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Creator / Janet Leigh

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"The dream factory of that time was much simpler. As media outlets grew, everything became so complicated."

Janet Leigh (born Jeanette Helen Morrison; July 6, 1927 October 3, 2004) was an American actress whose career began during The Golden Age of Hollywood and spanned almost sixty years.

Discovered by Norma Shearer, Leigh made her acting debut on radio in 1946 and secured a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer the following year. Early in her career, she appeared in popular films spanning a wide variety of genres, though she played mostly dramatic roles during the latter half of the 1950s, in such films as Safari (1956) and Touch of Evil (1958), before achieving her most lasting recognition as the doomed Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). For her performance, she was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and received an Academy Award nomination.

She had a highly publicized marriage to Tony Curtis, which ended in divorce in 1962, and after starring in The Manchurian Candidate that same year, Leigh scaled back her career. Intermittently, she continued to appear in films, including two films with her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis, The Fog (1980) and Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998). She passed away on October 2004 at age 77, following a year-long battle with vasculitis (an inflammation of the blood vessels).

And yes, she refused to take showers for decades after making Psycho, until she became physically unable to use a bathtub.

Not related to Vivien Leigh, who also used "Leigh" as a stage name. She was in fact concerned when the name was first presented to her that there might be confusion with Vivien, but her co-star in her first film Van Johnson reminded her that he himself shared his first name with Van Heflin, and yet "there's two Van's and it hasn't hurt either of us."

Filmss with pages on TV Tropes:

TV series with pages on TV Tropes:

Tropes associated with her work:

  • Actor Allusion: invoked
    • Her role in Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later features a few nods to her role in Psycho.
      • She drives the same car Marion buys to throw the cop off her trail.
      • She mentions that the shower is clogged, referencing the death scene.
      • An excerpt from the soundtrack plays when Norma and Laurie are talking.
    • In The Manchurian Candidate there's a newspaper clipping of her with then-husband Tony Curtis visible.
  • Dawson Casting: invoked She was already in her twenties playing the teenage Meg in Little Women.
  • Dead Star Walking: Infamously in Psycho. She has about thirty minutes of screen time, is horrifically murdered and the plot then becomes a Reverse Whodunnit. At the time it stunned audiences who expected her to survive longer. Although it is worth noting, she's given the And Starring credit as opposed to being top-billed.
  • Doing It for the Art: invoked She nearly wasn't in Touch of Evil because her agent turned the part down without asking her - assuming she would be offended by the low salary. Orson Welles had anticipated this and sent her a personal letter. Janet then signed on, telling her agent that she would be happy to work with Orson Welles no matter what the pay was.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Subverted. She broke her arm before filming Touch of Evil, but they resorted to tricks to hide the cast during shots. For the more revealing motel scenes, she took it off for filming and put it back on afterwards.
  • I Am Not Spock: invoked She joked that her turn in Psycho was so memorable, it almost ruined her career. Even so, it's the film she's most remembered for these days — despite her character dying halfway through the movie.
  • Life Imitates Art: invoked She was terrified of showering after seeing the famous scene in Psycho - claiming it made her realise how vulnerable a woman was when she showered.
  • Non-Singing Voice: invoked An American Dream saw her singing dubbed by Jackie Ward.
  • Old Shame: invoked She did Night of the Lepus because the filming location meant less time away from her family, and later said "I've forgotten about that picture as much as I can."
  • One-Steve Limit: Subverted. She wanted her Stage Name to be 'Leigh' but was afraid she would be confused with Vivien Leigh. Van Johnson apparently then reminded her of Van Heflin - "there's two Vans and it hasn't hurt either of us."
  • Real-Life Relative: invoked She starred with her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog (1980) and Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later.
  • Star-Making Role: invoked Portraying Bess Houdini in Houdini marked her transition to lead roles.
  • Those Two Actors: invoked Starred in five films with Tony Curtis.
  • What Could Have Been: invoked
    • Her two daughters were suggested for roles in Night of the Lepus. Janet refused, not wanting them to see horror films. Then six years later one daughter becomes a 'Scream Queen'.
    • Her character in Touch of Evil was written to be a Mexican. Changing her to a white American woman was one of the changes Orson Welles made when he became director.
    • Angela Lansbury really wanted the part of Effie in If Winter Comes but MGM insisted she play the mean wife Mabel - while Janet was cast as Effie.
    • Janet was the first choice for Simone Clouseau in The Pink Panther but turned it down because she didn't want to leave her family.

Janet Leigh in fiction: