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Jamie Lee Curtis on Screams, Laughter and Kindness

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum in Los Angeles is home to the treasures of the film world – and that’s where we met one of them.

“This is my hometown, right here, all of it,” said Jamie Lee Curtis, looking out over Hollywood.

“Did you grow up here, did you raise your children here?” asked reporter Tracy Smith.

“I did. I mean, it’s amazing and beautiful.”

And for Curtis, the words “awesome” and “beautiful” are just the words that describe her life.

She’s known for getting a good jump scare, but in more than 40 years in the business, she’s been able to grab our attention and make us hold our breath. And her best work, she says, comes in those moments when she can just relax.

“When I’m free, I’m fantastic,” she said. “It’s an amazing job. But if I can be free, I can’t be stopped in anything. I’m just like that.”

– And when did you feel the most free?

“In terms of work? I mean, Deirdre, I do fly!”

And she really flies: In this year’s Everything Everywhere and At Once, her character, Deirdre Babeidre, is an airborne assaulter, and in an alternate universe she’s an even more terrifying villain: an IRS auditor.

“Now all you see is a bunch of boring forms and numbers, but I see a story. With only a stack of receipts, I can trace the ups and downs of your life. And it doesn’t look good. … look good.”

Jamie Lee Curtis as IRS agent Deirdre Bobaird in All at once.


Curtis said: “I know women like Deirdre Babeidre. I think we all know. We’ve all had so many disappointments, so many opportunities that break our hearts afterwards. And I think Deirdre’s heart has just been broken. I know her. I love her.”

Critics also loved her. Oscar talk is already in the air. It is the logical result of hard work, talent and perhaps good genes.

Her mother, Janet Leigh, scared the crap out of us in Psycho. But she was also someone who could hold her own in a scene with Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate. And her father, Tony Curtis, was a legend in his own right.

Children of Curtis
Janet Lee and Tony Curtis with their daughters Jamie Lee and Kelly Lee in 1961.

Halton Archive/Getty Images

Jamie Lee was the second of their two daughters.

Smith asked, “Did you call yourself a child of wedlock?”

“Yes, totally. Of course.”

– Didn’t it save the marriage?

“My parents divorced when I was three years old,” Curtis said. “It was terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible. I was also raised by my mom, who came from scratch and approached the industry with big, wide eyes. I don’t have big eyes for it. I understand the industry.. But I have the same appreciation for it.”

“Are you anything like your father?”

“Oh, of course, of course, of course. He would like to go into the great room, Hello everyone. Hello, this is Tony. Good afternoon. You know, he liked it. He liked Tony Curtis’ performance. And I found myself in the middle.”

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

CBS News

And like both her parents, Curtis became a star, but she seems to have had more luck in love than they did. She said she fell in love with actor/director Christopher Guest after seeing his picture in a magazine in 1984. “I was with my friend Debra Hill and I said to Debra, ‘Oh, ah. I will marry this guy. ‘ And she said, ‘Who?’ I said: “There he is. I will marry him.” Long story short, it happened later that year.

She said he can make her fall on the floor laughing, as can her co-stars, which isn’t always a good thing on set. Smith asked, “I read somewhere that you have a trick. How do you keep a straight face?”

“I stepped on the handle. I put my shoe on it. And when I’m standing there, I’ll just press my heel on her. Because I have to. You have to distract your brain.’

– And did it work?

“Oh, it works great.”

However, she is most famous for her serious role: Laurie Strode from the TV series “Halloween”. She was 19 years old when she first came across John Carpenter’s classic horror film. And this year’s “Halloween Ends” was (reportedly) her last bow.

To watch the trailer for Halloween Ends, click the video player below:

Halloween Ends – Final Trailer by
Universal pictures on

For Curtis, the role of Laurie Strode was more than a movie role; she said it was a bridge to everything she ever wanted. “Every time I talk about it, I cry. Because it was given to me.’

– What did it give you?

“All my life. My whole life is about Laurie Strode. I don’t know what would happen. I know I would never succeed. And the fact that people cared about her so much, I mean a lot. I treat it with incredible respect. And I feel very proud and proud of it.”

Curtis also runs an online business called My Hand in Yours, where he sells everything from bronze sculptures of clasped hands to hats and hand sanitizer, with every cent going to benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “My little company almost raised a million dollars in two years,” she said.

At the moment, her life is largely about giving back. She acquired the naming rights to one of the structural pillars of the Academy Museum and dedicated several pillars to the branch: her parents.

– Here she is, – she said. “She’s right there. But you see what I like, you see, they just left it completely rough-combed. But it’s cool!”

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, honored on a plinth at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum.

CBS News

And perhaps it’s no surprise that Jamie Lee Curtis, who has faced death time and time again in movies, has a pretty clear idea of ​​what she’d like to leave behind.

Smith asked, “When you think about what your own legacy will be, what do you think?”

“I hope my legacy is one of kindness,” Curtis said, “that I understand that life is hard. And I really feel like I’m aware that life is really hard for people. Maybe humor, a little humor would be nice.. Don’t take it so seriously. You know, just, like, lighten it up a little bit. But kindness. In the end, I hope it’s a kindness.”

For more information:

Story prepared by John D’Amelio. Editor: Lauren Barnella.

See also:

Horror master John Carpenter



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