Alfred Hitchcock Biography

(One of the Most Influential Filmmakers of All Time)

Birthday: August 13, 1899 (Leo)

Born In: Leytonstone, London, England

Sir Alfred Hitchcock was an English movie director. Famously dubbed ‘The Master of Suspense,’ Hitchcock is one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. He was an extraordinary director who entertained his audience with engaging and captivating suspense thrillers. His fascination with crime began at an early age when he was punished by his father who made him spend a few minutes inside a prison for his mischief. Hence, his movies are symbolic of the guilt and innocence of the wrongdoer and the victim. He had a knack for creating stories that consisted of deceit, fraud, murder, blackmail, and other criminal offences with incredible plot twists in the storyline. The protagonists in his movies were often common people caught in unwanted and unavoidable situations. He was a prolific story-teller and his amazing body of work is considered enthralling by the critics. Most of his movies have stood the test of time and are considered to be masterpieces. He is also remembered by other filmmakers, for he continues to inspire them to be passionate about their work. He is also revered by people around the world for his entertaining and thrilling stories.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In August

Also Known As: Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock

Died At Age: 80


Spouse/Ex-: Alma Reville (m. 1926)

father: William Hitchcock

mother: Emma Jane Hitchcock

siblings: Eileen Hitchcock, William Hitchcock

children: Pat Hitchcock, Patricia Hitchcock

Born Country: England

Quotes By Alfred Hitchcock Directors

Died on: April 29, 1980

place of death: Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, United States

City: London, England

Cause of Death: Kidney Failure

Ancestry: Irish American, British American

Notable Alumni: Salesian College, Battersea, St Ignatius' College

More Facts

education: Salesian College, Battersea, St Ignatius' College

  • 1

    What are some famous movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock?

    Some of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous movies include "Psycho," "Vertigo," "Rear Window," "North by Northwest," and "The Birds."

  • 2

    What is the significance of the "Hitchcockian" style?

    The "Hitchcockian" style in film refers to suspenseful storytelling techniques, the use of psychological themes, and innovative camera work popularized by Alfred Hitchcock.

  • 3

    How did Alfred Hitchcock revolutionize the thriller genre?

    Alfred Hitchcock revolutionized the thriller genre by introducing innovative techniques like suspenseful storytelling, psychological depth in characters, and iconic camera work.

  • 4

    What is the famous "MacGuffin" concept?

    The "MacGuffin" concept, often associated with Alfred Hitchcock's films, refers to a plot device that drives the story forward but may not hold significant importance to the overall narrative.

Childhood & Early Life

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on August 13, 1899, in Leytonstone, England, to William Hitchcock, a greengrocer and poultry salesman, and Emma Jane Hitchcock. He was named after his father’s brother.

He was the youngest of the three children in his family. He had a brother named William and a sister named Eileen. He was raised a Roman Catholic.

One of the incidents that took place in his childhood was etched on his mind. When he was five years old, he was sent to a police station by his father; he had sent him with a note requesting the policeman to lock him in a prison for a few minutes as he had misbehaved in his house. He remembered this humiliation and the experience left him with a lifelong fear of policemen.

He received his early education from ‘Howrah House Convent,’ ‘Wode Street School,’ and ‘Salesian College.’ When he was 11, he was sent to ‘St Ignatius College’ in Stamford Hill. Later, he enrolled at ‘London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation’ in Poplar, London to pursue a career in electrical engineering.

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His first job was that of a draftsman and advertising designer at a local cable company called ‘Henley’s.’ In 1919, when the company opened its in-house publication ‘The Henley Telegraph,’ he started writing short stories for it and became a contributor to the company’s success.

He wrote short stories, often suspense thrillers, for the publication. These included ‘Gas’ (1919), ‘The Woman’s Part’ (1919), ‘What’s Who’ (1920), and ‘Fedora’ (1921).

When a Hollywood company called ‘Famous Players-Lasky’ opened a new film studio near London, he was appointed as the title card designer in the ‘Islington Studio.’ Gradually, he started working as a screenwriter, art director, and assistant director in movies, such as ‘Woman to Woman’ (1923), ‘The White Shadow’ (1923), ‘The Blackguard’ (1925), and ‘The Prude’s Fall’ (1925).

In 1922, he got an opportunity to direct a movie titled ‘Number 13,’ but the project was later shelved because of financial problems. He landed his next venture as a director in 1925 with a movie called ‘The Pleasure Garden,’ which was a commercial flop.

In 1926, he directed his first successful suspense thriller ‘The Lodger,’ based on the subject of serial killings in London. Initially, the producer shelved the project, but it was released in 1927, becoming a major critical and commercial success. It was followed by many box-office hits in the following years.

In 1929, he made the first British talkie film ‘Blackmail,’ which was a huge hit. He then went on to direct suspense thrillers, such as ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ (1934), ‘The 39 Steps’ (1935), and ‘The Lady Vanishes’ (1938). In 1939, he signed a seven-year contract and moved to Hollywood.

In Hollywood, he continued his streak of directing psychological and suspense thrillers; he came up with movies, such as ‘Spellbound’ (1945), ‘Notorious’ (1946), ‘Strangers on a Train’ (1951), ‘Dial M for Murder’ (1954), ‘Rear Window’ (1954), ‘Vertigo’ (1958), ‘North by Northwest’ (1959), ‘Psycho’ (1960), and ‘The Birds’ (1963). His last film was ‘Family Plot,’ which released in 1976.

Major Works

His 1929 movie ‘Blackmail’ is considered to be a significant milestone in British filmmaking history; it is the first British talkie movie. The film is about a London-based woman who is blackmailed after she kills a man who tries to rape her.

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His 1960 classic ‘Psycho,’ a psychological suspense drama, is considered one of the greatest films of all time. It received four ‘Academy Awards’ and was selected by the ‘US Library of Congress’ for preservation in the ‘National Film Registry.’

Awards & Achievements

He won two ‘Golden Globe Awards’ and eight ‘Laurel Awards’ for his work. He received five nominations for ‘Best Director’ at ‘Academy Awards’ and also received the ‘Irving Thalberg Memorial Award’ at the 1968 ‘Oscars.’

He was honored with five ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards,’ including the one presented by the ‘American Film Institute’ in 1979. He received the first ‘BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.’

In 1980, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was made the Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).

Personal Life & Legacy

He met Alma Reville while working as the director of a film titled ‘Number 13,’ which was abruptly shelved due to lack of funds. Alfred and Alma got married in 1926.

They were blessed with a daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, in 1928. Patricia acted in some of his films, such as ‘Strangers on a Train’ (1951) and ‘Psycho’ (1960).

He died on April 29, 1980 in California due to kidney failure. His mortal remains were cremated and the ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Facts About Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock had a fear of eggs and reportedly never ate them, even though they were often included in his movies as a symbol of impending doom.

Hitchcock was known for his mischievous sense of humor and would often play practical jokes on his cast and crew, such as hiding rubber ducks on set or pretending to fire a gun loaded with blanks.

He had a love for animals, particularly birds, and kept a variety of pets including dogs, cats, and even a goose named Harvey.

Hitchcock was a talented chef and enjoyed cooking elaborate meals for his friends and family, often incorporating his signature dish of roast goose.

Despite his reputation for creating suspenseful and thrilling films, Hitchcock was a huge fan of comedy and would often sneak humor into his movies through subtle visual gags and witty dialogue.

Alfred Hitchcock Movies

1. Rear Window (1954)

  (Mystery, Thriller)

2. Psycho (1960)

  (Horror, Thriller, Mystery)

3. North by Northwest (1959)

  (Mystery, Adventure, Action, Thriller)

4. Vertigo (1958)

  (Romance, Thriller, Mystery)

5. Dial M for Murder (1954)

  (Film-Noir, Thriller, Crime)

6. The Birds (1963)

  (Horror, Mystery, Drama, Romance)

7. Rebecca (1940)

  (Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller)

8. Strangers on a Train (1951)

  (Film-Noir, Crime, Thriller)

9. Notorious (1946)

  (Romance, Film-Noir, Drama, Thriller)

10. Rope (1948)

  (Crime, Drama, Thriller)


Golden Globe Awards
1958 Television Achievement Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)

See the events in life of Alfred Hitchcock in Chronological Order

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