: I don't know what it is I exude. But whatever it is, it's whatever I am!
Janet Leigh was the only child of a couple who often moved from town to town. Living in apartments, Janet was a bright child who skipped several grades and finished high school when she was 15.
A lonely child, she would spend much of her time at movie theatres. She was a student, studying music and psychology, at the University of the Pacific until she was "discovered" while visiting her parents in Northern California. Her father was working the desk at a ski resort where her mother worked as a maid.
Retired MGM actress Norma Shearer saw a picture of Janet on the front desk and asked if she could borrow it. This led to a screen test at MGM and a starring role in The Romance of Rosy Ridge. MGM was looking for a young naive country girl and Janet filled the bill perfectly.
She would play the young ingénue in a number of films and work with such stars as Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Orson Welles and Judy Garland.
Leigh played mostly dramatic roles during the latter half of the 1950s, in such films as Safari and Orson Welles's film noir Touch of Evil, but achieved her most lasting recognition as the doomed Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, which earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Her highly publicized marriage to actor Tony Curtis ended in divorce in 1962, and after starring in The Manchurian Candidate that same year, Leigh scaled back her career.
She would also go on to appear in two horror films with her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis: The Fog, and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998).