Playing the iconic role of Laurie Strode, Jamie Lee Curtis has been fighting evil for over five decades since the first Halloween movie in 1978. Just as the Halloween movies inspired and set the genre for horror-slasher films to come, the role of Laurie would pave the way to Curtis starring in other horror films, earning her the title of “scream queen” and “final girl”.
Despite her age and the Halloween films being rooted in action, Curtis shows no signs of slowing down, with two more appearances as Laurie in Halloween Kills (slated to be released at the end of this year) and Halloween Ends (pre-production). By the end of the franchise, Curtis will likely be in her mid-sixties. Here’s how old she was during each of her appearances in the Halloween movies.
Halloween (1978) – Age 19
Curtis makes her acting debut at the age of 19, (Halloween was released on October 29th, 1978 in the United States, before her 20th birthday) in John Carpenter’s horror-slasher flick Halloween. Although Curtis’ Strode would go on to become the heroine in the franchise that we all love throughout the decades, what comes surprisingly was that she was not Carpenter’s first choice for that role.
The casting for Laurie originally went towards Anne Lockhart. Unable to commit to the role due to scheduling conflicts, Curtis was then considered as a viable choice partially due to her being the daughter of Janet Leigh (star of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho). Curtis was the only actual teenager among her co-stars as P. J. Soles and Nancy Loomis were both 28 years old.
Curtis plays the role of Laurie Strode, 17- year old high school student in the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois that would soon become the hunting ground of a masked serial killer Michael Myers.
Halloween II – Age 23
With the first film’s success, Curtis would become Hollywood’s Scream Queen, with lead roles in horror films such as The Fog, Prom Night and Terror Train. Curtis would go on to then reprise her role as Laurie in Halloween II. During filming, Curtis had donned a new shorter hairstyle requiring her to wear a wig that matched Laurie’s hairstyle in the first film. At the time of filming, Curtis was 23 years old.
Directed by Rick Rosenthal, the 1981 sequel picks up just minutes after Halloween (1978) left off. This time, the film takes place around the hospital where Laurie was admitted. Michael begins killing the hospital staff in an attempt to find and kill Laurie.
Halloween III (Season of the Witch) – Age 24
The third installment of the Halloween series follows the story of an evil owner of a mask company with the intention of killing children on Halloween night through the use of Halloween masks. The film is directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and does not feature Curtis nor her character Laurie Strode. However, Curtis does have a brief uncredited cameo in the film where she lends her voice as the curfew announcer and telephone operator.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later – Age 40
Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode in the seventh movie of the Halloween franchise. This 1998 film directed by Steve Miner, retconned the events of the fourth through sixth Halloween film, all of which Curtis had not appeared in.
Twenty years following the events of Halloween II, the film follows a thirty-seven-year-old Laurie (now a headmistress of a private academy in California), as she resorts to alcoholism while struggling to forget her traumatic experience in Illinois twenty years ago. Soon, Michael Myers makes a sudden appearance and makes Laurie and her students the target of his bloodlust.
During her hiatus from the Halloween franchise, Curtis had starred in numerous non-horror films and television series such as Trading Places (1983), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), and Anything But Love (1989 – 1992). She was nominated and received awards for her acting chops that helped her break free from her scream queen persona.
Curtis also received positive reviews for her performance as Laurie in Halloween H20. Playing Laurie as the traumatized victim to becoming the strong heroine, Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle described her delivery as “… compelling a performance as any this summer”.
Halloween: Resurrection – Age 44
Curtis reprised her role as Laurie in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection for what seemed to be the final time. Upon learning of the fate of Laurie Strode at the end of Halloween H20, Curtis decided to step in and reprised her role once again, to conclude Laurie’s story properly. In an interview with Bloody Disgusting in 2018, Curtis remarked that she would have to come back for one more movie to conclude Laurie’s story, even if it was for a very short moment.
A short moment it was for Laurie, as her character was killed off in the early sequences of Halloween Resurrection. The film focuses on a group of college students on a reality show, where they have to spend a night in Michael’s childhood home.
Halloween (2018) – Age 60
2018’s Halloween sees Curtis reprising her role once again, 16 years after the previous sequel. Curtis is also credited as the Executive Producer of the film. Directed by David Gordon Green, the 11th installment of the series retconned every sequel movie except for the 1978 original.
In this movie, Laurie (now 57 years old) who struggles with alcoholism to deal with her post-trauma, lives in a home that is fortified with weapons and traps. Michael escapes custody and returns to terrorize Laurie and her family.
The retelling of the story that closely ties with its 1978 roots, received generally positive reception in the box office and from critics alike. Bryan Bishop from the Verge cited that the film was “better than almost every other sequel in the franchise” and that it was “a fitting coda to a story that began 40 years ago”.
Although Curtis had hit the ripe age of sixty, she pulled no punches and performed all her stunts in the film, as reported by her co-star Andi Matichak in a Youtube interview. Matichak further expressed her admiration for Curtis and her commitment to performing the scenes that include punching and throwing her body on the ground repeatedly.
Halloween Kills (2021) – Age 61 (during production)
The sequel to Halloween (2018) and the twelfth installment of the franchise, David Gordon Green returns as the director, whereas Curtis will reprise her role in the film. Slated to be released in October 2021, the film picks up where Halloween (2018) left off.
Laurie Strode would be the same age as she was in Halloween 2018 (57 years old). As production began and wrapped up late in the year 2019, Curtis would have been 61 years old during production.