Monday, October 24, 2011

Inspirational Icon Monday: Janet Leigh

As an ex-aspiring actress, I know how frustrating women like Janet Leigh are. Women that have never dreamed of being on the big screen and suddenly find themselves there anyway. She had never acted in her life until Norma Shearer showed a photo she had taken of Leigh smiling at a ski resort while on vacationand to an executive at MGM. Leigh was instantly signed to a contract that actual actresses would have been dying to land. On top of her film career being handed to her, she also had the luck of being married to the talented, funny and deliciously handsome Tony Curtis. This girl had it all in the fifties. Her redemption in my eyes? Although initially leaving the University of Pacific where she studied psychology and music once MGM signed her in 1946, she quickly enrolled in night school at USC in 1947. This dedication to her education--especially for a woman in the 1940's--is such an admirable trait and makes up for her easy ride to Hollywood stardom.

Janet Leigh is famous for being a part of the first slasher scene in cinematic history. Leigh's character Marion in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho seems to be the lead character until she is shockingly murdered while in the shower at the Bates Motel. This scene was not only alarming because of its bloodiness, but also because it insinuated a completely complete nudity on screen. Despite having a successful career with film roles in such classics as Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), and The Manchurian Candidate (1962), a famous husband, Jamie Lee Curtis as her daughter, and a simple yet elegantly classic style, she was and always will be known for her Hitchcock nudity.

My ode to Janet Leigh in Psycho. Happy Halloween!

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