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Birthday: December 31, 1969
Place: Leytonstone, London, England, UK
Height: 5' 7"
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| Alfred Hitchcock has been the most well-known director to the general public since the 1940s — and he remains so in the 21st century, more than 25 years after his death. His name evokes instant expectations on the part of audiences around the world: of a memorable night of movie-watching highlighted by at least two or three great chills (and a few more good ones), some striking black comedy, and an eccentric characterization or two in virtually every one of the director's movies across a half-century — and usually laced with a comical cameo appearance by the director himself. Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born into a devoutly Catholic family in London, and his religious upbringing — with its attendant issues of guilt — would have a powerful influence on the psychological underpinnings of his later work. He was trained at a technical school, and initially gravitated to movies through art courses and advertising. He studied the work of other filmmakers, most notably the German expressionists, especially Fritz Lang. On visiting Germany's UFA studios in the early '20s, Hitchcock was reportedly overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of the sets used by Lang for his 1924 Siegfried. Following two films on which he served as screenwriter, Hitchcock made his directorial debut with The Pleasure Garden in 1925. Hitchcock had his first major success the following year with The Lodger, a thriller loosely based on the real-life story of Jack the Ripper, adapted from a novel authored by Mrs. Marie Belloc-Lowndes. While he worked in a multitude of genres over the next six years (including one musical, Waltzes From Vienna, which he regarded as the nadir of his career), he found his greatest acceptance with his thrillers, which included Blackmail (1929) — the first talking picture made in England — and Murder (1930). These seem primitive by modern standards, but have many of the essential elements of Hitchcock's subsequent successes, even if they are presented in technically rudimentary terms. Additionally, in their own time they were considered quite innovative, especially Blackmail, which exists in two different versions, sound and silent. Each has its own virtues, but the talkie version makes use of sound in a uniquely suspenseful and sophisticated fashion for its time; the movie also introduced one of Hitchcock's trademark attributes, a finale in a larger-than-life setting, in this case the dome over the reading room of the British Museum. That setting was the result of a suggestion from a younger colleague of Hitchcock's, future film director Michael Powell, who offered the pursuit to the reading room dome as an alternative to a more standard chase through the streets. Hitchcock's later films would include climaxes at the Statue of Liberty (Saboteur), a murder at the United Nations, and a chase to the death on Mount Rushmore (North by Northwest). Hitchcock first came to international attention in the mid-'30s with The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), a thriller starring Leslie Banks as the desperate father, Nova Pilbeam as the kidnapped daughter, and Lang alumnus Peter Lorre — in his first England-language movie — as the ringleader of the assassins. The movie was notable not only for its pacing and suspense but also its violence, especially in the final section, which was inspired by an actual incident, the Sidney Street siege, in which the London police encountered heavily armed anarchists. The movie that established the director as a major force in filmmaking, however, was The 39 Steps (1935), loosely based on John Buchan's novel of the same name. With its careful balance of suspense, humor, and romance, the movie was received better in America than any British thriller since the advent of sound, and it made a star not only of Hitchcock within the ranks of his profession, but also of its two leads, Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. At the time of the movie's release, the usual movement of filmmakers internationally was for American directors to head to England, where they were sought-after commodities; in Hitchcock's case, the reverse was true, as he began finding himself courted by Hollywood.Hitchcock also endured a pair of box-office and critical disappointments during the mid-'30s. Secret Agent and Sabotage were relative failures, mostly due to casting problems. John Gielgud made a very unconvincing lead in the former, playing a reticent spy, and John Loder, subbing for an unavailable Robert Donat, gave a leaden performance in the latter and helped to defeat a pair of good performances by Sylvia Sidney and Oscar Homolka. Additionally, Hitchcock miscalculated the level of violence that the filmgoing public of 1936 would tolerate comfortably in Sabotage, in a scene involving a bomb on a London bus — he later reportedly observed, rather sardonically, that he could have killed either the boy (Desmond Tester) or the dog, but not both the boy and the dog. His next film, Young and Innocent — reportedly his favorite of all of his British thrillers — was better received and showed off his technical expertise where it counted, in the climactic revelation of the killer's identity, in a bravura complex crane shot. But it was with The Lady Vanishes (1938) that everything came together in Hitchcock's work, the suspense, the humor, the romance, and the technical side of filmmaking all combining into a near-perfect whole, with superb pacing as well. Ironically, this was also the only project he ever inherited from another director, the film having already started life as a canceled production entitled "Lost Lady," which was to have been made in 1936 by Roy William Neill from a script by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat. It became his greatest British success, as well as being his most humorous thriller, and made film stars of Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood. Two of the supporting players, Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, also became a regular double act in movies for years to come, and their characters, Charters and Caldicott, were later spun off into their own series by writer Keith Waterhouse on the PBS television series Mystery! Launder and Gilliat also became a major writer/director/producer duo in their own right in its wake, enjoying a quarter century of success in everything from thrillers to comedies.Hitchcock was already being courted by American producer David O. Selznick, and The Lady Vanishes only upped the ante. He completed one last British film, Jamaica Inn, based on Daphne du Maurier's novel of ship wreckers in 18th century England, before heading to America to join Selznick's organization. From the outset, the relationship between director and producer was a strained and stormy one, as Hitchcock discovered that Selznick was very much a hands-on producer, exerting almost as much control on his set as Hitchcock, and that he often had his own agenda. The director had a strong enough personality to get what he wanted, but he didn't enjoy the duel for control, and he soon found an escape, but one loaded with its own problems. The multi-Oscar-winning Rebecca (1940) made a huge profit for Selznick and turned Hitchcock into one of Hollywood's top "money" directors, whose name on a marquee could attract audiences. It was then that Selznick began lending Hitchcock out to other producers for huge fees, many times the large salary that Hitchcock was earning; the director resented being used as a cash cow by his employer, but every time he was used on loan-out, it gave him a chance to get away from Selznick and work free from his interference. Those movies became some of his best work of this period in his career: the topical anti-Nazi thrillers Foreign Correspondent (1940) and Saboteur (1942) played to the politics of the era very successfully, despite the presence of a leading man in the latter — Robert Cummings — whom the director didn't want (it was also during the shooting of the latter movie that Hitchcock first met actor Norman Lloyd, who played the title role, who was to become an important collaborator on future projects); Lifeboat (1944), where Hitchcock faced the challenge (anticipating the thriller Phone Booth) of making a film drama on a single, confined set, the camera's movements confined to a few feet in any direction and its point-of-view limited to the confines of the boat; but the best of all of them was Shadow of a Doubt (1943), an unsettling take on homefront America in which a serial killer, played by genial leading man Joseph Cotten, comes home to his small town and targets a new victim in the person of his niece (played by Teresa Wright, who was then the virtual personification of young American womanhood). Hitchcock also occasionally ran into problems with the Motion Picture Production Code, which restricted the content of what could be shown on the screen, and forced him to compromise on the script of Suspicion (1941). But he also tried various experiments during these years, with movies such as Spellbound (which came about initially through Selznick's personal fascination with Freudian analysis), in which he used surreal designs created by Salvador Dali to represent the manifestations of the unbalanced mind of the hero. Hitchcock capped his early Hollywood output with Notorious (1946), which he made for RKO (although Selznick ended up owning it), which mixed suspense and romance in near-perfect proportions, and proved an excellent dramatic vehicle for Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains. The end of Hitchcock's relationship with Selznick came with the production of The Paradine Case, which ultimately existed in three different running times, no version of which was successful. In the years immediately after, Hitchcock went through a fallow period commercially, as he ventured into independent production and new approaches to shooting. This began with Rope (1948), a bold experiment — following on from the challenge of Lifeboat — in doing a thriller in the form of one continuous take, with no edits, retakes of shots, or inserted shots; this was also his first film in color. There were other experiments and digressions, mostly associated with his brief postwar return to British production, including the underrated period drama Under Capricorn (1949) and Stage Fright (1950), before he once again hit his commercial stride back in Hollywood with Strangers on a Train (1951), which was remade by Danny DeVito in 1987 as Throw Mama From the Train, and Dial M for Murder (1954), which was made in 3-D and remains one of the very few fully successful 3-D movies. Hitchcock's biggest success of this period, however, was Rear Window (1954), based on a story by Cornell Woolrich and starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. This was Hitchcock's directorial tour de force, showing him expanding the boundaries of storytelling while still (in the manner of Lifeboat and Rope) confining himself to a single set and mostly a single point-of-view, breaking down the screen and the focus of the viewer and the film into small fragments. Even more striking was the fact that Hitchcock released Rear Window during 1954, the second year of Hollywood's switch to widescreen, anamorphic (i.e., Cinemascope) shooting — every other director was scrambling to compose shots for an ultra-wide screen and finding ways to fill that screen, while he was busy breaking his screen into little pieces containing multiple, overlapping, and parallel story information, in picture and sound alike, and getting audiences to look and listen for every small detail. For many, the movie was his technical peak as a filmmaker — and even here, he managed to slip in several in-jokes, including the particular makeup of the killer played by Raymond Burr, which made him a virtual dead ringer for Selznick.It was during the second half of the 1950s that Hitchcock's output reached its zenith, with an output of suspense films that was extraordinary in its quality, even when the material wasn't always commercially successful. Starting with Rear Window, he created a series of movies that challenged viewers, sometimes quietly and sometimes boldly, but always in unexpected ways. This all led to a new venture for the director, in the form of a weekly suspense anthology series called Alfred Hitchcock Presents — and suddenly he wasn't just one of the top filmmakers in Hollywood, but also a media star. The series ran for eight seasons, and although he only directed a handful of the episodes — Norman Lloyd was one of those who played a key role in the actual production of the show — his weekly appearances as the wry-witted, dark-humored host made him a fixture in American households and the minds of millions of people. Hitchcock was so well known that he was even burlesqued on two different cartoon shows of the period — in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, the heroes' nemesis Boris Badenov at one point impersonates a well-known English film director named "Alfred Hitchhike"; and in one of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons starring the duckling Yakky Doodle, the host is a sardonic and corpulent duck, resembling Hitchcock's physique and manner, whose presence is announced with a quotation from Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette," the Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme music. Alfred Hitchcock Presents, in turn, overlapped with Hitchcock's last great sustained period of success, including his more opulent remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), starring James Stewart and Doris Day. Hitchcock preferred the 1956 version, but most scholars and serious fans favor the 1934 original, which the director regarded as the work of a "talented amateur." This period also included the darkly romantic, chilling Vertigo (1958), with Stewart and Kim Novak, which was not especially successful at the time but has since come to be regarded as one of the jewels of the director's output. It was followed by the wildly paced, suspenseful (and often comical) North by Northwest (1959), with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint; the latter film, his only movie for MGM, was one of the director's most romantic movies and also exerted a massive influence on popular culture, as well as the source of inspiration for Stanley Donen's equally clever and romantic Charade (1963), also starring Grant. There were a few more personal indulgences for the director during this period as well, including the fact-based black-and-white drama The Wrong Man (1956) and the gentle, whimsical The Trouble With Harry (1955), but these paled next to what, at first, seemed a relatively modest black-and-white movie with which he finished out the decade: Psycho (1960). Hitchcock originally had little confidence in the movie, and at one point had even considered folding it into the television series, but then Bernard Herrmann — who had scored all of his major films from The Trouble With Harry onward — delivered his score, a harrowing strings-only soundtrack that chilled listeners to the bone with its fierce glissandi passages. Originally released by Paramount with a full publicity press (including the well-advertised policy that no one would be admitted to theaters after the start of the movie), it drew lines around the block, and re-defined horror for decades (as well as permanently redefining the seemingly innocent notion of taking a shower). There were still triumphs to follow for Hitchcock, including The Birds (1963), which was not only a hit in theaters but set a new ratings record for its first network showing in the mid-'60s. This period, however, also marked a downturn in his box office, with two failures in a row. Marnie (1964) managed to disappoint audiences and producers despite the presence of Sean Connery, then at the height of his James Bond fame, as one of the leads; and Torn Curtain (1966) failed despite the presence of Paul Newman and Julie Andrews (then in her post-Sound of Music box-office peak) as the leads. The director was also hurt by the studio's insistence that he cease using composer Bernard Herrmann (who had scored every Hitchcock movie since 1957) in favor of a more "commercial" composer, John Addison. Herrmann's music had become a key element of the success of Hitchcock's films since the mid-'50s, although it should be conceded that his proposed music for Torn Curtain — the movie on which the split took place between the two — was not one of his best scores. Of Hitchcock's final three movies, only Frenzy (1972), which marked his return to British thrillers after 30 years, was successful, although his last film, Family Plot (1976), has achieved some respect from cult audiences. Hitchcock was granted a knighthood late in life, and was planning a new movie at the time of his death in 1980. Several years after he passed away, Hitchcock's box-office appeal was once again demonstrated with the re-release of Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo, all of which had been withheld from distribution for several years, in new theatrical runs that earned millions of dollars each. In the case of Vertigo, which had not been successful on its initial release in 1958, this was a particularly important reissue — from a cult film, it went on to become one of the director's most admired and popular movies. In the decades since, Hitchcock has proved to be every bit as popular in the home-video marketplace, his movies generating tens of millions more in sales and rentals; Rear Window also became the subject of a legal action over its story copyright during the late '80s that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 21st century, there are dozens of "special edition" DVD releases devoted to Hitchcock movies from the late '20s through the 1970s, even as his movies continue to attract audiences to repertory theater screenings.
- According to many people who knew Hitchcock, he couldn't stand to even look at his wife, Alma Reville, while she was pregnant.
- Once dressed up in drag for a party he threw. Footage of this was in his office, but his office was cleaned out after his death, and it is not known if the footage still exists.
- According to Alfred himself, he was required to stand at the foot of his mothers bed, and tell her what happened to him each day. This explains Anthony Perkins in Psycho (1960) standing at the foot of his mother's bed.
- Born only one day before his wife, Alma Reville
- Hitch's suggestion for his tombstone inscription was "This is what we do to bad little boys." (It finally read "I'm in on a plot.")
- Was a close friend of Albert R. Broccoli, well known as the producer of the James Bond - 007 franchise. Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) was the influence for the helicopter scene in From Russia with Love (1963)
- He appears on a 32 cent U.S. postage stamp, in the legends of Hollywood series, that debuted 8/3/98 in Los Angeles, California.
- In his childhood days, he was sent by his father with a letter to the local police station. The officer read the letter and, without further ado, locked young Alfred up for ten minutes. Then he let him go, explaining that this is what happens to people who do bad things. Hitchcock was frightened of the police from that day on.
- On April 29, 1974, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York sponsored a gala homage to Alfred Hitchcock and his contributions to the cinema. Three hours of film excerpts were shown that night. François Truffaut who had published a book of interviews with Hitchcock a few years earlier, was there that night to present "two brilliant sequences: the clash of the symbols in the second version of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) , and the plane attack on Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959)." After the gala, Truffaut reflected again on what made Hitchcock unique and concluded: "It was impossible not to see that the love scenes were filmed like murder scenes, and the murder scenes like love scenes...It occurred to me that in Hitchcock's cinema...to make love and to die are one and the same."
- He never won a best director Oscar in competition, although he was awarded the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1967 Oscars.
- Alma Reville and Hitch had one daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, who appeared in several of his movies: Stage Fright (1950), Strangers on a Train (1951) and Psycho (1960)
- He made a cameo appearance in all of his movies beginning with The Lodger (1927) except for Lifeboat (1944), in which he appeared in a newspaper advertisement.
- In the New Year's Honour's list of 1980 (only a few months before his death), he was named an Honorary (as he was a U.S. citizen) Knight Commander of the British Empire.
- From 1977 until his death, he worked with a succession of writers on a film to be known as "The Short Night". The majority of the writing was done by David Freeman, who published the final screenplay after Hitchcock's death.
- He made his appearances in the beginning of the films, because he knew viewers were watching for him and he didn't want to divert their attention away from the story's plot.
- His bridling under the heavy hand of producer David O. Selznick was exemplified by the final scene of Rebecca (1940). Selznick wanted his director to show smoke coming out of the burning house's chimney forming the letter 'R." Hitch thought the touch lacked any subtlety; instead, he showed flames licking at a pillow embroidered with the letter 'R.'
- First visited Hollywood in 1940, but was turned down by virtually all major motion picture studios because they thought he could not make a "Hollywood" picture. He was finally offered a seven-year directing contract by producer David O. Selznick. His first project was supposed to be a film about the Titanic, but Selznick scrapped the project because he "couldn't find a boat to sink." Selznick assigned Hitch to direct Rebecca (1940) instead.
- The famous Hitchcock profile sketch, most often associated with "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955), was actually from a Christmas card Hitchcock designed himself while still living in England.
- When finishing a cup of tea while on the set, he would often non-discriminatingly toss the cup and saucer over his shoulder, letting it fall (or break) wherever it may.
- He was director William Girdler's idol. Girdler made Day of the Animals (1977) borrowing elements from Hitchcock's The Birds (1963).
- Asked writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac to write a novel for him after Henri-Georges Clouzot had been faster in buying the rights for "Celle qui n'était plus" which became Diaboliques, Les (1955). The novel they wrote, "From Among the Dead", was shot as Vertigo (1958).
- He delivered the shortest acceptance speech in Oscar history: while accepting the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1967 Oscars, he simply said "Thank you."
- Müde Tod, Der (1921) by Fritz Lang was his declared favourite movie.
- In a recent USC class on Hitchcock (fall of 2000), guest speaker Patricia Hitchcock revealed that two guilty pleasures of Hitch's were Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Benji (1974)!
- His 'MacGuffins' were objects or devices which drove the plot but which were otherwise inconsequential and could be forgotten once they had served their purpose
- Lent his name and character to a series of adolescent books entitled "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators" (circa late 1960s-early 1970s). The premise was that main character and crime-solver Jupiter Jones won the use of Mr. Hitchcock's limousine in a contest. Hitch also wrote forewords to this series of books. After his death, his famous silhouette was taken off the spine of the books, and the forewords (obviously) stopped appearing as well.
- He was listed as the editor of a series of anthologies containing mysteries and thillers. However, he had little to do with them. Even the introductions, credited to him, were, like the introductions on his television series, written by others.
- One of the most successful Hitchcock tie-ins is a pulp publication titled "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine." The publication is highly respected and has become one of the longest running mystery anthologies. It continues to be published almost a quarter century after Hitchock's death.
- He allegedly refused the British honour of C.B.E. (Commander of the order of the British Empire) in 1962.
- When he won his Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, he joked with friends that he must be about to die soon. He died a year later.
- Was voted the Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. The same magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Films of all time includes more films directed by Hitchcock than by any other director, with four. On the list were his masterworks Psycho (1960) (#11), Vertigo (1958) (#19), North by Northwest (1959) (#44) and Notorious (1946) (#66).
- Was at his heaviest in the late 1930s, when he weighed over 300 pounds. Although always overweight, he dieted and lost a considerable amount of weight in the early 50s, with pictures from sets like To Catch a Thief (1955) showing a surprisingly thin Hitchcock. His weight continued to fluctuate throughout his life.
- He had a hard time devising one of his signature walk-ons for Lifeboat (1944), a film about a small group of people trying to survive on a small boat. What he eventually came up with was to have his picture in a newspaper advertisement for weight loss that floated among some debris around the boat. He had happened to have lost a considerable amount of weight from dieting around that time, so he was seen in both the "Before" and the "After" pictures.
- Often said that his favorite film was Shadow of a Doubt (1943).
- Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 456-479. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
- He claimed to have an intense fear of the police. He cited this phobia as the reason he never learned to drive; a person who doesn't drive can never be pulled over and given a ticket. It was also cited as the reason for the recurring "innocent man" themes in his films.
- Supported West Ham United Football Club - told colleagues in Hollywood that he subscribed to English newspapers in order to keep track of their results.
- Steven Spielberg has named him as an influence.
- Always wore a suit on film sets.
- He was infamous with cast and crews for his "practical jokes." While some inspired laughs, such as suddenly showing up in a dress, most were said to have been more cruel than funny. Usually he found out about somebody's phobias, such as mice or spiders, and in turn sent them a box full of them.
- He almost never socialized when not shooting films, with most of his evenings spent quietly at home with his wife Alma Reville.
- Directed the pilot episode of the radio series "Suspense" which aired from 1942-1962, and made a brief appearance at the end. It was an adaptation of his 1927 film The Lodger (1927) and starred Herbert Marshall and Edmund Gwenn , who reprised his brother Arthur Chesney 's role as Mr. Bunting.
- He would work closely with screenwriters, giving them a series of scenes that he wanted in the films, thus closely controlling what he considered the most important aspect of the filmmaking process. Although the screenwriter would write the actual dialogue and blocking, many of the scripts for his films were rigidly based on his ideas.
- Directed 8 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson, Albert Bassermann, Michael Chekhov, Claude Rains, Ethel Barrymore and Janet Leigh. Fontaine won an Oscar for Suspicion (1941).
- Praised Luis Buñuel as the best director ever
- As with W.C. Fields and Arthur Godfrey before him, he was legendary for gently tweaking his sponsors during the run of his TV show. One typical example runs, "We now interrupt our story for an important announcement. I needn't tell you to whom it will be most important of all."
- Ranked #2 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest directors ever!" 
- Education: St. Ignatius College, London, School of Engineering and Navigation (Studied mechanics, electricity, acoustics and navigation). University Of London (Studied art).
- Told François Truffaut that although he had made two films prior to The Lodger (1927), he considered that to be his first real film.
- Due to his death in 1980, he never got to see Psycho II (1983) . It remains unsure as to whether or not he was approached regarding the second movie, or any other "Psycho (1960) -Expansion" motion picture.
- He hated to shoot on location. He preferred to shoot at the studio where he could have full control of lighting and other factors. This is why even his later films contain special effects composite and rear screen shots.
- Grandfather of Mary Stone, Tere Carrubba and Katie Fiala.
- Interviewed in Peter Bogdanovich's "Who the Devil Made It: Conversations With Robert Aldrich, George Cukor, Allan Dwan, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Chuck Jones, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Sidney Lumet, Leo McCarey, Otto Preminger, Don Siegel, Josef von Sternberg, Frank Tashlin, Edgar G. Ulmer, Raoul Walsh". NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997
- Inspired the adjective "Hitchcockian" for suspense thrillers.
- He was reportedly furious when Brian De Palma decided to make Obsession (1976), because he thought it was a virtual remake of Vertigo (1958). Ironically, De Palma stopped making mystery/adventure films after Hitchcock's death in 1980, with the possible exception of Body Double (1984).
Naked Photos of Alfred Hitchcock are available at MaleStars.com. They
currently feature over 65,000 Nude Pics, Biographies, Video Clips,
Articles, and Movie Reviews of famous stars.