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Out of the Archives: Jamie Lee Curtis on Her Parents

When Jamie Lee Curtis was interviewed by the journalists of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1981, she spoke about her famous actor parents: her mother Janet Leigh and her father Tony Curtis.
“My parents were really wonderful people. They said, ‘Do what you want to do, but do it well.’ Any field was fine with them, as long as you did it as well as you could. They did not necessarily give me specific acting advice, because I am different than they are, but you know things just by watching them and being around them.”
“It was very tough for me to be somebody’s daughter for a long time. There’s a lot of pressures put on kids of famous individuals. The fact that I started working young made it a lot easier, because it gave me some self-esteem and something that was mine. I could look at a movie and, no matter if anybody wanted to say that I got the role because of my parents, it’s not them up there, it’s me, and that makes you feel good.”
“My life was straight out normal. I went to school, I had friends, we played, we did everything that a kid does. It was really a normal childhood, which is wonderful, because no matter what you do, then you have a substantial base in your life to go away from, so that, like any plant or anything, you can go around and grow, look and investigate, but you still have that root. If you don’t have that, that’s when you get very insecure.”
“My mother was offered the ambassadorship of either Denmark or Sweden, I don’t remember which country (Finland), when President Johnson was in office, but she turned it down because of her family. She wouldn’t do any movies that took her away from home, unless we were able to go with her with a tutor, which was very rare, because she didn’t like to do that. “
“Lots of people know my father, love him and respect him, as they should, because he was a terrific guy and such a good actor, it’s frightening. He was a genius; his comedic talents were wonderful. He was great in Some Like It Hot, Houdini, The Defiant Ones. My mother was wonderful in The Manchurian Candidate and Touch of Evil. What a great body of work the two of them have, I’m so proud of them, I think they’re fabulous.”
“I was most disheartened in this business when I was told that I had no resemblance to Lauren Bacall. That killed me, because I like a woman who can say ‘fuck’ and ‘flower’ in the same sentence and get away with it. I like somebody who can go out and shoot pool with the guys, then go to a wedding shower, sit with the women, drink tea and eat cookies. It’s an androgynous quality that I like very much, and I am drawn to those tough and strong women as friends.”