Alfred Hitchcock Biography

Alfred Hitchcock's biography encompasses his work as a film directing legend. He was an amazingly talented individual.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born August 13, 1899 in London, England to William and Emma Hitchcock. His father was a poultry grocer and his mother, a homemaker. Hitchcock spent his youth reading and studying.

Upon graduating high school, Hitchcock enrolled in the University of London to study engineering. During his schooling, Hitchcock worked for a local cable company as a technician.

In 1920, at the age of 21, Hitchcock was hired by a London film studio as a draftsman, where he designed title cards for the Famous Players-Lasky Company. Hitchcock took his work seriously and grabbed the attention of all who came in contact with him. Within three years, he had climbed the corporate ladder from draftsman to script scenario writer to art director to assistant director. In 1925, just 5-years after entering the motion picture field, Hitchcock produced and directed his first film, "The Pleasure Garden." With his career soaring, Hitchcock married Alma Reville in 1926, a film editor, writer and advisor.

In 1927, Hitchcock's name was thrown into the media after producing "The Lodger," a short feature about Jack the Ripper. He was labeled "one of the best" by the media, as his newly released film became an instant success.

Both of Hitchcock's first movies had been silent films, and he longed for more. So, in 1929, he put his director's hat back on and produced, "Blackmail," Britain's first-ever highly successful speaking movie.

Hitchcock concentrated all his efforts on producing "thrillers." During the early 1930s, he directed 4 classic suspense films, including "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "The Thirty-nine Steps."

Hitchcock and his wife left England behind them in 1939, setting their sights on Hollywood, on the advice of "Gone With the Wind" producer, David Selznick. The United States was years ahead of London, offering advanced film making technology, which Hitchcock took immediate advantage of. During his first year in California, Alfred Hitchcock released "Rebecca," for which he would later win an Academy Award for best picture.

Following his American debut, Hitchcock put out at least one film each year for the next three decades. According to those closest to him, Hitchcock's wife advised him on many of his movies and was his most trusted professional confidante. Hitchcock scored big with movie audiences, putting forth big budget suspense films, starring leading actors and actresses. Films like "Rear Window," "Psycho," and "The Birds" were hits in every theatre.

In the late 1940s, Hitchcock decided to participate in his own works, often walking into a scene, playing a wordless bit part, and existing. This subtle dry-wit move would become Hitchcock's signature in the movie making industry. In a simlar move, after receiving a standing ovation for winning the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his contributions as a producer in 1967, he leaned to microphone and uttered, "thank you," before slowly walking off the stage.

In the early 1970s, Hitchcock returned to his native England, where he produced "Frenzy." The 1972 film was well received in his homeland and the public cried for more. While living in England, Hitchcock was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Hitchcock began to suffer from severe arthritis pain in the late 1970s, and his health took a sudden turn for the worse when his kidneys began malfunctioning. The 80-year Hitchcock worked on, determined to finish his final film. Shortly after wrapping up production on the "Family Plot," Alfred Hitchcock went home to rest. He died of kidney failure April 29, 1980.

Since his death, Hitchcock has been recognized as one of the greatest film directors of all time. His methods of suspense and shock are studied at film schools around the world.

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