Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock was born 117 years ago today in Leytonstone, East London. Few directors in the history of cinema have carved out so distinctive a niche as did Hitch. Here are 10 AH Did-You-Knows:
- Hitchcock’s parents were both of half-Irish and half-English ancestry. His father was a greengrocer.
- Hitchcock was the youngest of three children, born seven years after his sister, Eileen.
- Hitchcock always wore a suit and tie while directing his pictures.
- He found eggs revolting and claimed never to have eaten one.
- When he was a child, his father asked the local constabulary to lock up young Alfred, telling him, “This is what happens to people who do bad things.” Though his stint in jail lasted just ten minutes, Hitchcock had an aversion to the police for the rest of his life and used the phobia to explain why he never learned to drive (no driving, no dealing with traffic cops).
- Though he was nominated five times, Hitchcock never won the Best Director Oscar. He was, however, presented with the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1967 Academy Awards ceremony.
- The speech he gave in accepting the award was the shortest in Academy Award history: “Thank you.”
- In 1980, Hitchock was named an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (honorary because he had become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1956).
- His favorite among his pictures was Shadow of a Doubt (1943).
- Hitchcock’s wife, Alma Reville, was one day younger than he was (a belated happy birthday to you, Alma).
Happy birthday, Alfred Hitchcock, wherever you may be!