1 item from 2004
4 October 2004 | IMDb News
Actress Janet Leigh, whose ill-fated shower in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho became one of the most frightening moments in cinema, died Sunday at her home in Beverly Hills; she was 77. According to a spokeswoman for Leigh's daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Leigh "died peacefully" at her home on Sunday afternoon, and had been battling vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, for the past year. A California native, Leigh (birth name Jeannette Helen Morrison) was reportedly discovered by actress Norma Shearer, who saw a photo of a young girl on the desk of Leigh's father and asked if she could borrow it. A screen test for MGM followed, and Leigh was cast in 1947's The Romance of Rosy Ridge. A number of ingénue rolls followed, most notably Little Women, Angels in the Outfield, and The Naked Spur. In 1951, Leigh married the equally photogenic Tony Curtis, and their romance and marriage was press fodder for years, even as they appeared in less-than-memorable films together, including Houdini, The Perfect Furlough, and The Vikings; the two divorced in 1962 after having two daughters, Kelly and Jamie Lee. Leigh's roles improved with her age, and she graduated from maidens in costume dramas to more contemporary heroines, and throughout the 50s she starred in My Sister Eileen, Pete Kelly's Blues, and Jet Pilot, among other films.
Leigh had one of her most memorable roles as Charlton Heston's abducted wife in Orson Welles' 1958 noir classic Touch of Evil, but just two years later she made film history by playing the doomed heroine Marion Crane in Psycho. Her brief but memorable turn in the Hitchcock film, punctuated by the classic shower scene in which the actress was slashed to death by Anthony Perkins, earned Leigh a Golden Globe and her only Academy Award nomination. Though she also appeared opposite Frank Sinatra in the now-classic The Manchurian Candidate, Leigh's Psycho turn overshadowed the rest of her career, a fact that she happily embraced, writing a book about the film's making, Psycho: Behind the Scenes in the Classic Thriller, in 1995. Leigh worked sporadically through the 70s, and appeared with daughter Jamie Lee in 1980's The Fog, but went into semi-retirement in the 80s and 90s; she appeared again with her daughter in the 1998 sequel Halloween: H20. Leigh is survived by her fourth husband, Robert Brandt, and daughters Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis. --Prepared by IMDb staff »
1 item from 2004
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