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Jaime Lee Curtis played a surly waitress in an early screen appearance on Columbo

Woe be the lieutenant who brings a donut into Jaime Lee Curtis' restaurant

Jaime Lee Curtis as a waitress in Columbo
Image credit: NBC

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Jaime Lee Curtis has had a long and distinguished career. From her time as scream queen Laurie Strode in 1978's Halloween to her Oscar-winning performance in 2022's Everything Everywhere All at Once, Curtis has managed a very impressive credits list featuring some of film and television's biggest titles. However, one particular early credit may have slipped the notice of even the biggest Jaime Lee Curtis fans.

In 1977, in one of her earliest on-screen roles, Jaime Lee Curtis appeared as a surly young waitress serving the one and only Lieutenant Columbo (played by the late, great Peter Falk). In the Columbo season 6 episode "The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case," Columbo finds himself investigating a MENSA-type organization of geniuses to find out which of those geniuses murdered a fellow member.

At a certain point in the episode, Columbo interviews a suspect at a restaurant, which is where Columbo bumps into Curtis' waitress character. Though Curtis is only on screen for a few minutes, the performance stands out, as Curtis' waitress chides Columbo for bringing an outside donut into her restaurant and ends up looking even more crabby after Columbo orders only a donut to replace the one she's just confiscated.

Interesting fact, for those who love their scream queens - Jaime Lee Curtis isn't the only person in her family to appear on Columbo. Curtis' mother Janet Leigh (of Psycho fame), made an appearance herself as a Norma Desmond-type actress in season 5's first episode "Forgotten Lady."

Columbo is currently streaming on Peacock.


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