Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, the great English director and producer, was rightfully known as ‘the master of suspense.’
He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. In a career spanning over six decades, he directed more than fifty feature films.
His personality was larger than life and .to say that he was a complex man, would be an understatement. Here are 10 lesser known facts about him:
- Hitchcock’s voice for Jaws
He is the “voice” of the “Jaws” ride at Universal Studios.
- His irrational fears
Hitchcock had a deep-rooted fear of the police, from an unfortunate childhood incident. Because of this paranoia he never learned to drive and there was a recurring theme of “clueless police and the innocent man” in many of his films.
Another one of his fears was that of runny eggs.
"I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me. That white round thing without any holes… Have you ever seen anything more revolting than an egg yolk breaking and spilling its yellow liquid? Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting. I’ve never tasted it," he is known to have said.
Did we mention his own movies? He never went to watch one.
- Barred from Disney
Walt Disney refused to allow him to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made “that disgusting movie Psycho.”
Has a cameo in almost every one of his films.
- He never won a Best Director Oscar Award
Hard to believe, but it’s true. Alfred Hitchcock never won a Best Director Oscar award even though sixteen of his films received an Oscar nomination.
- His only Academy Award speech was five words long
He was awarded the living G. Thalberg Memorial Award for lifetime achievement and his film ‘Rebecca’ won the Oscar for Best Picture.
All he had to say were two words: “Thank you” and only as an after-thought, “very much indeed.”
- He was a merciless practical joker
He loved having a laugh at others people’s expense.
He is known to have handcuffed Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll, the stars of his film ‘The 39 Steps’, together and pretend that he lost the keys. He kept them like that for several hours just because he got a kick out of it.
- He once used a hidden camera to film at the United Nations
Not allowed to shoot at the United Nations building in New York City, and not used to hearing a no from anyone, Hitchcock hid a film crew across the street from the real building to film Cary Grant.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth just a few months before his death. Asked by a reporter why it took them so long to give him this award, Hitchcock’s reply was a casual, “I suppose it was a matter of carelessness.”
- He predicted his own death
Or so they say. When he won his Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, he joked with friends that he must be about to die soon. He died a year later.