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29 April 2009

On this day in history: Alfred Hitchcock died, 1980

On 29th April 1980, the 'Master of Suspense', film director Alfred Hitchcock died of renal failure at his home in Bel-Air, Los Angeles. Just a few months earlier, he had been knighted for his services to the film industry.

He was born in relatively humble circumstances in Leytonstone, East London on 13th August 1899. Alfred's schooling finished when he was fourteen having to find work because of the death of his father. Nevertheless, he continued to study at night school while he worked as a draughtsman. In 1920 he started his first job in the film industry, illustrating the titles for silent movies.

His talents did not go un-noticed: following a stint as an assistant director in Germany, Hitchcock returned to Britain to direct for Gainsborough pictures. Success brought him a move to British International Pictures and the chance to direct his first film for which he also wrote the script: The Ring (1927). Hitchcock went on to direct the seminal British films The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935), Young and Innocent (1937), and The Lady Vanishes (1938).

The success of Hitchcock's work attracted the interest of Hollywood studios and in 1937 he sailed to America. During the 1950s and 1960s Hitchcock made movies that would give him recognition as a master of the craft: Dial M for Murder (1953), Rear Window (1955), (1958), VertigoNorth by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963). Hitchcock continued to work in cinema and television until his death.

To find out more about the man and his work see the Alfred Hitchcok Wiki.

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