As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history,
the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
August 13, 1899
Alfred Hitchcock is born the son of a London poultry dealer and fruit importer.
He became a highly influential director of suspense films in the 1940s and 1950s, known for sneaking his own cameo appearance into every film.
Hitchcock entered show business as a designer of title cards for silent films made by the newly formed London branch of Hollywood's Famous Players-Lasky (later, Paramount Pictures). He worked closely with screenwriters, who occasionally allowed him to direct a scene that didn't include actors. He became an assistant director and was promoted to director in 1925. He married film editor and script girl Alma Reville the following year and she helped him write a variety of screenplays.
Hitchcock continued to direct English suspense films, including The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and The Lady Vanishes, but he moved to Hollywood in 1939 to take advantage of American filmmaking technology. His first American movie, Rebecca, won the 1940 Oscar for Best Picture and landed Hitchcock a Best Director nomination.
During the 1950s, he started to experiment creatively and produced some of the most popular films of his career, including Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, and Rear Window. He became renowned for his psychologically complicated thrillers. In a Hitchcock movie, nothing on screen happened by accident: He carefully chose each camera angle and sound effect. He maintained strict creative control over his films.
Hitchcock also hosted two anthology mystery series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, from 1955 to 1962, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, from 1962 to 1965. After his theme music, based on Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette," played, he would offer an eerie, "Good eeevening." Each episode appeared to end with evil triumphing over good, but after the final commercial Hitchcock would explain in his distinctive British accent how happenstance or a bizarre mistake had overpowered the villain.
Hitchcock won the Irving Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967 and the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award in 1979. The following year, he was knighted, even though he had long since become a United States citizen. He died in 1980, but that wasn't the end of his career. A color revival of his show was introduced in 1985. Although the revival featured all new episodes, each was preceded by one of Hitchcock's introductions from earlier shows, processed into color.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".