Janet Leigh dies at 77. The ''Psycho'' star ? and mother of Jamie Lee Curtis ? died at home

By Brian Hiatt
October 04, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Janet Leigh: Reed Saxon/AP

Actress Janet Leigh, best known for her role as a showering murder victim in Psycho, died Sunday at age 77, according to the Associated Press. Over the past year, Leigh had been diagnosed with the blood vessel inflammation known as vasculitis. The actress died peacefully at home, with her family, including actress daughters Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis, nearby, according to AP.

Leigh, whose early roles included playing Meg in 1949’s Little Women, went on to appear in such films as Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958), and  The Manchurian Candidate (1962). But her most lasting fame came via Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller  Psycho, in which Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates unforgettably stabbed her character to death in a motel shower.

 Leigh told Entertainment Weekly in 1995 that she was proud of Psycho: ”It’s a black-and-white film that did not show nudity, that did not show a weapon penetration, and that did not show sex. Everything was presented so that the audience imagined what was happening and put in the picture what isn’t even there. As for taking a supporting part, I didn’t even have to read the script before accepting. I couldn’t wait to see what Hitchcock would do.”