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Janet Leigh

Best known for her Academy Award nominated role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and in the holiday classic Holiday Affair (1949).

Janet Leigh

Filmography

1947      

The Romance of Rosy Ridge

If Winter Comes

 

1948      

Hills of Home

Words and Music

 

1949      

How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border

Act of Violence

Little Women

The Red Danube

The Doctor and the Girl

That Forsyte Woman

Holiday Affair

 

1951      

Strictly Dishonorable

Angels in the Outfield

Two Tickets to Broadway

It’s a Big Country

 

1952      

Just This Once

Scaramouche

Fearless Fagan

 

1953      

The Naked Spur

Confidentially Connie

Houdini

Walking My Baby Back Home

 

1954      

Prince Valiant

Living It Up

The Black Shield of Falworth

Rogue Cop

 

1955      

Pete Kelly’s Blues

My Sister Eileen

 

1956      

Safari

 

1957      

Jet Pilot

 

1958      

Touch of Evil

The Vikings

The Perfect Furlough

 

1960

Who Was That Lady?

Psycho

Pepe

The Manchurian Candidate

 

1963      

Bye Bye Birdie

Wives and Lovers

 

1966      

Kid Rodelo

Harper

Three on a Couch

An American Dream

 

1967      

The Spy in the Green Hat

Grand Slam

 

1969      

Hello Down There

 

1972      

One Is a Lonely Number

Night of the Lepus

 

1979      

Boardwalk

 

1980

The Fog

 

1985      

The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal

 

1998      

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

 

2005      

Bad Girls from Valley High

Awards

Janet Leigh was nominated for one Academy Award

I don’t know what it is I exude. But whatever it is, it’s whatever I am! ~ Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh was born Jeanette Helen Morrison, on July 6, 1927 in Merced, California. The only child of Helen Lita (née Westergaard) and Frederick Robert Morrison. Shortly after Leigh’s birth, the family relocated to Stockton, where she spent her early life. She was brought up in poverty, as her father struggled to support the family with his factory employment, and he took various additional jobs after the Great Depression.

In 1941, when her paternal grandfather became terminally ill, the family relocated to Merced where they moved into her grandparents’ home. She attended Weber Grammar School in Stockton. and later Stockton High School. Leigh excelled in academics and graduated from high school at age sixteen.

In September 1943, she enrolled at the College of the Pacific (now University of the Pacific), where she majored in music and psychology. While in college, she joined the Alpha Theta Tau sorority, and sang with the college’s a cappella choir. In order to help support her family, she spent Christmas and summer vacations working at retail shops and dime stores, as well as working at the college’s information desk during her studies.

In the winter of 1945–6, actress Norma Shearer was vacationing at Sugar Bowl, a ski resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains where Leigh’s parents were working at the time. In the resort lobby, Shearer noticed a photograph of Leigh taken by the ski club photographer over the Christmas holiday, which he had printed and placed in a photo album available for guests to browse. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Shearer showed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) talent agent Lew Wasserman the photograph of the then-eighteen-year-old Leigh (Shearer’s late husband Irving Thalberg had been a senior executive at MGM).  

Through her association with MGM, Shearer was able to facilitate screen tests for Leigh with Selena Royle, after which Wasserman negotiated a contract for her, despite her having no acting experience. Leigh dropped out of college that year, and was soon placed under the tutelage of drama coach Lillian Burns.