Patricia Hitchcock is the only daughter of the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville. An actress and part-time producer, she is most known for her role in Strangers on a Train.
As a daughter of two extremely talented professionals, it was natural to expect of Pat to follow the same path. Considering her father's contacts in Hollywood and the reputation attached to her surname, it's the job offers that were bound to seek her and not the other way around.
Pat Hitchcock got an acting education and landed few roles in big projects early, but she didn't prove to have magnetism necessary to become a star. As a result, she jumped from project to project.
Even though she owes plenty to her parents, she tried to make it on her own. A testament to her own need for independence is the fact that she and her husband were barely able to pay the bills for some time.
While open to giving interviews, Pat either never noticed too many details about the important events that were happening around her, or simply didn't care - which would suit her carefree personality. Even in the book she wrote about her mother Alma she doesn't get into too many details.
These days, Patricia seems to be living a peaceful and a happy life with her family near Santa Barbara.
Just like her father, Pat Hitchcock was born at home. The family had been living at 153 Cromwell Road at the time. She wasn't too eager to leave her mother and the labour lasted longer than expected. Alma was supposed to give birth in the morning of July 7, but the baby had other plans.
Horribly worried about the delay, at some point Alfred was so stressed out that he left the apartment to take a relaxing walk. That is something both he and Reville did many times in their lives, usually when awaiting some important news. Since this one was pretty big, the Master of Suspense couldn't handle the suspense and ran.
Leaving his beloved wife at such time was never going to fly with Alma, so Hitch knew that he has to bribe her somehow and so he bought her a bracelet on his way back. He arrived too late though, his daughter had already been born!
Beginning when I was twelve or thirteen, my father took me shopping for my clothes, usually without my mother. He had very definite ideas for me, as he did for my mother and his leading ladies. I can’t say I agreed with all of his selections for me. His taste for me was conservative. He had a tailored point of view, which I wasn’t too mad about at the time. Skirts, blouses, and sweaters. He liked slacks, too, very much. I wasn’t totally thrilled, but I wish I had all of those clothes now. He had a wonderful sense of what would look best on me, of what was appropriate to my personality, and comfortable.Alma Reville
As a child, Patricia (she didn't like when people called her that and preferred a simple 'Pat') had pigtails and freckles. The girl always had a defect of vision, so wearing glasses early was necessary. Combined with her round face, it all summed up to a likeable presence.
Until she was 8, Pat was going to a London primary school. Then, she got sent to boarding school. That separation from parents young Hitchcock didn't enjoy and in many interviews she wondered why such practice even exists in England.
As both her parents were very busy working in the motion picture industry, the young girl had to spend at least some of her free time in studios to enjoy their company. She often wandered about on the sets, chatting with actors who mostly liked her and enjoyed the conversations despite the age difference. Boss' daughter, after all! There was never a need to scold the young Hitchcock, as she was the rare kind of a disciplined child and knew how to behave.
Relocation to the USA
A big change in her life came in March 1939. Hitch finally settled terms with David O. Selznick and thus his Hollywood career has been green-lighted. He and Alma were inseparable, both privately and professionally, so Pat was going whether she liked it or not.
Instantly after relocating, Reville found her daughter a new school: Marymount High School (official). Signing her to a private Catholic institution for girls only seemed like an odd move for a woman who did not enjoy the fact that she herself was forced to convert by Alfred's mother before wedding. Perhaps simply the quality of education there was the best in the area?
Wanting to make sure that Patricia grows up in a stable environment, Reville quickly began pressing her husband to find a permanent home. After all, changing continent is enough of a shock treatment on its own for a child of her age. Alma and her daughter began hunting until they found one they fell in love with.
Hitch wasn't as enthusiastic at first, but then he surprised the love of his life by buying her a purse and inside he put the key to that new residence. And so they switched Carole Lombard's rented place on St. Cloud Road to a beautiful apartment on Bellagio Road.
Despite her mother worrying, Pat was a carefree child and she didn't mind changing places at all. She recalls:
I didn’t think about it. We were together. I was an only child, and we were very close. We could weather anything.
In June 1947, Patricia Hitchcock finished high school and her parents decided to throw her a big graduation party. Many prestigious guests came to celebrate. One of them was Cary Grant, who just made the first (of three) film together with her father year ago, which started a friendship between the two. Hume Cronyn, who already had two to his credit, was also present. Whitfield Cook came with his writer/partner, and many other peaking stars showed up. That must have been a graduation party like no other!
Next step for her was coming back to where the soon-to-be actress was born - to London. There, she continued education at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
On the way to Italy in 1950, Patricia has met a man who she instantly fell in love with. His name was Joseph E. O’Connell, grandnephew of Cardinal William O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston. Coming from Newton, he went to Georgetown Preparatory School. During the war, he fought in the navy.
Before you know it, the two lovebirds were about to get married. As a natural-born organizer, Alma took care of the preparations. The ceremony took place on January 17, 1952 at Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.
The location seems like a weird choice, because it's quite a distance. Almost 4700 km (2900 miles) apart, one has to travel the whole width of United States to get from one place to the other. It was selected because after moving to the USA, Pat had met and befriended many people from that area while Joe had relatives there.
Their honeymoon, the couple spent on Havana - which by the way is almost two times as close to New York as Los Angeles (where Hitchcocks lived) is.
Together with O’Connell, they had three kids: Mary Alma, Teresa and Kathleen. Pat has always been a family person and she made sure that the family sticks together. She often took kids and visited her parents.
Less than a decade after getting married, Pat Hitchcock toned down her professional output and has focused on her family life more. At the moment of writing this article, she is still alive and smiling.
- Her childhood hobbies included watching films, swimming and horse racing.
- When asked what is the best character trait that she inherited from her parents, Pat Hitchcock pointed to determination.
- Due to Germany arguably producing the most advanced and sophisticated silent movies back in the early years of cinema, top directors, actors, screenwriters etc. were either German, or were working with Germans to some extent. Because of that, both Hitch and Alma had learned the language enough to maintain basic communication. They utilized that knowledge at home when they didn't want Pat to know what they are talking about. The daughter later said that she regrets that they didn't use it more often, as that way she might have learned it at some point.
- Her favorite among all Alfred Hitchcock movies was Notorious. Her second favorite was Rebecca.
- Every year, Pat contributes money to the annual Menlo Charity Horse Show (official). MCHS is a horse racing competition with a noble goal - money gathered is transferred to a foundation helping blind and visually impaired people.
- She worked for the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (official) - a long-lasting magazine that publishes short, Hitchcockesque crime stories. Officially, she was credited as an associate editor, but most of her work there centered around fan mail.
- After her father died, Patricia has donated his papers to Margaret Herrick Library (official). No scans have been made and sent online, but those documents can be accessed on the spot after registering.
- After getting married, Pat stopped living with her parents on Bellagio Road and moved in with her new husband. Together with Joseph, they now live in a mansion outside Santa Barbara. The couple has bought it from a legendary Australian tennis player Rod Laver.