From knife-wielding Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978) to con woman Wanda in A Fish Called Wanda (1988), Curtis has become a household name in the film industry, but did she star in ‘89 TV show Baywatch?
Jamie Lee Curtis was not in the original Baywatch series or Baywatch Hawaii (1999), nor was she in the any of the direct-to-video films or the 2017 movie. She is often confused for actress Alexandra Paul, who starred in the original TV series between 1992-97 as character Stephanie Holden.
Let’s take a look at her early career in the late ‘80s, and why she is often mistaken for having a lead role in the show.
As an actress, author, and prominent activist, Curtis was born on November 22nd in 1958 in Santa Monica, California. Her father was huge film star Tony Curtis, who found major success in the 1950s and ‘60s in movies like The Defiant Ones (1958) and Some Like it Hot (1959) with Marilyn Monroe.
Jamie Lee Curtis began her acting career in 1977. She played fairly smaller roles on TV shows, until she got a main role in series Petticoat Affair from 1977-78 as a young Lieutenant Barbara Duran.
It wasn’t until 1978 that she starred in Halloween, a slasher horror film that has now become a cult classic. This debut film role for then 20-year-old Curtis was a massive success, and she quickly earned the nickname “scream queen” due to her subsequent roles in more horror flicks.
A Similar Look
Throughout the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Jamie had sported mid-length brown hair that sat just above her shoulders. It was the same hairstyle she wore in her breakout film, often styling it with large wisps and curls as many women did at the time.
From 1980 onwards, her hairstyle showed some subtle changes, getting shorter as the years went on. By the time Trading Places rolled around in 1983, her hair was significantly shorter, practically a pixie cut.
She continued wearing her hair quite short, favoring the style over a longer alternative. It soon became somewhat of a signature look for her, throughout the early ‘90s and beyond.
This is where things may have become muddled with Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul.
Paul had also been a rising talent in the early ‘80s and ‘90s, nabbing roles in several horror and thriller films like American Nightmare and Christine in 1983, Death Train ten years later, and The Paperboy (1994). She also played a part in one episode of The Hitchhiker in 1987, a horror anthology series.
Paul had mid-length light brown hair, which was styled similarly to Curtis’ locks throughout the ‘80s. Eventually, in Dragnet in 1987, Paul’s hair was snipped into a pixie cut, much shorter than in her previous roles.
Finally, Alexandra’s appearance on Baywatch occurred in ‘92, as Lt. Stephanie Holden. She ended up playing the character for 66 episodes.
Catch Alexandra reminiscing on her time on the show on the 25th anniversary:
It was this role that she wore her hair extremely short, looking very similar to Jamie’s trademark look.
1992 was the same year that Jamie acted in Forever Young alongside Mel Gibson and Elijah Wood. Her hair was as short as ever, with a slight fringe at the front.
Having both acted in horror films in the ‘80s, and with comparable hairstyles and hair colors, slim athletic physiques, and similar facial shapes, it’s easy to see why some may confuse the two actresses.
Though, it’s clear that it was Alexandra Paul in Baywatch, and not Jamie Lee.
Revisiting the Past
After a long acting career spanning decades, she has since reprized her role as Laurie Strode in a 2018 reboot of Halloween, which follows a similar premise to the original.
Below is a post from Curtis’ Instagram that she shared during the filming process of the movie, joined by director David Gordon Green.