Jennifer Jason Leigh is an American actress, writer, producer and director. Leigh began her career as a teenager in the 1970s, gueststarring on several television shows. Her film breakthrough came in 1982 for her performance as Stacy Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Leigh continued performing past her teen years, receiving critical praise for her roles in the 1990 films Miami Blues and Last Exit to Brooklyn. In 1991, she appeared in Ron Howards Backdraft, and in 1992 she acted in the dramathriller Single White Female. In 1993, Leigh appeared in the ensemble film Short Cuts, directed by Robert Altman and, in 1994, she starred in the Coen brothers The Hudsucker Proxy. Leigh was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Dorothy Parker in Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle . She starred in a 1995 film written by her mother, screenwriter Barbara Turner, titled Georgia. In 2001, she codirected a film with Alan Cumming titled The Anniversary Party.
Leigh was born in Hollywood, California. Her father, Vic Morrow , was an actor, and her mother, Barbara Turner, was a screenwriter. Her parents divorced when she was two. Leighs birth name was Jennifer Leigh Morrow. She changed her surname early in her acting career, taking the middle name Jason in honor of actor Jason Robards, a family friend. Leighs parents were Jewish .