Jamie Lee Curtis with Michael Myers


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  • Why Jamie Lee Curtis Almost Didn’t Become An Actor
  • How Jamie Lee Curtis Was Cast As Laurie Strode In Halloween

There’s no doubt that Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the richest ‘Final Girls’ in cinema history. The reality is that so much of what her net worth and lifestyle looks like today is owed to the Halloween franchise. While she was only paid four figures for the first film in the horror franchise, she has since gone on to make a ton of money from it.


Jamie Lee Curtis wrapped up her 40-year-plus career playing Laurie Strode with 2022’s Halloween Ends. It seems her focus is now on other projects, which have been almost as successful. She may even earn an Academy Award nomination for her work in the incredible Everything Everywhere All At Once. For those aware of the Hollywood royalty she was born into, this may not seem like a surprise. But when Jamie first started acting, she clearly had no idea that she’d become this successful. In fact, she originally didn’t want to become an actor…

Why Jamie Lee Curtis Almost Didn’t Become An Actor

During an interview with Vulture, Jamie Lee Curtis detailed her life before starring in her debut film, John Carpenter’s 1978 horror masterpiece Halloween. Jamie was born in Santa Monica to two of the most famous figures in Hollywood, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Although after their divorce, Jamie claimed that her biological father was barely around. According to People, she was mostly raised by her mother and her stepfather, Robert Brandt.

Unsurprisingly, Jamie Lee Curtis went to a few very elite schools, including the famed Beverly Hills High School. She then attended the University of the Pacific Stockton. This is where she studied… not to become an actor… but to become a police officer. Of course, the closest she’d come is playing one in 1989’s Blue Steel.

“I wasn’t originally going to be an actress. I was going to be a police officer. I thought I would be a cop or a social worker,” Jamie Lee Curtis admitted to Vulture in November 2022. “I thought I’d be a really good cop. I went to college at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where my mother was the most famous person to have ever graduated. Somehow, they wanted me with my D+, 840 combined SAT scores.”

Related: Jamie Lee Curtis First Day On Halloween Was Drastically Different From The Rest Of The Shoot

However, when she came home for Christmas during her first semester, Jamie’s life took her in a different direction.

“A tennis instructor was using a friend’s tennis court to teach tennis; his name is Chuck Binder. When I saw him at the Christmas break, he said, ‘Hey, Jamie, I’m managing actresses now’ — because that’s what you do when you teach tennis in L.A. You also manage actresses,” Jamie said during her interview with Vulture. “He said, ‘They’re looking for Nancy Drew at Universal. Why don’t you go up for it?’ What was I, 18? I had brown hair. Maybe I was smart? I don’t know. I went up for that part, and I didn’t get it.”

How Jamie Lee Curtis Was Cast As Laurie Strode In Halloween

Despite Jamie Lee Curtis not being cast as Nancy Drew, the casting director was intrigued by her. So much so that Chuck Binder (the tennis instructor/manager) encouraged her to continue trying for roles.

“So I took a month off from college to do an independent study,” Jamie Lee Curtis explained to Vulture. “I wrote to UOP’s drama department and said, ‘Hi, I’m in L.A. Can I spend the month and try to break into show business? I’ll take acting classes, go to auditions, and I’ll write a paper for drama.’ They said yes and so I stayed in L.A., and at the end of the month, I ended up signing a seven-year contract at Universal Studios as an actor and quit college.”

Related: How Jake Gyllenhaal Helped Jamie Lee Curtis Get Back Into Her Halloween Role, When She Wanted Nothing To Do With It

After being fired from one of her first acting jobs, Jamie claimed that she thought he career was over.

“I thought I was gonna lose my contract; I thought I was gonna have to go back to college.”

But then Halloween came around.

“Chuck Binder said that they were casting a low-budget horror film in Hollywood on Cahuenga in a s***y little two-room office. They sent over a scene, and I went and auditioned to play Laurie Strode. There are three parts for young girls: There’s a cheerleader — duh! I’m a total cheerleader. There’s a smart-aleck — I mean, super-duh! And then there’s the quiet, repressed v*rgin intellectual. Not duh! But [co-writer/director/composer] John [Carpenter] and [co-writer and producer] Deborah [Hill] somehow saw something, and they cast me as Laurie Strode. And my life has never, ever ceased to amaze me since that moment.”

Related: How Jamie Lee Curtis Met Her Husband And The Shocking Way She Decided To Marry Him

During an interview with the American Film Institute, Jamie Lee Curtis admitted that there was another actor who could have gotten the part of Laurie Strode. Aside from her audition, she credits her mother, Janet Leigh, as the reason she got the part. This is because John Carpenter and Deborah Hill were big fans of her acclaimed film, Psycho. She addressed the same topic in her November 2022 interview with Vulture.

“I guarantee you that when weighing those two options, to have the daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis who legitimately got to those final two, it’s gonna tip it in my favor. It just did,” Jamie said to Vulture.

“When I was young and people would ask me about that, it would feel like what they were trying to say was ‘You didn’t get this because you were any good. You got this because you have famous parents.’ And that’s a s****y thing to say to somebody when they’re young,” Jamie continued. “Then you as a young person have to try to defend it. It’s not fair, and yet we do it all the time. We all do it. Any time the child of a famous person, whatever the job, tries to do the same job, we all by nature go, Really? Uh-huh. I know that happened for me, but I fully accept that my mother’s legacy tilted it in my favor.”

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