Gary Cooper was born Frank James Cooper on May 7th, 1901, in Helena, Montana. His parents were Alice and Charles Cooper. Charles was a lawyer who served in Montana. Despite his respectable profession, the family struggled financially.
They moved several times during Cooper’s childhood, trying to find work and stability. Despite the challenges, Cooper had a close relationship with his parents and often spoke fondly of them in interviews.
Gary Cooper’s parents, Charles and Alice Cooper, were born in England. Charles immigrated to the United States as a child and later settled in Montana.
Alice came to the United States with her family when she was a teenager and eventually met and married Charles in Montana. In 1906, Charles purchased the Seven-Bar-Nine cattle ranch, a sprawling property located some miles north of Helena near Craig, Montana.
His younger brother, Arthur, was born in 1907. The two were close growing up, and Arthur often accompanied Gary on his adventures on their family’s cattle ranch.
Cooper spent much of his childhood on the ranch, where he developed a love for the outdoors and horses. He learned to ride at a young age and even competed in rodeos as a teenager. The ranch gave the Cooper family stability and served as Gary’s playground and classroom.
An Education in England
Alice was determined to give her sons a proper English education like hers. So in 1909, she took Gary and his younger brother Arthur back to England, where they enrolled in school.
Gary studied Latin, French, and English history until 1912, adapting well to the strict school discipline but disliking the formal clothing he was required to wear. Alice then took her sons back to the United States, where Cooper resumed his education at Johnson Grammar School in Montana.
The Hip Issue
Cooper suffered a severe hip injury when he was 15 years old. The injury caused him to develop a limp that would be noticeable in many of his film performances. Horse riding was a common remedy for various ailments in those days, and Cooper spent much of his time on horseback as he recuperated.
Despite the unconventional nature of the treatment, Cooper’s dedication to his recovery and his love for horses helped him to regain his strength and mobility.
A Turning Point
Gary left Helena High School after two years in 1918 to work as a full-time cowboy on his family’s ranch, taking a detour from formal education. However, in 1919, his father arranged for him to attend Gallatin County High School in Bozeman, Montana.
Here, Cooper was introduced to an English teacher named Ida Davis, who became pivotal in his journey. Davis encouraged him to focus on academics and participate in debate and drama, helping him realize his potential and inspiring him to pursue higher education.
The Art Prodigy
In 1920, Gary Cooper discovered his love for art while taking three courses at Montana Agricultural College. The works of artists Charles Marion Russell and Frederic Remington piqued his interest. Cooper enrolled in Grinnell College in Iowa two years later to further his art education.
He excelled in his academic courses and displayed his artwork in the dorms, and was even named the art editor for the college yearbook. Funnily enough, the drama club was where he wasn’t accepted.
Moonlighting as a Guide
At Grinnell College, Cooper needed to make extra money to support himself. So, he used his cowboying skills by working as a tour guide in Yellowstone National Park during the summers of 1922 and 1923.
He would drive tourists around in an open-top bus as a guide, showcasing the park’s breathtaking scenery. While it was just a summer job to make ends meet, little did the tourists know that their guide would later become one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars.
The Start of Stunts
After his promising start at Grinnell College, Cooper left in February 1924 and headed to Chicago to find work as an artist. After an unsuccessful month, he returned to Helena and sold editorial cartoons to a local newspaper. However, Cooper’s career was about to take a dramatic turn.
In the autumn of 1924, Gary’s parents moved to Los Angeles, and he joined them there. Soon, Cooper worked in low-budget Western films for small movie studios on Poverty Row.
Gary Cooper was introduced to the film industry by two friends from Montana who worked as extras and stunt riders. Cooper worked as a film extra for $5 a day and a stunt rider for $10.
These friends introduced Cooper to rodeo champion Jay Slim Talbot, who then took him to see a casting director. Cooper and Talbot developed a strong friendship and frequently spent time together. Talbot also went on to work as Cooper’s stuntman and stand-in for more than three decades.
A Change Ahead
By 1925, Cooper had conquered the world of silent movies with his exceptional horsemanship that set him apart from other actors. He soon worked in popular Westerns like The Thundering Herd, Wild Horse Mesa, and Riders of the Purple Sage.
However, Cooper’s growing discomfort with stunt work’s dangerous and often brutal nature made him yearn for more significant roles. Determined to break free from the cycle of stunt work, Cooper took matters into his own hands.
The New Name
For Gary Cooper, a chance encounter with casting director Nan Collins led to a name that would become synonymous with classic Hollywood glamor. Collins suggested he change his name from Frank to Gary, and the inspiration came from her hometown of Gary, Indiana.
Cooper was immediately drawn to the name and the powerful image it conveyed. For Cooper, the name change represented a fresh start and a new beginning, freeing him from the limitations of his previous stunt work.
The name change opened Gary’s avenue to work in different roles. The actor went on to work in various non-Western films, proving his versatility in the profession. He worked in The Eagle (1925), Ben-Hur (1925), and The Johnstown Flood (1926).
He also played the antagonist in Tricks (1925) and played a significant role in the short film Lightnin’ Wins (1926). These roles helped him build a reputation as a dependable and versatile actor.
The First Hit
As he continued to land more credited roles, Cooper began attracting major film studios’ attention. In June 1926, he signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn Productions with a weekly salary of $50.
The same year, he also landed his first significant role in the film The Winning of Barbara Worth. Cooper’s ranch-life authenticity impressed in the movie, leading to rave reviews from critics who called him a dynamic new personality.
A Battle for Gary
Cooper’s success in The Winning of Barbara Worth made him a hot commodity in Hollywood, with studios clamoring for his attention. Samuel Goldwyn rushed to offer Cooper a long-term contract, but Cooper held out for a five-year deal worth $175 a week, which he eventually secured from Paramount Pictures.
He also played his first leading role in Arizona Bound and Nevada. He even appeared in high-profile movies such as Wings, which earned him his first Academy Award for Best Picture.
An Upward Rise
Gary Cooper’s meteoric rise in Hollywood continued, drawing increasing attention from fans and critics alike, especially women who flocked to see him on screen.
Cooper’s acting skills shone through in each film, improving with each new project. With his reputation as a leading man solidifying, Cooper was earning up to $2,750 per film and receiving an astonishing 1,000 fan letters a week! In those days, that was indeed an eye-catching number!
Paramount Pictures capitalized on his growing popularity by casting him alongside Fay Wray in films such as The Legion of the Condemned and The First Kiss, touting the pair as the studio’s glorious young lovers.
His other leading ladies included Evelyn Brent in Beau Sabreur and Florence Vidor in Doomsday, to name a few. In 1928, Cooper also starred in Lilac Time with Colleen Moore, this was his first movie with synchronized sound effects and one of the top films of that year.
The Ultimate Cowboy
Gary Cooper’s breakthrough role came in the 1929 film The Virginian. This was Cooper’s first leading role in a significant film, and it made him an overnight star. Cooper’s brave, rugged cowboy performance helped define his on-screen persona as the quintessential American hero.
The movie also established the conventions of the Western genre and helped to launch a new era of Westerns in Hollywood. Biographer Jeffrey Meyers credits Cooper with creating the image of the tall, handsome, and shy cowboy hero embodying male freedom, courage, and honor.
The Western Era
In 1929 and 1930, Gary Cooper starred in multiple Westerns for Paramount Pictures, including The Texan and The Spoilers. These films were successful at the box office and helped solidify Cooper’s star status.
He quickly became a famous leading man, known for his rugged good looks and natural acting style. Cooper’s success in these Westerns was partly due to his ability to embody the archetypal cowboy hero and his easy transition into the new sound medium.
The Ladies Man
Gary Cooper was known for his many friendships and relationships throughout his life, both with women and men. Despite his on-screen persona as the all-American hero, Gary Cooper had a reputation as a ladies’ man off-screen.
He had numerous affairs with Hollywood actresses. However, Cooper was also a private person and didn’t seek publicity for his romantic relationships, so his personal life remained largely unknown to the public during his lifetime.
A Break From Work
After making 10 films in two years, Gary Cooper started feeling the pressure of fame. In May of 1931, he left Hollywood and traveled to Algiers and Italy, where he stayed for a year.
He even went on a 10-week East Africa safari and an extended Mediterranean cruise! The trip profoundly influenced Cooper, and he returned to Hollywood rejuvenated. He negotiated a new contract with Paramount and resumed his career with a salary of $4,000 per week and director and script approval.
The Second Inning
Between 1931 and 1936, Cooper’s career and personal life were pivotal. He established himself as a top leading man and navigated the ups and downs of fame and relationships.
He starred in a series of successful films, including A Farewell to Arms (1932), Design for Living (1933), and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), which earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Cooper’s personal life during this period was also eventful, as he also tied the knot during these years.
Veronica ‘Rocky’ Balfe, Gary Cooper’s wife, was a New York socialite from a wealthy family. They were introduced at a party in 1933 and married later that year. Cooper’s friends credited the marriage with positively impacting his life.
Rocky Balfe was known for her elegance and poise and often accompanied Cooper to Hollywood events. She was devoted to her husband and supported him throughout his career. The pair owned homes in Los Angeles and Aspen.
The pair had one child together, a daughter named Maria Cooper Janis, born in 1937. Maria grew up with a close relationship with her father and often accompanied him to film sets and events.
Maria Cooper Janis followed in her father’s footsteps and pursued a career in the entertainment industry as an actress and author. She also became an accomplished painter and photographer. She describes Cooper as a loving and devoted father who always made time for his family.
In 1936, Paramount Studios offered Gary Cooper a new contract that would’ve raised his salary to $8,000 per week. However, he signed with Samuel Goldwyn for six films over the next six years, with a guaranteed $150,000 per picture.
Paramount sued Cooper and Goldwyn, but the court ruled that Cooper’s contract with Goldwyn allowed him sufficient time to honor both contracts. By 1939, he was the highest-paid actor in the United States, earning $482,819 per year, which is equivalent to $9 million today.
It’s often said that every actor has one movie they regret passing up on. For Cooper, it was probably Gone With the Wind. He was reportedly offered the lead role of Rhett Butler in the classic but turned it down due to his reluctance to play a character who was considered a bad boy.
However, the role went on to be played by Clark Gable, who gave an iconic performance that has become synonymous with the character.
An Actor’s Evolution
Gary Cooper had a long career playing the hero in many films. He’s been known for playing relatively virtuous and heroic characters and didn’t want to risk tarnishing that image by branching out.
However, as he aged, he started to rethink his approach to roles. He wanted to branch out and play more complex characters with flaws and vulnerabilities. Cooper’s evolution as an actor was evident in his later films, where he played a more comprehensive range of characters beyond the typical hero.
His First Oscar
1941 saw Cooper bag his first Oscar and cemented his name in history. He starred in Sergeant York, which Howard Hawks directed. Sergeant York was noteworthy and earned the actor his first Academy Award for Best Actor.
Aside from his acting career, Cooper also became involved in philanthropy. He also had a brief stint as a furniture designer and enjoyed outdoor activities such as fishing.
Cooper and Hemingway
Gary Cooper had a close friendship with writer Ernest Hemingway, and the two shared a love for the outdoors. They first met in Sun Valley, Idaho, in the late 1930s and became fast friends.
Hemingway admired Cooper’s understated acting style and wrote the lead role in his play The Fifth Column specifically for him. Cooper also starred in the film adaptation of Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1943.
The Pride of the Yankees
Gary Cooper’s portrayal of baseball legend Lou Gehrig in the 1942 biopic The Pride of the Yankees earned him critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination. Cooper initially had reservations about the role as he wasn’t a baseball fan.
However, after meeting Gehrig’s wife, Eleanor, Cooper was moved by her dedication to her late husband and agreed to take on the part. His performance as the beloved and courageous Gehrig touched the hearts of audiences and cemented Cooper’s legacy as a versatile and gifted actor.
A Lull in His Career
From 1944 to 1950, Gary Cooper’s career experienced a mix of highs and lows. He made several movies during that time, including the successful Western The Fountainhead in 1949. However, he also faced many box office disappointments, such as Cloak and Dagger in 1946 and Good Sam in 1948.
This was when Hollywood adjusted to a new America, and new themes and styles emerged in cinema. Cooper also adapted to this new era, and many of his later films reflected a more complex portrayal of masculinity and personal struggles.
The Camera Loves Coop
Despite many actors and directors feeling unimpressed with Gary Cooper’s acting on set or in the studio, his performances on the silver screen mesmerized audiences and critics alike. Director Sam Wood remarked that Cooper was perfect on-screen, despite thinking his off-screen acting was the worst he’d ever seen.
Cooper’s ability to underplay his characters was a strength during an era of melodrama, adding depth to his performances. Although those working with him didn’t always appreciate Cooper, the camera loved him.
Gary Cooper’s most successful Western movie was undoubtedly High Noon, which was released in 1952. The film, directed by Fred Zinnemann, tells the story of a retired lawman forced to face a group of vengeful outlaws coming to town to seek revenge.
Cooper’s performance as William Kane was stoic and measured, capturing the character’s sense of duty and honor as he faced insurmountable odds. The film won four Academy Awards, including Cooper’s second Oscar for Best Actor.
The Last Movies
Gary Cooper’s last films were made when his health was deteriorating rapidly. His penultimate film, Love in the Afternoon (1957), was also tricky, as he suffered back pain during production.
The Western film, The Hanging Tree (1959), was his last successful movie, and despite the pain and illness he was experiencing, he delivered a memorable performance. Despite the physical challenges for the actor, he continued to impress with his dedication to the craft.
By the beginning of 1961, Gary Cooper’s health had deteriorated, so he decided to spend time with his family and close friends. He attended a dinner in his honor hosted by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, where he gave a speech thanking his friends in the film industry.
Cooper later took a vacation in Sun Valley with his family and a final hike with his friend Ernest Hemingway. He watched the Academy Awards ceremony on TV, where his friend James Stewart accepted an honorary award on his behalf.
Goodbye, Gary Cooper
On May 12th, 1961, Gary Cooper passed away at the age of 60. Cooper spent his last days surrounded by his family and loved ones. He passed away peacefully on May 12th. Many of his close friends and colleagues from the film industry came to pay their respects.
Some of Hollywood’s biggest Western stars and actors were present, including James Stewart, Henry Hathaway, Fred Zinnemann, David O. Selznick, and Jack Warner. His final movie, The Naked Edge (1961), was released posthumously.
A Star for a Star
Cooper’s passing was felt by his family, friends, and the entire nation. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which he received in 1960, is a testament to his enduring legacy. He was posthumously inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 1972.
Cooper’s impact on Hollywood and the film industry can’t be overstated. He left an indelible mark on the world of cinema, and his performances continue to be celebrated and admired to this day.
Gary Cooper’s natural and understated acting style pioneered him in developing realism in cinema. His ability to convey emotions through subtle gestures and expressions, without resorting to theatricality, set the stage for a new generation of actors.
Cooper’s performances were marked by a quiet strength and sincerity that resonated with audiences and inspired countless actors who came after him.
Pop Culture Mentions
Gary Cooper’s impact on pop culture is significant. Even today, there are various references to his iconic roles and persona throughout TV, music, and literature. In the TV series Justified, the protagonist aspires to be like Cooper’s characters. In The Sopranos, Tony Soprano laments the loss of the firm, silent type that Cooper represents.
Cooper is also referenced in the classic song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. In addition, his iconic role in High Noon has been parodied in various TV shows and films.
A Hollywood Legend
Gary Cooper was an icon of the golden age of Hollywood, known for his understated yet powerful performances and his status as the quintessential American hero. He left an indelible mark on the film industry with his career spanning over three decades and 84 feature films.
Cooper’s legacy is still evident today, from his Hollywood Walk of Fame star to his influence on modern-day actors. His impact on cinema can’t be overstated, and his work continues to be celebrated by film enthusiasts worldwide.
Little Jamie came into this world in November of 1958. Born in Santa Monica to two of Hollywood’s biggest names, it seemed almost predestined that Jamie would be a star. She would spend most of her years growing up in LA.
Growing up in LA, of course, had its perks if you were a burgeoning actress or actor. From grade school to her time at Beverly Hills High School, Jamie would be surrounded by fellow children of stars, which was the biggest perk of all.
Horror’s in the Blood
Jamie’s big break would come in one of the seminal horror films ever made, but this wasn’t the first time someone in her family had made a splash in horror. Her mother, Janet Leigh, was a pretty famous horror movie star in her own right.
This is in part due to her award-winning role in the Hitchcock classic, Psycho. This earned Jamie’s mother a Golden Globe and a nod at the Oscars.
Like Father, Like Daughter
Jamie’s dad wasn’t a slouch when it came to his resume of films either. Though not in the horror genre, Tony Curtis was one of the biggest Hollywood stars of his time, starring in over 100 films. From dramas to comedies, Tony Curtis worked in every type of film to build out that resume.
Perhaps his most significant role came not long after he and his wife welcomed Jamie into their life. This film had him starring along with Jack Lemon and Marilyn Monroe in what some call the funniest film of all time, Some Like It Hot.
Jamie would eventually go on to become an iconic Hollywood star, but in the beginning, most thought that role would be played by her older sister, Kelly. After all, Kelly had already had an acting credit to her name when Jamie was born.
Kelly did go to school for acting and has had a few minor parts in different films. However, her star never got as big or as bright as Jamie’s.
A Family Splits
Like so many Hollywood romances, the love between Curtis and Leigh faded, and in 1962 the couple split up. The separation and divorce were very public and hard on the family. When all was said and done, the girls would end up staying with their mom.
In later interviews, Jamie discussed how, after the separation, her dad wasn’t around much. She also talked about how, at the time, he wasn’t really ready to play the role of daddy.
After separating from Janet Leigh, Tony would go on to marry a further three times. So, you might guess that this means a ton of half-siblings for Jamie. You would be right. Jamie has four half-siblings — two brothers, and two sisters.
Though this extended family may have had their share of family problems, the siblings try to stay in touch and close to each other. Even the differences can’t keep these siblings from being a happy family unit.
Dad’s Final Word
Over the years, Jamie had worked to rebuild her relationship with her dad, and when he passed, she was devastated. But after the grief and devastation passed, she and her siblings all felt a little betrayed.
Why? Because over the years, her father had gradually written all the children out of the will. In fact, everything that Tony Curtis owned was to be auctioned off and the money from the sales was not to go to any of his children.
What to Do?
It was assumed that Jamie and her sister would simply follow in their parent’s footsteps and enter into acting. But Jamie had a different idea, and so she set off to college attending the same school her mother had — University of the Pacific.
Instead of majoring in film or the arts, though, Jamie wanted to try her hand at something else. The young student wanted to go into law.
Report Card Blues
Being a lawyer takes a lot of hard work and typically good grades. However, this seemed to be challenging for Jamie, so it became more and more evident that maybe law wasn’t for her.
In an interview with a major publication, Jamie talked about this time in her life. She spoke about how she was a bad student; not only did she average a D+, but she also liked to party a little too much.
Why Not Give Acting a Go?
Once Jamie came to terms with the fact that school just wasn’t for her and that there was no path to success for her there, she moved back to LA. Maybe it was time to see if the acting thing was more her cup of tea.
She didn’t have a fallback plan, so she was going to need to hustle and use everything she got. This included her talent, her stubbornness, and maybe a little of her name recognition.
Her first step to getting out there once Jamie got back to LA was to hire an agent. Doing this would give her access to casting calls and get her out there auditioning for roles. Luckily, she got a good one, and he soon had a read lined up for Jamie for a new TV series.
The first audition, though, opened Jamie’s eyes to the harsh reality of acting. Getting roles was going to be a lot more difficult than she had thought. Her name alone wasn’t going to open doors.
Unfortunately for Jamie, it was going to have to get worse before it got better. She didn’t get the role she tried out for, but she still wanted to keep going. Then something big happened. She got a contract with one of the major studios — Universal.
This contract was for seven years, but this too didn’t last. Soon Jamie found herself released from that contract along with twelve others who had been recently signed. This was a hard hit, but she didn’t stay down long.
With every cloud comes a silver lining. With her Universal contract terminated, Jamie was free to take whatever work came her way. This meant she was open to the role that would launch her career.
An independent filmmaker who would end up being one of the horror movie icons was beginning filming on his latest movie. A fan of Jamie’s mother, John Carpenter, offered her the role of Laurie Strode. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Night Jaime Came Home
The independent horror film titled Halloween would launch Jamie into the limelight. Though not released by a major production company, it got quite a bit of traction, partly because of her efforts in front of the screen.
This expectation-defying film would give Jamie Lee the push she needed to get out there. In a later interview, Jamie would talk about how she was lucky to get fired from Universal because if she hadn’t, she would never have made this film.
It’s Not About the Money!?
Halloween would go on to make over $70 million worldwide. This was an amazing number considering it cost less than $400K to make. It had little to no-name recognition (sans Donald Pleasant) and was directed by a relative newcomer.
But, even with all of its success, Jamie still only earned $8,000 for her role. But, that was okay — it wasn’t about the money anyway. In reality, it was about getting her face and talent out there for the world to see.
We Dub Thee Scream Queen
For her efforts in the film (and for the subsequent horror films she would go on to star in), Jamie picked up the mantle that had been given her mom after Psycho – Scream Queen. This was an honor, and later Jamie would feel a bit of a curse.
But even still, she continued making more horror films. Many of them with John Carpenter, including her next big movie.
Another Turn With John Carpenter
It seemed like Jamie and John were a winning combination. So, when it was announced that the young actress was set to star in his next horror film The Fog, many assumed that the film would bring in tons of revenue as Halloween had.
The movie was another hit but not quite as big as Halloween for sure. Critics had mixed feelings about this horror film. Much like their first foray, this film would become a horror classic and a somewhat cult favorite.
Doubling Down on Horror
Though it was looking like she was starting to be typecast, Jamie went with what brought her to the party for the next two films. The first was a Canadian horror film that used many the same tropes as her first one. Prom Night, like Halloween, was a low budget film.
The second of her horror films was Terror Train. These films did well in the box office but were not well received by the critics.
It soon became apparent that she would forever be the Scream Queen if she didn’t do something soon. Jamie had grown up in the business and knew that this could be career-ending, as it had the potential to suffocate her talent.
Jamie has gone on record saying she was grateful for Halloween, but she knew that she was ending up in that pigeon hole, and she needed to get out quickly.
But Before I Go!
But, before she bade farewell to horror films (for a little while at least), she wanted to visit the role that made her a household name. Halloween II would hit theaters just three years after the original…
The movie did very well but where the raise came in was for Jamie’s talent. The movie, like her previous two, did not meet as high a praise as the original. Many of the critics felt there was too much gore and not enough scares.
Horror’s Not for Me
You might think that a woman dubbed the Scream Queen would love a good fright and enjoy the heck out of horror films. But, Jamie has said on many occasions that she is not that into horror films.
She loves telling people this because they inevitably laugh, seeing as how she has been in so many great horror films. But, she is very serious. Jamie Lee Curtis is just not into being scared.
With her swan song in the horror genre (or so she thought) done, Jamie wanted to stretch her acting legs and try something new. So, why not dip her toes into a genre that her dad had a little success in — comedy.
In 1983, she was cast as Ophelia alongside Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in the hilarious comedy, Trading Places. Like with Halloween, she was met with rave reviews and so started the next phase of her career.
And the Award Goes To…
Trading Places changed the course of Jamie Lee’s career. After this role, she began to be taken more seriously as an actress. The role had proven that she could do more than run from a knife-wielding psycho and scream.
In fact, this movie brought her first big award. She won a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Jamie was on her way to mainstream acceptance.
More Than Talent
There was a new aspect of her career, too. Though she had been the dream girl for many horror fans, the role of Ophelia showed off more of her assets than the role of Laurie. After Trading Places, Jamie began to be considered a Hollywood beauty.
This opened up more opportunities for her but was also frustrating for Jamie. She has gone on record as saying that sometimes the physical is all people respond to.
This attention to her looks and body was not natural to Jamie. In fact, she has said many times that she is not the glam kind of gal. At home, you will often just find her in t-shirts and sweats.
She also said that the glam and “womanly” stuff is something she only does when out and about for an event. Otherwise, she is just your typical awkward geek.
Though Jamie frowned at the attention given her for her looks, it did seem to be delivering role after role. During the ’80s and ’90s, she was on a roll when it came to good parts. This kept her not only in the public eye but in the minds of the casting agents.
These many opportunities included another career-boosting role, this time in the comedy A Fish Called Wanda. The movie was a hilarious heist movie that would also earn Jamie a few nominations from both the Golden Globes and the BAFTA.
Small Screen Foray
Why not go for the gold, right? With a strong and seriously booming career, Jamie decided she wants to try a little television. This led her to her first sitcom, Anything But Love. She starred alongside comedian Richard Lewis.
The show was a workplace romance type of romcom. The show didn’t last long but did earn Jamie two more awards. For her role, she won both a Golden Globe as well as a People’s Choice Award.
A New Acting Challenge
Up until now, Jamie had been a horror movie queen and a lady of comedy, but in 1990 she stepped into a new role — action hero. This was when she was cast in the role of Megan Turner in Blue Steel.
The movie was completely different from anything she had tried, yet Jamie’s star still sparkled. Blue Steel was met with critical acclaim, and her talents were shown to be way more versatile than many thought.
Something a Little Different
Now that the playing field had opened, it was time to start trying even more types of roles for Jamie. This included a reunion with her Trading Places co-star Dan Aykroyd in the heartwrenching coming-of-age movie, My Girl.
Jamie and the movie both received rave reviews. The film raked in good money in the box office and even had a sequel. For Jamie, it just opened up one more genre for her to be able to conquer.
I Spy a New Role
Jamie’s next big role took her experience in action and her comedic chops and rolled it all together for the spy thriller True Lies. In this film, she starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger as a married couple with some secrets and work to do on their marriage.
Jamie loved making this film and became really close friends with her co-star. Throughout the filming, it appears they learned a lot about each other.
That One Scene in That One Movie
This movie had a lot of challenges when it came to dancing. Not only did her co-star have difficulties with learning that famous tango scene, but Jamie had a pretty revealing dance to do herself.
During Jamie’s famous dance scene, the actress took a bit of a tumble. But she jumped up, dusted herself off, and continued on. And the take was so good that it actually made its way into the film. Jamie would earn another Golden Globe for this role as well.
Finding Love in Rolling Stone
As her movie career was moving upwards, her personal life was going pretty well, too. In the early ’80s, she saw this stunning man in an issue of Rolling Stone, turned to Debra Hill (a producer on Halloween), and said that he was the guy she was going to marry.
It turns out Jamie is a woman of her word, and in 1984 she married fellow actor Christopher Guest. Funny thing is this was just five months after making her declaration.
Bringing a Bundle of Joy Home
After marriage comes the baby, right? After Christopher and Jamie got married, they decided they were going to adopt their first child. Soon after, little Annie joined the family. They would later add to the family, but right now, three was the perfect number.
Annie is as strong as her mom and just as talented. She has done a few things in Hollywood but in front of the screen is not where her passions lie.
Where does Annie’s passion lay? On the dance floor. She could have easily become an actress. Instead of performing for masses on the silver screen, though, Annie prefers to doing it in person. So, she attended Kenyon College and got a degree in dance.
Annie learned all forms of dance and now is the co-director for a dance troupe. This team of hers has even won a few awards.
Godmother to a Star
Everyone knows everyone in Hollywood. This allows actors and actresses to form relationships with many of their peers. Sometimes this leads to being asked to be a godparent.
Jamie has been in this situation and is actually the godmother to Jake Gyllenhaal. They are super close, and it is even rumored that Jamie was convinced to work on the recent Halloween movie by Jake. Thanks, Jake! We owe you one!
Let’s Do This Again
After Jamie and Christopher adopted Annie, it wasn’t long until they wanted to expand their family even more. This time the couple adopted a young boy, Thomas. Now, they were complete — Jamie had her perfect family.
She and her son share a lot in common including a love for video games, which came as a shock to Jamie! Can you imagine playing video games with Jamie Lee Curtis?
WOW! What a Fan!
Well, you may have been playing with her the whole time if you are a gamer who enjoys the epic World of Warcraft MMORPG. That’s right — the iconic scream queen and movie star loves to grind through Azeroth.
She is such a big fan, she even dressed up in cosplay as her favorite character from the game for the WoW movie’s premiere. What character was it? An orc, which was pretty cool to see!
Habits Are Hard to Break
Even though Jamie’s life and career seemed to be going well, there were still some secrets she held close to her vest. Eventually, Jamie would face her bad habits and come clean to her husband.
This shocked him as he had never noticed anything. But, even though she had covered her bad habits up well, he still vowed to stay next to her and help her get over this hurdle.
Breaking the Habits
The bad habit that Jamie had come clean about was drinking, and deciding to become sober was one of the most significant decisions that Jamie had ever made. She would later say it was like breaking a family cycle that had been contributing to unhappiness for generations.
This struggle turned out in Jamie’s own words, to be the greatest accomplishment of her life. Her friends and family were very proud of her and understood why she would put it above all else.
Back to the Grind
Jamie has always been a pretty driven person, so once she came back from healing herself, she started working right away. This would be her first return to horror in many years and a reunion of sorts with that masked slasher that put her on her path to success, Michael Meyers.
The movie didn’t do as well as the original but what it did do is prove that Jamie Lee was back and ready to get on with work.
The following year she decided to take a ride on the Disney train when she starred alongside Lindsey Lohan in the remake of the comedy Freaky Friday.
The movie was a fun comedic light-hearted one that had Jamie acting like a teenager and Lindsay getting to pay the role of mom. The movie is a popular one and did very well in the theaters. Jamie even got a Golden Globe nomination for it.
Still Got It!
The 2000s would keep Jamie busy just like she had been in previous decades. She would start off with her Halloween revival and then get a little freaky with Disney. Along with this, she would keep turning out comedic gems.
Though many of her films wouldn’t see as much acclaim as the one prior, she never stopped going. In every role, Jamie continued to deliver her talent and dove all in.
Let’s Try Something New
So, we know Jamie as a great actress, but she is so much more than that. She is also a writer. She writes children’s books and has published over a dozen over the years. Her talent as a writer has enamored many children and parents across the globe.
Of course, her books have been well received because of her talent, but it probably doesn’t hurt that they are also published by one of the major publishing houses on the planet.
More to Say
She isn’t just a children’s book author, though. She also writes frequently for the Huffington Post. Here she focuses on Op-ed pieces and shares her opinions on the world today.
Along with this, she also has her own website, where she shares her thoughts and views on several topics. On her website, she makes it known that she thinks of herself as a writer first and everything else second.
But, wait — there’s more! With what downtime she has, Jamie holds a patent on an invention she dreamed up and created. Jamie has worked on a diaper that has a pocket that can hold wipes included in its design.
There have been many offers to produce her invention, but Jamie is sticking to her principles. She won’t let someone produce her diaper if they don’t make the wipes biodegradable.
After returning to her first role in 2002, Jamie had pretty much closed the door on Halloween and returned to play her iconic role. She had even said this to several reporters when asked.
Yet in 2018, she would go back on her word and reprise her role as Laurie Strode. The Halloween fanatics across the globe were ecstatic, and Jamie eased right back into the role. In the end, the movie turned out to be a rousing success, and some even called it the best of all the sequels.
I Have a Story to Tell
As if Jamie didn’t have enough pans on the fire, she also thought she would take a turn at writing a screenplay. Of course, the movie is a horror film, and if it had ever been made, it would have been titled Myth.
The film was a horror in the vein of natural disaster movies. Unfortunately, it was never really picked up and therefore never got made. We would have liked to see it, though!
Reconnecting With Her Roots
In the ’90s, Jamie and her father decided they wanted to reconnect with their ancestors. Some of Tony’s lineage was Jewish, and his ancestors came from Hungary. The two actors, when they began this adventure, received a lot of praise.
They reconnected with their roots by helping rebuild a synagogue in Hungary that had been massively damaged during WWII. Needless to say, the people in Hungary were very happy for the help.
Activism Is Also on Her Plate
When Jamie wants or believes in something, she goes all in and is very passionate about whatever it is. You can see this from her acting and writing careers, but also with more serious things like causes.
One of her significant causes is equal marriage rights for all. She even did a play called 8. This play was a reenactment of a very important court case in the fight for marriage equality.
The Scream Queen & the Sci-Fi Queen
Through the years, like with any career, Jamie has developed many friendships — including one with her best friend, Sigourney Weaver. Both have found themselves being called scream queens, and maybe that’s what they bonded over.
The two are super supportive of each other, coming to the other premieres and red carpets events. Still, Jamie has revealed that she’s too scared to watch any of Sigourney’s scary movies.
Royalty All the Way Around
Because of her parents, Jamie is often referred to as Hollywood royalty, which would be accurate. But, she can also just drop the Hollywood part and be deemed royalty thanks to the man she married.
Christopher Guest is a card-carrying European royal. He actually inherited the title from his dad and is a baron. She could be called Baroness but opts to just stay with Jamie.
Check Out Those Gams!
Jamie is definitely the cream of the crop and super talented, but do you know she also has limbs that are worth more than your mortgage? When she was at the height of her career, she decided to insure two very important things for a million dollars.
These two things? Her legs. She decided to do this just in case. This way, even if something happened, she would still be able to pay the bills.
Anything for the Kids
Jamie clearly is passionate about kids and their place in the world. Not only does she write children’s books, but she is also one of the benefactors and active leaders at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She visits the kids quite a bit in order to put smiles on their faces.
She has even worked hard to get more space for the hospital. After seeing that they need more space for more kids, she began fundraising to get a new wing built.
Helping Lift Women Up Too
Another cause that is close to her heart is women’s rights. She is a prominent figure at many marches and protests. In order to lift women up, Jamie also takes time to work with women that are less advantaged than her and many others.
Jamie has also done work with an organization called “Women in Recovery.” They have even made her the guest of honor at one of their gala’s.
She Still Has So Much More to Offer
Now in her 60s, there doesn’t seem to be any stop in her. She is still churning out memorable roles on film and television. Curtis has said she is someone who shed away all limitations so that she can keep moving forward.
So, who knows what the future brings for Jamie Lee and her fans? One thing is for sure there is another trip to revisit the role that made her the star she is today, Laurie Strode. As the next sequel to Halloween — Halloween Kills — is slated for 2021. And we are sure that many other great movies are to come after.