Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Favorite Birthday Almost Gave Her a Heart Attack

They took place more than 30 years apart, but Jennifer Jason Leigh’s two favorite birthdays inspired a sense of awe and surprise—one of them so much so that the pure shock nearly gave her a heart attack.

Released on 2/5/2016

Credits

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Transcript

00:00
[Interviewer] What was your favorite birthday?
00:02
(Gasp) Um.
00:12
My favorite birthday, well I have two.
00:15
One was when I was about six,
00:18
there was a dessert I really wanted.
00:20
My mom made it for me, and it was Baked Alaska.
00:23
They brought it into the dining room,
00:25
and I was just, I could not believe that
00:28
my mom had made me that cake,
00:30
and it was, you know, in flames and it was
00:32
so beautiful, and I was so stunned by it,
00:34
and how magical it was.
00:36
And all my friends' faces.
00:38
The other one was when I was 39,
00:40
I was going to kind of a,
00:41
you know I had like a breakup,
00:43
and I was sad and um, but I was coming out of it,
00:48
and I came home.
00:50
I had decided actually to give myself a party
00:52
for my thirty-ninth birthday,
00:53
so I called all my friends.
00:54
One of my friends took me out to like a spa
00:57
or whatever during the day,
00:58
and we came back and my house was very dark.
01:01
And I was like, looked in the kitchen,
01:04
it looked like there were all these bundles,
01:06
like someone had packed all these clothes into piles
01:09
on the floor, and I walked in,
01:10
and it was a surprise party,
01:11
which was hilarious because I finally decided
01:13
to give myself a party.
01:15
Unbeknownst to me, my friends and family
01:17
had planned this surprise party for me,
01:19
and there were like forty people,
01:20
and they were all the people I had called,
01:22
so they were really really confused
01:23
'cause they weren't sure, was I calling about the,
01:26
did I know about the surprise party?
01:28
Anyway, so that was.
01:29
And you were genuinely surprised?
01:31
Oh my. I thought I was gonna have a heart attack.
01:33
I mean, it was.
01:34
(laughter)
01:36
And I'm not someone, I would never think
01:37
I would like a surprise party,
01:39
and I don't think I ever want one again, ever,
01:41
but it was very, um, very sweet.