Here are 10 things you should know about Maureen O’Hara, born 100 years ago today. She was a strong, talented and beautiful daughter of Ireland.
Here are 10 things you should know about Sir Alfred Hitchcock, born 121 years ago today. Not many motion-picture directors have inspired an adjective, but the term “Hitchcockian” is still heard frequently today.
The great James Stewart was born 109 years ago today in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He remains one of the most popular actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age (and a favorite here at Cladrite Radio). Here are ten JS Did-You-Knows:
- James Stewart was the first prominent actor to enlist in the military during World War II. He joined the Army eight months before Pearl Harbor and served overseas for 21 months, where, as a pilot with the 445th Bomb Group, 703rd squadron, he flew 20 combat missions and rose to the rank of colonel.
- Stewart held the highest active military rank of any actor in history. After World War II, he continued serving in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, ultimately attaining the rank of brigadier general.
- James Stewart attended Princeton University, where he graduated in 1932 with a degree in architecture.
- Stewart was a member of Princeton’s Triangle Club, a musical-comedy theater group. A 1931 recording exists of Stewart performing the song Day After Day with the Princeton Triangle Club Dance Orchestra (regular listeners to Cladrite Radio have heard this recording).
- Stewart played the accordion and hoped to do demonstrate his facility with the instrument in the 1957 picture Night Passage, but his playing was dubbed by a professional musician.
- James Stewart wore the same hat in all of his westerns.
- Stewart was very conservative, politically, supporting such presidential candidates as Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
- James Stewart was originally in line to play Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest, but because Vertigo had not done well at the box office, director Alfred Hitchcock went with Cary Grant instead.
- Stewart was a bachelor until age 41, but his marriage to former model Gloria Hatrick McLean was a happy one.
- James Stewart’s Best Actor Oscar statuette (The Philadelphia Story, 1940) was on display in the window of his father’s hardware store for 25 years.
- The word “Philadelphia” on that statuette was misspelled.
Happy birthday, Mr. Stewart, wherever you may be.
This story was first published in slightly different form in 2016.
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!
The lovely Eva Marie Saint was born 92 years ago today in Newark, New Jersey. Here are 10 EVS Did-You Knows:
- Saint attended Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, New York, graduating in 1942.
- Saint won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her first theatrical picture, Elia Kazan‘s On The Waterfront, in which appeared opposite Marlon Brando. All 18 of her earlier credits were on television.
- Just two days after winning the Oscar, Saint gave birth to her son Darrell.
- Saint’s competition for the role of Edie Doyle in that picture was Elizabeth Montgomery. Saint won the role by a nose.
- Saint graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1946. There is a theatre on the campus that is named after her.
- Saint’s waist-length hair was cut short for her role as a seductive spy opposite Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock‘s North by Northwest; the director insisted it made her more exotic. Hitchcock also personally chose Saint’s outfits for the film during a shopping trip to Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.
- Her nickname in high school was “Bubbles.” She was the senior class secretary and also a cheerleader.
- Saint was named after her mother, Eva Marie Rice.
- Her favorite movie is Francois Truffaut’s Day for Night.
- Saint has been married to writer-director-producer Jeffrey Hayden since 1951.
Happy birthday, Eva Marie Saint, and many happy returns of the day!