Photo of Janet Leigh Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh was born Jeanette Helen Morrison on July 6, 1927, in Merced, Calif., and was discovered by actress Norma Shearer, who reportedly snapped Leigh's photograph while she was vacationing at a ski resort.

After signing a contract with MGM and getting a new name from studio head Louis B. Mayer, Leigh blossomed as a pretty ingénue in films such as Words and Music (1948), Little Women (1949), Angels in the Outfield (1951) and Orson Welles's Touch of Evil (1958). But she became a bona fide lead actress with her iconic role in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) -- a film made famous for its creepy shower scene -- which earned her Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Leigh followed that success with memorable roles in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963) before easing her way out of the spotlight, taking occasional roles in television until her death on Oct. 3, 2004.

Janet Leigh in Psycho


1960 R

When larcenous real estate clerk Marion Crane goes on the lam with a wad of cash and hopes of starting a new life, she ends up at the notorious Bates Motel, where twitchy manager Norman Bates cares for his housebound mother. The place seems quirky but fine until Marion decides to take a shower. Director Alfred Hitchcock's Oscar-nominated shocker has been terrifying viewers for decades -- and for good reason.

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