Millions of female moviegoers swore they'd never step into a shower again after seeing Janet Leigh hacked to death in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). The performance earned Leigh an Oscar nomination, and it remains the career high point of a talented actress who survived the studio system to appear in some of the most noteworthy films of the 1950s and 1960s. She was initially signed to MGM after being spotted by Norma Shearer while still in her teens (debuting in 1947's The Romance of Rosy Ridge). Most notable films she was in were Little Women (1949), the baseball fantasy Angels in the Outfield (1951), and the psycho-Western The Naked Spur (1953).
In 1951 Leigh married Universal contract player Tony Curtis, and they were celebrated as Hollywood's Perfect Young Couple, appearing together in Houdini (1953), The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), The Perfect Furlough and The Vikings (both 1958). She played the luscious younger sib in the musical My Sister Eileen (1955), a Russian flier in the campy Jet Pilot (1957), a newlywed kidnapped by drug dealers in Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958), and long-suffering girlfriends in two very different films, The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963, in which she performed an energetic dance routine). Leigh was more active on TV than in features from the late 1960s on, as an attractive, mature lead or in strong secondary roles. She costarred with daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog (1980) and again in Halloween H2O. In 1984 she published an autobiography, "There Really Was a Hollywood" and her memoir of the filming of Psycho appeared in 1995.