Growing up in Hollywood as the daughter of two A-list movie stars was the ultimate finishing school for Jamie Lee Curtis. The veteran actress says she learned volumes about aging, keeping secrets and career longevity from her late parents, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. “I wanted to be mindful, as the daughter of stars,” she explains.
The Hitchcock beauty and the Some Like It Hot star were at the height of their careers when daughters Kelly, 65, and Jamie Lee, 62, came along. But Jamie Lee saw her parents, who divorced in 1962, spend the latter part of their lives struggling to find jobs. “I watched [them] get face-lifts and neck lifts,” she confides. “I watched their work diminish; I watched their fame not diminish. [It’s] very hard to be famous but not be doing the thing that made you famous. And that for the rest of your life, you’re famous for something you did a long time ago, and you chase that attention.”
Even after Jamie Lee became a star at 19 in 1978’s Halloween, she vowed to do things differently. “[Hollywood is] all about what you look like,” admits Jamie Lee, who hedged her bets by becoming a children’s book author in 1993. “I don’t want to be the person pining away for work and not get- ting it. It’s humiliating.”
Acting jobs have continued to come to Jamie Lee. She will return to the role of Laurie Strode in two upcoming Halloween sequels. “I’m lucky to get a job anywhere, at my age, and here is a job that has real depth,” she says of returning for the sequels.
But Jamie Lee is also confident that she’ll be fine if Hollywood stops calling — just don’t expect her to write a tell-all memoir about her time on the A-list. Unlike her father, Tony, who wrote a candid memoir in 2008, Jamie Lee is keeping her secrets.
“It will never, ever happen,” she vows. “I’d sell my house. I wouldn’t betray people for money.”
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