Family & Companions
As an actress, she's been seen in numerous supporting roles, but Valerie Curtin has made a greater impact in Hollywood as a screenwriter, often in partnership with Barry Levinson before, during and after their marriage. The duo earned an Oscar nomination for "...And Justice for All" (1979), which featured Al Pacino as an attorney fighting Maryland's judicial system. "Inside Moves" (1980) was an off-beat film about a suicide survivor finding self-esteem. Later, Curtin and Levinson also co-wrote "Best Friends" (1982), a semi-autobiographical romantic comedy in which Goldie Hawn and Burt Reynolds played writing partners who get married. (Curtin also had a role as Hawn's married-with-child friend.) Along with Richard Klane, they did a 1984 remake of "Unfaithfully Yours," based on the 1948 Preston Sturges feature about a symphony conductor who suspects his wife of infidelity. In 1992, a decade after their divorce, Curtin and Levinson again teamed with "Toys" (1992), which Levinson also directed. It was an unsuccessful effort starring Robin Williams as a man trying to keep his uncle from turning a toy manufacturer into a factory producing guns.
In TV, Curtin began by writing an episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in which Mary became a Big Sister. She then wrote for "Phyllis" (CBS, 1975-77) and in 1982 co-created "Square Pegs," a critically well-received teen comedy, but was not involved in its weekly production. It was not until 1991 that Curtin again worked behind the scenes in series TV, this time as producer of "Good & Evil," a short-lived soap opera send-up created by Susan Harris.
The dark-haired, olive-complexioned Curtin has a pliable, lively and inviting face perfect for comedy and her acting work in Hollywood predates her writing. She broke into TV in 1975 as a sketch player on the short-lived "Jim Stafford Show" (ABC). In the 80s sitcom version of "9 to 5" (ABC, 1982-83), Curtin played Judy Bernly, the character Jane Fonda had essayed on the big screen. In features, Curtin sparkled Vera, the nervous, somewhat dim waitress alongside Ellen Burstyn and Diane Ladd in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (1975). (Although Beth Howland took the role when the movie became a TV series.) Curtin has also been seen as a political worker in "All the President's Men" (1976) and as Paul Mazursky's wife in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986).
Curtin is the cousin of actress Jane Curtin and the daughter of radio actor Joseph Curtin.
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Was series regular on the summer show "The Jim Stafford Show"
Was writer for the CBS sitcom "Phyllis"
Played Vera in screen version of "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
Wrote episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
Had first feature film screenplay produced, "...And Justice for All"; co-wrote with then-husband, Barry Levinson
Appeared at Mark Taper Forum in "Children of a Lesser God"
Co-created series "Square Pegs"
Produced TV series, "Good & Evil"
Co-wrote "Toys" with now ex-husband Levinson