Peggy Robertson

Alfred Hitchcock's right hand

13 September 1916
6 February 1998

General information

Charlotte Peggy Robertson was born in London to Adolph Singer and Gladys Follick. She is most known as a personal assistant and script supervisor of Alfred Hitchcock, helping the director for more than three decades.

She was a tireless organizer, taking care of whatever came to Hitch's mind. Robertson scheduled his daily meetings, when the director was absent on the set, she was keeping an eye on everything to make sure there are no slip-ups and was fully trusted that she'll notice them. When it was necessary, she even fired people on Alfred's command.

It seems like she was a perfect fit to become the third Hitchcock, and many even erroneously claim that she was. There was one detail, however, which distinguished her from the rest of that pack. She wasn't a writer.

Every third Hitchcock was capable of doing anything from sweeping floors, through wiping tears in the moments of crisis, to actively participating in the creative process. Alma and Alfred wanted her to do the last one, because that would be convenient for them, but couldn't get a creative spark out of her.

That didn't stop them from making a very busy woman out of her for a large portion of her life, as there was always something organisational that needed to be done. And Robertson was like a Swiss watch, always able to fulfill the master's wishes. Actually, one of the reasons why she was with the couple for so long might be because she didn't engage in writing scripts, or becoming a full-time producer and was more engaged with the technical/logical side of things. Every few movies, third Hitchcocks changed. She stayed.

Even during Hitch's last days, she was around helping. When the director was near his death, he was very withdrawn from people, cutting many ties that he had kept before. Peggy survived the storm, she was in until the end. Besides Alma, she was the only person who consistently stayed close to him throughout the years.

It is not a coincidence that on many pictures she can be seen wielding a pen in one hand and having a notebook in the other, or at least close by. As Hitch's instructions were often complex, she wrote everything down meticulously.

Some of those notes have proven to be extremely useful later. They have been often cited to resolve various disputes among scholars as to how exactly did some things go down behind the curtains. Biographers also benefited from them, as they reveal how the great director worked; his routine, ways of solving different problems etc.

Just like Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Peggy was another Brit who moved to the States, where she worked in the film industry, continued to live and died there. Death didn't take her by surprise - during her last days she suffered a prolonged illness. Her deathbed was at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital (website), a retirement community slash hospital for people who have worked in the film industry.

Her obituary was posted in the Manchester Guardian. Inside, there is a sentence: Despite Hitch's reputation as a misogynist, the three most important people in his life were his screenwriter Alma Reville, screenwriter-producer Joan Harrison and his personal assistant and script supervisor, Peggy Robertson.


Robertson's first meeting with Hitchcock was in 1948 at Alexander Korda's Denham Studios (Wiki). From there, she went on to help him with various tasks during the production of Under Capricorn at another studio in the North-Western part of London: Elstree Studios (website), where the movie was being made.

Her biggest contribution there was sorting out issues between Ingrid Bergman and the director. The two couldn't come to terms about few things and Peggy made a good entrance by putting those problems to bed.

Alfred was satisfied and decided to hire her full-time for Stage Fright (which also marked Whitfield Cook's debut). Some sources claim that she wasn't permanently engaged before Vertigo and even iMDB shows just that, but in reality she was running circles around the director on a regular basis much earlier.

At some point in life, Perry Singer met Douglas Robertson who worked as an editor. His career lasted 40 years, but he only managed to land small, low-budget projects. It is unclear how they have met, but they have never worked together and Peggy was 32 when she started working for Alfred, so it is possible that by that time she was already a married woman for quite a while.

Peggy Robertson has worked with Hitch for more than half of maestro's career. She has accompanied him during some of his best movies (Vertigo, Psycho), but since she stayed with him until the end, she also took part in his biggest flops that he did in the last years of his professional career. Neither of those is of course even remotely her fault.

Outside of movies, she also assisted with his TV show Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The extent of her inclusion is unknown and she is completely uncredited, but it is well-documented that she worked with the series.

In 1965, she famously went against Hitchcock and plotted behind his back to get John Michael Hayes to cooperate for the upcoming film Torn Curtain. Hayes wrote the script for two of the director's most popular movies: Rear Window and To Catch a Thief, and as a bonus also to the lovely off-beat and un-Hitchcockian The Trouble with Harry.

Reuniting with him could have saved the film from being a disaster, but the relationship between the writer and the director was terrible and he didn't even want to hear about it. Throughout the years, Robertson tried to play the middle man between the two on multiple occasions, but Hitch was stubborn and she never succeeded.

Early 80s were a harsh period for the assistant. First, in 1980 Alfred Hitchcock died, which has left her without a friend and without a job too. Three years later, her husband Douglas has joined Hitch on the other side.

Resourceful Robertson looked around for other directors who need an assistant and found Peter Bogdanovich. Mostly known as an actor to younger audience, Bogdanovich was mostly busy directing in earlier stages of his directing. It took him four years to shake off the experience of having his 22 years younger girlfriend shot, and caused the longest break in his directing and acting career, but ultimately he came back to both.

Robertson was the director's assistant in his quite popular movie Mask (starring Cher) and not-so-popular Illegally Yours (starring Rob Lowe).

Ultimately, she outlived her husband by 15 years.

As a person always at Alfred Hitchcock's side during his later years, she naturally had to be included in the director's both biopics. In Hitchcock, she was played by Toni Collette, while in The Girl Penelope Wilton got the part.

Preparing for the role of Robertson was problematic for both. Since very little is known about her personality, what kind of character were they supposed to put on display? In one interview, Collette admitted that all the knowledge she had was... from one interview Peggy gave.

Below, you can watch a short video interview with Robertson.