Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of Hollywood legends Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, believes her late mother wouldn’t have taken kindly to the revolutionary #MeToo movement.
The topic came up as the “Halloween Kills” star and producer was recently talking to fellow actor and longtime friend Melanie Griffith about Leigh’s work with Alfred Hitchcock.
Leigh was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “Psycho.” Griffith’s mother, Tippi Hedren, starred in Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and “Marnie” and accused the director of sexual assault and misconduct.
“I don’t know how he was with your mom, but he apparently was not very good with my mom,” Griffith, 64, said in the actors’ Interview magazine chat published Friday.
“I don’t think Janet would have ever acknowledged if there was any bad behavior,” Curtis, 62, said.
“She was, it’s a bad term, but kind of Pollyannaish about the industry,” Curtis explained. “I think the #MeToo movement would have really upset her. It’s not fair to unpack that, because she’s dead and I’m going to put words in her mouth, but knowing her, I think she would not say that he misbehaved in any way. But it’s interesting that maybe our mothers were in competition with each other.”
Both Leigh and Hedren, 91, were branded “Hitchcock Blondes” — along with Grace Kelly and Kim Novak — while starring in the veteran filmmaker’s biggest hits. But Curtis and Griffith didn’t think their moms were friends because the women “worked with him singularly.” Incidentally, Curtis paid homage to her mother and “Psycho” last week when she dressed up as Leigh’s “Psycho” character, Marion Crane, for the Hollywood premiere of “Halloween Kills.”
Hedren released “Tippi: A Memoir” in 2016, decades after Hitchcock’s 1980 death and a year before the #MeToo movement exposed the ubiquity of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond. In the book, Hedren alleged that the director abused and sexually assaulted her — a narrative dramatized in the 2012 HBO film “The Girl” — and accused him of punishing and tormenting her on set, as well as sabotaging her career for rebuffing his advances.
“Maybe [they were in competition] but your mom was Hollywood royalty,” Griffith told Curtis. “My mom sort of became Hollywood royalty later, but she was an anomaly and didn’t last long with Hitchcock. That was a sad story. You know, she was of the #MeToo movement, and it was not accepted at that time. She was shunned and he made sure that she was shunned.”
Curtis said, “I’m not saying my mom wouldn’t have stood up to him, but she was to her dying day nothing but grateful to Hitchcock and Alma [Reville, Hitchcock’s wife].”
She added that she didn’t think Leigh “would ever have acknowledged” anything was amiss, “because from her standpoint, she was just grateful. That was very much her take. I think she would have looked at it as, ‘That was just the way it was.’”
Leigh, who also starred in Orson Welles’ “Touch of Evil” and John Frankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate,” died in 2004 of vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels.