Actress. Mother. Philanthropist. Author.

From humble beginnings in Stockton, California, Janet Leigh became an overnight sensation, charming audiences with her beauty, charm, and genuine personality. Her collection offers a chance to go behind the scenes of this classic Hollywood actress and learn about life on the silver screen, but more importantly about Janet Leigh, the woman.


Exhibit created by: Mia Watts

Exhibit imported to DCX by: Gillian Goldberg

Many thanks to Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis for gratiously donating Janet Leigh's materials to the Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, so that her collection is accessible to the public.

Janet Leigh and Stockton

Jeanette Helen Morrison was born in Merced, but spent most of her childhood in Stockton, CA. She graduated from Stockton High School in 1943 and attended College of the Pacific shortly thereafter.

Janet Leigh-Diploma

Janet Leigh continued to volunteer her services to the Stockton community throughout her life. In October 2006, a bronze plaque was dedicated to Leigh in downtown Stockton.

On September 28, 1972, Mayor Charles E. Bott declared the day "Janet Leigh Day in Stockton," as evidenced by this certificate.

Janet Leigh-Proclamation

Janet Leigh-Magnolia Mansion

Above: Janet Leigh in front of Magnolia Mansion in Stockton, CA, c.1980

Janet Leigh-Stockton Sign

Janet Leigh-Downtown Stockton

Left: Janet Leigh and her parents walking around downtown Stockton in front of the Hotel Stockton, 1951

Right: Janet Leigh in a car with her parents next to the Stockton City Limits sign, 1951

In 2013, actors Kelly and Jamie Lee Curtis, daughters of Leigh and husband Tony Curtis, graciously donated Janet Leigh's materials to the Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives so that her collection is accessible to the public.

Janet Leigh-Collection Accession Document

Janet Leigh at UoP

Jeanette Morrison started at the College of the Pacific in September of 1943 and studied music and psychology, now known as Music Therapy. She was involved in student government and sang in the Pacific Singers.

Janet Leigh-Walking Around UoP

Left: Janet Leigh, second from right, walking on UoP campus

"September 1943. College of the Pacific was another beginning... but this time sixteen-year-old Jeanette was fortified with good friends from high school, so it wasn't as threatening."

She joined Alpha Theta Tau sorority and lived on campus in the sorority house that now belongs to Kappa Alpha Theta.

Janet Leigh-Alpha Theta Tau House

Right: Janet Leigh and her parents waving at students outside the Alpha Theta Tau sorority house. Janet Leigh, center. 1951

"... Jeanette found out she was pledged to the sorority of her choice--Alpha Theta Tau! was the personification of belonging, of being wanted."

She married Stanley Reames in Morris Chapel and left COP in 1946...

Janet Leigh

Left: Janet Leigh and Eddie LeBaron in front of Morris Chapel, 1951

"The chapel of College of the Pacific was quite lovely and small and exuded an aura of warmth and peacefulness and beauty."

... the same year she was discovered by silent film veteran, Norma Shearer.

Janet Leigh-First Headshot

Right: Janet Leigh, First "Headshot" c.1945

"Oh--Norman Shearer... like the picture of you I had on my desk so much they took it home with them."

Janet Leigh-Honorary Doctorate

Janet Leigh-Honorary Doctorate Recipient

She received her honorary doctorate from Pacific in May 2004.

Janet Leigh with President Don DeRosa receiving her honorary doctorate