Biography of Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock was born August 13, 1899 in Leytonstone, London to William, a greengrocer and poulterer, and Emma Jane. When Hitchcock was a child, his father sent him to their local police station with a note asking an officer to lock him away for ten minutes as punishment for behaving badly. The idea of being harshly treated and wrongfully accused is often reflected in Hitchcock's films.
As a punishment, Hitchock would be made to address his mother while standing at the foot of her bed, forcing him to stand there for hours. These experiences were later used for the portrayal of Norman Bates in Psycho.
After Hithcock's fathers death when he was 14, he left the Jesuit-run St Ignatius' College in Stamford Hill to study at London County Council School of Engineering and Navigation in Poplar, London. After graduating, he became a draftsman and advertising designer at a cable company. While there he became intrigued by photography and left to work in film production in London, working as a title-card designer for the London branch of what would later become Paramount Pictures. In 1920, he received a full-time position at Islington Studios with its American owner, Famous Players-Lasky, and their successor, Gainsborough Pictures, designing the titles for silent films.
In 1925, Michael Balcon of Gainsborough Pictures gave Hitchcock the opportunity to direct his first film, The Pleasure Garden made at UFA Studios in Germany. The film was a commercial failure, but the following year he released the thriller film, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. The film received both critical and commercial success leading him to the creation of more thriller films.
On March 1939, Hitchcock began his seven-year contract with David O. Selznick and moved to the United States. After his contract ended, Hitchcock began filming movies in color. Throughout his directing career he would include "inescapable inferences" which were forbidden in American films. Finally, with the film Tom Curtain, Hitchcock was finally able to blatantly include plot elements which were earlier disallowed.
By the late 1960s Hitchcock's health began to take its toll. He reduced new film production. His last film was Family Plot (1976).
Hitchcock was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in the 1980 New Year's Honours. Although he had adopted American citizenship in 1956, he was entitled to use the title "Sir" because he remained a British subject. Sir Alfred Hitchcock died four months later, on April 29 from renal failure at the age of 80. His wife Alma Reville, and daughter, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, both survived him. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered across the Pacific.
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