RIP Patricia Hitchcock (1928-2021)

Patricia (or Pat) Hitchcock worked sporadically on the screen and on television, but always appeared in solid films where her parts were supporting, but definitely memorable. Most of her film appearances were in films directed by her father, Alfred Hitchcock. She was the daughter of Hitchcock and his frequent collaborator, Alma Reville. Hitchcock got the acting bug early on, likely brought on by growing up in the film business. Hitchcock, however, got her acting start on the stage and studied in America and her home country, England. Her studies included the famous RADA school for acting where other future film names were her classmates. While Hitchcock had important connections to the film industry, her first acting experience on a screen was the small screen when she appeared in the British TV movie The Case of Thomas Pyke (1949).

Hitchcock’s next role was in a film of her fathers, Stage Fright (1950), which was filmed on location in England and gave Hitchcock a strong supporting role as Jane Wyman’s friend, Chubby Bannister. After having an uncredited role in the costumer The Mudlark (1950), Hitchcock worked for her father again, this time in an even larger role in his classic Strangers on a Train (1951). Hitchcock played the plunky kid sister of love interest, Ruth Roman, who wears glasses that play an important part in the development of the film. While the role was a stand-out, Hitchcock instead turned her acting attention towards television for the next few years, appearing in such shows as My Little Margie, The Life of Riley, and Playhouse 90. During this time, Hitchcock also can be spotted in the large cast of The Ten Commandments (1956).

Hitchcock’s best television opportunities came in the few times she guest starred on her father’s anthology show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She was on the show 10 times in several memorable episodes of the series, including her first one, “Into Thin Air”, which was like the plot previously adapted into the great film So Long at the Fair (1950). The episode offered a minor tour de force for Hitchcock and in the end when Alfred Hitchcock appears to close out the show, he has an in-joke by saying to the camera that he particularly liked the leading lady of the night. Hitchcock’s last stand-out role in films was in another one of her father’s, his most famous film Psycho (1960). Hitchcock’s role is minor once again, but nonetheless memorable as Janet Leigh’s constantly talking co-worker. There’s a funny remark where Frank Albertson’s character notices Leigh when he comes into the office, because, well, it’s Janet Leigh. Hitchcock says that he didn’t notice her because he must have seen her wedding ring.

Hitchcock’s final TV and film appearances were character roles in the 1970s, but none stood out among her previous efforts. Hitchcock’s later sporadic film appearances were because she stepped away from show business when she started having a family. Hitchcock, however, wrote a book about her mother and how she assisted her father in the films they made together, being one of the few people recently to give Alma Reville her due. She died a few days ago of natural causes. While Hitchcock was born into the unruly world of show business and was, for a time, a part of it, she managed to have a respectable life.


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