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Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis

Janet Leigh Tony CurtisJanet Leigh Tony Curtis, previous husbands. (See previous post: Janet Leigh PSYCHO / MGM Actress. Photo: Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis.)

From 1951 to 1962 Janet Leigh was married to Universal star Tony Curtis, her third of four husbands. Actresses Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, True Lies) and Kelly Curtis (the Eddie Murphy comedy Trading Places) are their daughters.

Nine years before her marriage to Tony Curtis, the 14-year-old Leigh had eloped with her boyfriend, John Carlisle, in Reno, Nevada. Shortly thereafter, the marriage was annulled at the behest of her parents. Leigh’s second marriage, in 1946, was to struggling musician Stanley Reames. The couple were divorced two years later, as Leigh’s Hollywood career began taking off.

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis: Five movies together

Their troubled marriage notwithstanding, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis went on to star in five films after the end of her MGM contract: George Marshall’s biopic Houdini (1953), with Curtis in the title role and Leigh as his wife; Rudolph Maté’s semi-historical drama The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), in which Leigh’s aristocrat falls for peasant (of sorts) Curtis; Richard Fleischer’s rousing adventure epic The Vikings (1958), with Leigh as a Welsh beauty coveted by half-brothers Curtis and Kirk Douglas; Blake Edwards’ army comedy The Perfect Furlough (1958), in which Leigh plays an army psychologist named Vicki Loren; and George Sidney’s marital comedy Who Was That Lady? (1960), also featuring Dean Martin and James Whitmore in this Norman Krasna adaptation of his own play.

While presenting the Best Screenplay Oscar at the 1960 Academy Awards ceremony, Janet Leigh plugged Who Was That Lady? in connection to Tony Curtis’ nominated gender-bending box office hit Some Like It Hot. She told a joke that ended with the punchline "That was no lady, that was my husband!" It’s unclear whether or not that got a laugh.

Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis: alleged suicide attempt, divorce

Two and half years later, the couple were divorced. Curtis later claimed that Leigh at one point tried to commit suicide by taking “all 14 pills out [of a bottle] and started popping them in her mouth. I hit her really hard on the back so they all flew out of her. Then I knew the marriage was over.”

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Continue Reading: Janet Leigh TOUCH OF EVIL / Orson Welles Remembered

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