Pat Hitchcock, Actress in Dad Alfred Hitchcock’s Thrillers, Dead at 93

Pat Hitchcock, the only child of legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and writer-editor Alma Reville, died on Monday. She was 93. Hitchcock starred in two of her father’s best-loved films, Strangers on a Train and Psycho, as well as Stage Fright. She also appeared in 10 episodes of his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Hitchcock’s youngest daughter, Amblin Partners attorney Katie O’Connell-Fiala told The Hollywood Reporter that the actress died at her home in Thousand Oaks, California.

Hitchcock was born in London on July 7, 1928, just as Alfred was rising the ranks of the U.K.’s top directors. Alfred and Reville, whom Hitchcock married in 1926, moved to Hollywood in 1939 when Alfred signed a contract with David O. Selznick to direct Rebecca, the 1940 Best Picture Oscar winner. Hitchcock dreamed of being an actress herself but did not appear in a film until Stage Fright (1950), her father’s first film made in the U.K. since 1939. She could also be seen in Jean Negulesco’s The Mudlark (1950) and had an uncredited role in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956).

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Pat Hitchcock with her father, Alfred Hitchcock, in 1944. (Photo: Getty Images)

Her most prominent role was in Strangers on a Train (1951), in which she played Barbara Morton, the younger sister of Ruth Roman’s character. Her character saw Bruno, played Robert Walker, almost strangle a woman to death. In Psycho (1960), Hitchcock played Caroline, the office worker who offered Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane tranquilizers at the beginning of the film.

Between 1955 and 1960, Hitchcock regularly appeared in episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the anthology series featuring thrillers and mysteries in the vein of Alfred’s films. “There wasn’t anything unusual about” working with her father, Hitchcock told the Television Academy’s The Interviews: An Oral History of Television. “Just like with [any other actor], we would discuss the scene and do it. We didn’t try out stuff.” Hitchcock also starred in episodes of Suspense, My Little Margie, The Life of Riley, and a Playhouse 90 episode directed by John Frankenheimer. She also wrote the 2003 book Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man to highlight the work of her mother.

In a 1984 interview with The Washington Post, Hitchcock joked that she wished her father believed in nepotism so she could have had more parts in his iconic movies. “But he never had anyone in his pictures unless he believed they were right for the part,” she explained. “He never fit a story to a star or to an actor. Often I tried to hint to his assistant, but I never got very far. She’d bring my name up, he’d say, ‘She isn’t right for it,’ and that would be the end of that.”

Hitchcock married businessman Joseph O’Connell Jr. in 1952, and they were married until his death in 1993. Alfred died in 1980 at age 80, while Reville died two years later. Hitchcock is survived by her three daughters, Mary, Tere, and Katie; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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