Thursday, July 8, 2010

Auction Donations - Janet Leigh

We are so grateful to the family of actress Janet Leigh for this autographed photo for our 2010 Angel Ball!

Biography from

Date of Birth
6 July 1927, Merced, California, USA

Date of Death
3 October 2004, Beverly Hills, California, USA (vasculitis)

Birth Name
Jeanette Helen Morrison

5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Biography
Janet Leigh was the only child of a couple who often moved from town to town. Living in apartments, Janet 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 Janet on the front desk and asked if she could borrow it. This led to a screen test at MGM 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 young ingénue in a number of films and work with such stars as Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Orson Welles and Judy Garland. She appeared in a number of successful films, including Little Women (1949), Angels in the Outfield (1951), Scaramouche (1952), Houdini (1953) and The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), among others. Janet would appear in a variety of films, from comedies to westerns to musicals to dramas. Of her more than 50 movies, she would be remembered for the 45 minutes that she was on the screen in the small-budget thriller Psycho (1960). Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this 1960 classic would include the shower scene that would become a film landmark. Even though her character is killed off early in the picture, she would be nominated for an Academy Award and receive a Golden Globe. Her next film would be The Manchurian Candidate (1962), in which she starred with Frank Sinatra. For the rest of the decade, her appearances in films would be 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-TV movies.

Robert Brandt (15 September 1962 - 3 October 2004) (her death)
Tony Curtis (4 June 1951 - June 1962) (divorced) 2 children
Stanley Reames (1946 - 1948) (divorced)
John Kenneth Carlisle (1942 - 1942) (annulled)

Was 'discovered' by Norma Shearer from a photo on the desk of Janet's father.
Mother of Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis.

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#99). [1995]
Eloped at the age of 14 - marriage was later annulled. Thus, Tony Curtis was her 3rd husband when she married him in her 20s.

Measurements: 36C-21-36 (in 1953), 35 1/2-23-36 (measured in 1960s), (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

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.
Daughter of Frederick Robert Morrison and wife Helen Lita Westergard.

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.

Personal Quotes
[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 on Psycho (1960)] Hitch relished scaring me. When we were making "Psycho," 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.
[on her Psycho (1960) co-star, the late Anthony Perkins] To me he was a leading man. But to the rest of the world, he'll always be "Norman Bates". People just wouldn't let him be anything else.

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