Curtis' career in Hollywood has spanned more than 35 years. She was launched into stardom as "scream queen" heroine Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's Halloween slasher films, and went on to appear in dozens of notable film and TV projects, including A Fish Called Wanda, Anything But Love, and Freaky Friday.
Curtis is Hollywood royalty. Her father was Hollywood heartthrob Tony Curtis, and her mother was Janet Leigh, who's role as the shower-scene victim in Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film, Psycho, made her one of Hollywood's most unforgettable actresses. Curtis has a younger sister named Kelly, who has also acted, and she married British actor/filmmaker Christopher Guest (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) in 1984. Guest is British nobility - by birth, he is the 5th Baron Haden-Guest, making Curtis 'Lady Haden-Guest' - a title she does not to use professionally. The couple have two children, both adopted - Annie, born in 1986, and Thomas, born in 1996.
Curtis' earliest films were mostly horror genre films, following the colossal success of the Halloween franchise. She was annointed a Hollywood 'scream queen' for her iconic portrayal of Halloween heroine Laurie Strode in multiple films. But in 1983 she co-starred in Trading Places, a comedy starring Saturday Night Live alums Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. She earned a BAFTA Best Supporting Actress award for the film. Five years later, she received rave reviews for her starring turn in the cult classic comedy A Fish Called Wanda, with John Cleese, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin. For the film, she was nominated for Best Actress at both the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes.
By then a bona fide movie star, she turned to TV, starring for four years with Richard Lewis in the acclaimed sitcom Anything But Love. She won a Golden Globe for her work on the series in 1989, but still found time for films. She co-starred in Forever Young with Mel Gibson and Elijah Wood, My Girl and its sequel with Anna Chlumsky and Aykroyd, her Trading Places costar, True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger (for which she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award), and Drowning Mona, a 2000 comedy co-starring Danny DeVito, Better Midler, and Neve Campbell, who at the time was widely recognized as Curtis' heir apparent, following in her footsteps as the heroine of the '90s-era Scream slasher flicks. For her part, Curtis has revisited the role that made her famous throughout the years, appearing in Halloween: H20 in 1998, and Halloween: Resurrection in 2002.
By the 2000s, Curtis was still steadily working in films, though her focus had shifted from her acting career to her family. She co-starred with Lindsay Lohan in the 2003 hit remake, Freaky Friday, with Tim Allen in the seasonal comedy Christmas with the Kranks, and with Kristen Bell in another mother-daughter comedy, You Again, in 2010.
Throughout her career, Curtis has made countless television appearances in addition to New Girl, from Columbo to Charlie's Angels to The Drew Carey Show, and filmed a five-episode stint on NCIS. She also starred as the titular character in the 1981 TV movie Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratton Story, and 1995's The Heidi Chronicles, the latter of which earned her another Golden Globe nomination.
During the '90s and while raising her two children, Curtis began penning children's books. Her 1998 release, Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. She has published nearly a dozen other titles, including Is There Really a Human Race?, Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, and My Mommy Hung the Moon: A Love Story.
She is actively involved in humanitarian causes, most notably as a vocal opponent of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California before it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013. She is also an inventor, who in 1987 patented a diaper modification with a moisture proof pocket containing wipes that can be taken out and used with one hand. She refused to sell her patent to diaper companies until they made biodegradable diapers, but the patent expired in 2007, and her invention is now in the public domain.