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(born Aug. 13, 1899, London—died April 29, 1980, Bel Air, Calif., U.S.) English-born motion-picture director whose suspenseful films won immense popularity.
The son of a London poultry dealer, Hitchcock attended St. Ignatius College, London, and the University of London, where he studied engineering. In 1920 he began to work in the motion-picture industry, designing title cards for the Famous Players-Lasky Company. Within a few years he had become a scenario writer and an assistant director, and he directed his first film (The Pleasure Garden) in 1925. With The Lodger (1926), the story of a family who mistakenly suspect their roomer to be Jack the Ripper, Hitchcock began making the “thrillers” with which he was to become identified. His Blackmail (1929) was the first successful British talking picture. During the 1930s he directed such classic suspense films as The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Thirty-nine Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936), and The Lady Vanishes (1938). In 1939 Hitchcock left England for Hollywood, where his first film, Rebecca (1940), won an Academy Award for best picture.
During the next three decades Hitchcock usually made a film a year in the Hollywood motion-picture system. Among the important films he directed during the 1940s were Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), and Rope (1948). He began functioning as his own producer in 1948, and he went on in the 1950s to make a series of ...