Janet Leigh: Young 'Psycho' Victim And Jamie Lee Curtis' Mom
By | July 5, 2020
Janet Leigh's Psycho (1960) performance -- shower scene and all -- was her most memorable screen moment, but the young actress appeared in dozens more films, including Touch Of Evil (1958), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Leigh's personal life also made her the subject of press coverage and public fascination -- she was married to actor Tony Curtis for over a decade, and one of their daughters is the actress Jamie Lee Curtis.
Janet Leigh was born Jeanette Helen Morrison in 1927 in Merced, California. She grew up in apartments as her parents moved around quite a bit. She was a smart child, finishing high school by the age of 15 and spent much of her time watching movies. After her high school graduation, she went to the University of the Pacific and studied music and psychology. While in college, she worked in stores and manned the information desk at the college, helping to support her parents financially. Her parents both worked at the Sugar Bowl, a ski resort, with her father working the desk and her mother working as a maid. Norma Shearer was at the resort in the winter of 1945-46 and saw a picture of Leigh, which she asked if she could borrow. This led to a screen test for MGM and they gave her an acting contract, despite her lack of experience. She left college and began working with an acting coach, although she did begin to attend night classes in 1947 at the University of Southern California. In 2004, she would be given an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from University of the Pacific.