Happy birthday to the master of cinematic suspense, Alfred Hitchcock! Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, or “Hitch” to his friends and colleagues, was born August 13, 1899, inLeytonstone,England(just outsideLondon) to William and Emma Hitchcock.
The youngest of three children, Alfred grew up in a strict Roman Catholic family. Despite a few stringent rules, including reciting the events of his day each night at the foot of his mother’s bed, Alfred experienced a fairly normal childhood. Educated at
St.IgnatiusCollege, he went on to study engineering and navigation. One of his first jobs was working for the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company, during which time his interest in film began.
He first got work drawing sets and met Alma Reville, an editor, who was only one day younger than Alfred. Laboring further down the food chain than her, they never spoke to each other until the director of the film they were working on got severely ill and Hitchcock was called upon to finish the movie. He and Alma married in December 1926 and had a daughter, Patricia.
After a number of stops and starts at directing, Hitchcock began his filmography with The Lodger, The Lady Vanishes, and Rebecca. But it wasn’t until Saboteur in 1942 that studios began placing Hitchcock’s name before the title (i.e. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho).
It’s been said that Hitchcock prided himself on directing and preferred studios for shooting rather than filming on locations because it enabled him more control over the filmmaking elements. He also made a point of making an appearance in most of his films, which became something of a trademark for Hitchcock.
Not to limit himself to film, Hitchcock also made a name for himself in television in the 1950’s and 60’s with “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. He directed many of the half-hour episodes and played host every week during its run.
Years later, when given a Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, Hitchcock kidded that he must be nearing the end of his life. He died the next year of kidney failure on April 29, 1980, in Bel Air,Los Angeles,California, a man of the world and a cinematic legend.
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Sources: PBS.com, biography.com, imdb.com