Happy Alfred Hitchcock Day! In honor of the great filmmaker, here are five things you may not know about the legendary director, courtesy of Stephen Rebello, the author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.
1. Alfred Hitchcock never won a Best Director Oscar, yet sixteen of his films garnered fifty nominations, his 1940 classic Rebecca won Best Picture, and he was nominated as Best Director for Rebecca, Suspicion, Spellbound, Lifeboat, Rear Window and Psycho. “Always a bridesmaid,” he philosophized, “never a bride.”
2. Although Hitchcock, who once called actors “cattle,” was not considered an “actor’s director,” such stars as Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Robert Walker, Grace Kelly, Doris Day, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren gave some of their finest performances in his films.
3. Hitchcock admired the work of fellow directors F. W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder, but he also repeatedlywatched guilty pleasures Smokey and the Bandit and Benji; the latter 1974 stray dog hit reportedly made the dog-loving Hitchcock cry.
4. Hitchcock married his screenwriter-editor-assistant director wife Alma in 1926 and they remained constant companions and working partners until he died in 1980. Their only child, actress Patricia Hitchcock appeared on Broadway and in her father’s Stage Fright, Strangers On a Train and Psycho.
5. Hitchcock was famed for his wry, very British sense of humor which often expressed itself in practical jokes: pretending to lose the key to the handcuffs that bound together for an entire day his The 39 Steps stars Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll; giving an elegant dinner party at which every course, from soup to dessert, was bright blue; and switching off the lights on the set of Strangers On a Train and stranding his daughter Patricia for three hours at the top of a Ferris wheel.
Stephen Rebello is a screenwriter, journalist, and the author of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, which has been bought by Paramount Pictures and The Montecito Picture Company for production as a dramatic feature film. Get more Hitchcock news from Rebello on Twitter at @HitchandPsycho.