In an exclusive Parade interview with movie expert and film historian Leonard Maltin, Jamie Lee Curtis—who’ll again face creepy, hard-to-kill Michael Myers in theaters Oct. 19—talks about growing up a Hollywood kid, her long marriage to filmmaker-actor Christopher Guest and how horror has shaped her career.
Not a Horror Fan. In the original Halloween (1978), she became famous as the proto-teenage scream queen and launched a genre of contemporary horror about young people terrorized by boogeymen. But she’s never been a fan of things that go bump in the night. “I don’t love the genre,” she says of fright flicks. But “every good thing that happened to me was because I was in horror films.”
Star Child. Her famous parents—her mother was Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis was her father—were both acclaimed actors. But she says they never received the recognition they felt they deserved from the industry, for films including Psycho, Spartacus and Some Like It Hot. She says she learned that an award “can’t be the goal, because you’ll always be disappointed.”
Accidental Actress. Her college years ended abruptly when she went to an audition, got turned down, but stuck with it and was soon on her way to a career in TV and in the movies. “I became an actress by accident! I was gonna be a social worker or a cop!”
Marriage Is a Funny Thing. She and Christopher Guest, whose films include This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show and The Princess Bride, will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary in December. Their shared sense of humor is one of the keys, she says. “He’s funny, I’m funny. We still figure it out.”