Janet Leigh: Janet Leigh was a legendary figure in the golden age of Hollywood, enchanting audiences with her beauty, talent, and charisma. While many people remember her as the unforgettable Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” there’s much more to her story. In this article, we’ll delve into 17 untold facts about Janet Leigh, shedding light on the life of this remarkable actress.
1. Early Life and Birth Name
Born on July 6, 1927, in Merced, California, Janet Leigh was given the name Jeanette Helen Morrison at birth. She later adopted the stage name Janet Leigh, which would become synonymous with her Hollywood legacy.
2. An Athletic Childhood
Leigh was an active child who enjoyed participating in various sports, including swimming, skiing, and ice skating. Her athleticism would serve her well in her future film roles.
3. A Passion for Acting
Her passion for acting was evident from a young age. In her teens, she studied acting at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California.
4. Early Career
Janet Leigh’s first foray into acting began with small roles in movies like “The Romance of Rosy Ridge” (1947) and “Little Women” (1949). Her talent quickly caught the attention of filmmakers.
5. Marriage to Tony Curtis
Leigh’s personal life made headlines when she married Tony Curtis in 1951. The couple became one of Hollywood’s most famous pairs, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1962.
6. “Psycho” and Iconic Shower Scene
Janet Leigh’s role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960) is arguably her most famous. Her portrayal of Marion Crane in the unforgettable shower scene is still celebrated as one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.
7. Academy Award Nomination
Leigh’s performance in “Psycho” earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a testament to her remarkable talent.
8. Janet Leigh’s Real Scream
In the famous shower scene from “Psycho,” it was actually Leigh’s scream that was used, not a sound effect. Her ability to convey terror added to the scene’s impact.
9. Post-“Psycho” Career
Following the success of “Psycho,” Leigh continued to work in Hollywood, starring in various films, including “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) and “Bye Bye Birdie” (1963).
10. Book Author
Leigh was not only an actress but also a talented writer. She authored four books, including her autobiography, “There Really Was a Hollywood” (1984), providing insight into her life in the entertainment industry.
11. Second Marriage
After her divorce from Tony Curtis, Leigh married Robert Brandt in 1962, and they remained together until her passing.
12. Television Career
Leigh made numerous appearances on television shows, including “The Twilight Zone,” “Columbo,” and “Murder, She Wrote,” showcasing her versatility as an actress.
13. A Close Friendship with Alfred Hitchcock
Janet Leigh maintained a close friendship with Alfred Hitchcock even after “Psycho.” They collaborated on several projects, and Hitchcock often referred to her as one of his favorite actresses.
14. Activism and Charitable Work
Leigh was an advocate for numerous charitable causes, including mental health awareness and children’s hospitals, reflecting her commitment to making a positive impact beyond the silver screen.
15. Mother of Jamie Lee Curtis
Janet Leigh’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a successful actress known for her roles in horror films like “Halloween.”
16. Legacy and Honors
Janet Leigh received several awards and honors during her lifetime, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, recognizing her contributions to the entertainment industry.
17. Passing and Immortal Legacy
Janet Leigh passed away on October 3, 2004, but her legacy endures through her timeless performances and contributions to the world of cinema.
Janet Leigh’s life and career are filled with remarkable achievements, hidden talents, and unforgettable moments. From her iconic role in “Psycho” to her dedication to charitable work, she left an indelible mark on Hollywood. These 17 untold facts about Janet Leigh offer a glimpse into the life of a true Hollywood icon who will be remembered for generations to come.