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Sir Alfred Hitchcock

Sir Alfred Hitchcock

Leytonstone, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Greater London, England
Death 29 Apr 1980 (aged 80)
Bel Air, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, Specifically: Ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean
Memorial ID 486 · View Source
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Legendary British Motion Picture Director. Called the "Master of Suspense" he is best remembered for his numerous suspense films, including "Dial M for Murder" (1954), North by Northwest" (1959), "Psycho" (1960), and "The Birds" (1963). He is considered one of the greatest British filmmakers of all times. He was noted for his cameo appearances in his own films. Born in Leytonstone, London, England, he was the second son and youngest of three children to a Roman Catholic Irishman, William J. Hitchcock, a fresh fruits and vegetables grocer, and Emma Jane Wheland. He was named after his father's brother, Alfred. When Hitchcock's father died in 1914, Alfred left St. Ignatius School to study at the London County Council School of Engineering. Upon his graduation, he became a draftsman for a cable company in London. During this period, he became intrigued with photography and film making, initially working as a title card designer for what would become Paramount Studios. In 1920, he obtained a position at Islington Studios, designing title cards for silent movies. For a short period in the early 1920s, Hitchcock would work as a set designer in the German film industry, and in 1922, he got his first opportunity to direct a movie, "Number 13" (1922), which was cancelled due to financial problems. In 1925, he got a second opportunity to direct, with "The Pleasure Garden" (1925), made at the UFA Studios in Germany, which flopped with audiences. Hitchcock's luck finally changed with a drama thriller called "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog" (1927), which became a commercial success in both the UK and the United States. In 1926, he married his assistant director, Alma Reville; she would become his closest collaborator, helping him write several screenplays and worked with him on every one of his films. Hitchcock would go on to create a number of pioneering cinematic techniques, including using "the wrong man" theme (in which a leading man is mistaken for someone else), using famous landmarks as a backdrop for suspense sequences, experimenting in using sound repetition of certain words to stress the impression on the audience, and using incidents from his childhood years to highlight drama (such as when he was required to stand at attention in front of his mother's bed for hours, after he had been bad). In his film, "The 39 Steps" (1935), Hitchcock introduces the MacGuffin, a plot device around which the story seems to evolve, but at the end is revealed to have no meaning to the story. By the end of the 1930s, Hitchcock was so well known in Britain, that David O. Selznick signed him to a seven year contract, and Hitchcock moved to Hollywood. During his period in Hollywood, Hitchcock would continue his suspense films, beginning with "Rebecca" (1940), which won the Oscar for Best Picture (1940). The Oscar was given to Selznick, as the film's producer, rather than to Hitchcock as its director. During World War II, Hitchcock would produce a number of patriotic themed suspense movies, including making two movies for the Free French Government in Britain in 1943-44; his only films in the French language. In 1945, he served as film editor for a Holocaust documentary for the British Army, which showed the liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps; this film was not released until 1985. In 1945, Hitchcock began filming what is considered one of his best films, "Notorious" (1946), which starred Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, and cited a Nazi plot about using uranium to create an atomic bomb; when the FBI heard about the plot, they put Hitchcock under surveillance. Hitchcock thought his story line was science fiction until the US bombed Hiroshima, Japan. In the post war years, Hitchcock would work with many stars, including James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant and Doris Day. His list of hit films would be significant, numbering dozens of films. Hitchcock was one of the early film producers who realized the importance of television. From 1955 to 1965, he was host and producer of a television series, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," which he would introduce the show and give it an epilogue. The television series would make him a celebrity himself, and his mannerisms would become very familiar with American audiences, and often the subject of parody. Hitchcock died of renal failure in his Bel Air, California home at the age of 80. His body was cremated, and the ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean; his wife, Alma, would die just two years later, on July 6, 1982. Over his life, Hitchcock was nominated for five Oscars as Best Director, and one Oscar as Producer of Best Picture. Sixteen Hitchcock-directed films were nominated for Oscars, and a total of fifty films were nominated for Oscars that Hitchcock had worked on, making him one of the most Oscar nominated motion picture personalities in history. Oddly enough, he never won an Oscar. Queen Elizabeth II made Hitchcock a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1980. He held joint American and British citizenship.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 486
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Alfred Hitchcock (13 Aug 1899–29 Apr 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 486, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, who reports a Ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.