of it. It never dawned on me how truly vulnerable we are. But that's what [Alfred Hitchcock] did. A shower. A bird. All these things that are absolutely ordinary, he made extraordinary.
Psycho (1960) gave me very wrinkled skin. I was in that shower for seven days - 70 setups. At least, he [Alfred Hitchcock] made sure the water was warm.
I don't know what it is I exude. But whatever it is, it's whatever I am!
[on working with Alfred Hitchcock] Hitch relished scaring me. When we were making Psycho (1960), he experimented with the mother's corpse, using me as his gauge. I would return from lunch, open the door to the dressing room and propped up in my chair would be this hideous monstrosity. The horror in my scream, registered on his Richter scale, decided which dummy he'd use as the Madame.
[in 1992, on the AIDS-related death Anthony Perkins] I've not only lost a great friend, but Berry (Berry Berenson) and the children have lost so much. It's just awful.
[on Night of the Lepus (1972)] I've forgotten as much as I could about that picture.
[in 1953, on getting second billing to Tony Curtis in Houdini (1953)] I don't care if he's made one picture and I've made a hundred. I will always take second billing to my husband.

Salary (2)

The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947) $50/week
Psycho (1960) $25,000

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