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8 wild facts about 'Psycho' star Janet Leigh

Image: Paramout Pictures

Most known for her role as Marion Crane in Psycho, Janet Leigh has gone down in history as one of the first scream queens of Hollywood. Leigh has been in plenty of productions prior and since, from the stage to the radio to the screen. She died on October 3, 2004, but she'll always be remembered.


She was married at 15

When Leigh was 15, she married 18-year-old John Kenneth Carlisle, but the marriage was annulled four months later. She claimed to be 18 at the time. She was married once more before marrying Tony Curtis in 1951, as seen here.

Image: AP Photo


She got a contract with MGM before ever acting

Leigh was actually attending the College of the Pacific, studying music and psychology before she got her first film role, The Romance of Rosy Ridge. She quit school, but enrolled again at the University of Southern California when the movie wrapped up. 

Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


She is not connected to Vivien Leigh in any way

When you Google "Janet Leigh" one of the first suggested searches is "Janet Leigh Vivien Leigh related." The answer is: nope! In fact, Leigh was born Jeanette Morrison. During the filming of The Romance of Rosy Ridge, her name was changed from her birth name, to Jeanette Reames, to Janet Leigh and back to her birth name. Despite the fact that people were concerned that the screen name was too close to Vivien Leigh's, she stuck with it.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


‘Psycho’ viewers thought she was the star

The promotional material and the fact that so much of the early movie’s plot is all about Marion Crane and the money she stole was meant to throw viewers off. Leigh was also such a big star it seemed impossible that she'd be killed so early on in the film. The fact that the shower scene was so unexpected was what made it so scary!

Image: The Hitchcock Zone


‘Psycho’ scarred her

As the victim of Norman Bates’ shower attack in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Leigh has said that she didn’t like taking showers in real life anymore. She opted for baths after filming that movie. She told The New York Times that she made sure all the windows and doors in the house were locked and if she did take a shower, she left the bathroom door and curtain open.

Image: Giphy


She and her daughter are both horror legends

Though Leigh has been in dozens of films, she’s most known for her role as Marion Crane, and though her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis has also been in countless movies, she’s known as Laurie Strode from Halloween. The two have actually been in two horror films together as well: The Fog and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.

Image: AVCO Embassy Pictures


She was a writer as well

Leigh wrote four books: a memoir which became a New York Times Bestseller, a nonfiction book about Psycho called Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller, and two fiction novels.

Image: Amazon


You can visit the Janet Leigh Theatre

The University of the Pacific named the campus’s movie theater the Janet Leigh Theatre in 2010. You can check out the gown Leigh wore to the 1961 Academy Awards on display.

Image: Giphy

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