NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).-
Pat Hitchcock looks at the troubling scene unfolding before her in her father Alfred Hitchcocks 1951 thriller, Strangers on a Train: Bruno Antony a psychopath who has strangled the estranged wife of a man, Guy Haines, he has just met and believes would in turn kill his father is demonstrating his murderous technique on a society matron at a party.
You dont mind if I borrow your neck for a moment, do you? asks the oleaginous Bruno, played by Robert Walker. He places his hands on her neck and starts to throttle her.
Hitchcock, playing the sister of the woman Guy wants to marry, is seen in a blurry background shot, her expression curious. But it quickly turns to horror as she watches the matron struggle for breath; she sees that Bruno is staring at her, probably because she is wearing glasses like those the murdered woman had worn.
She finally freezes in shock after some other partygoers pry Brunos hands from the womans neck and he collapses.
Hitchcock says nothing in the scene, but it is perhaps her most notable in a modest career that included small roles in two more of her fathers films: Stage Fright (1950) and Psycho (1960), in which her character, Caroline, is a co-worker of Marion, played by Janet Leigh.
My father wanted a contrast to Janet, someone more bubbly, she told The Washington Post in 1984. I barely remember the whole thing, and most people forget Im in Psycho. I say, How can you possibly remember, after everything else that happens?
Patricia Hitchcock OConnell whose connection to her famous father included writing a book about his wife and collaborator, Alma died Monday at her home in Thousand Oaks, California. She was 93.
The death was confirmed by her daughter Tere Carrubba.
Patricia Hitchcock was born July 7, 1928, in London. Her mother, Alma (Reville) Hitchcock, was a film editor who played a critical role as a writer, adviser and story consultant to her husband, a relationship Hitchcock OConnell explored in the 2003 book Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind the Man, written with Laurent Bouzereau.
She visited her fathers movie sets in England and moved with her parents to the United States in 1939 after her father received an offer from producer David O. Selznick to direct Rebecca (1940). The move came just after the start of World War II in Europe.
My father was devastated because his mother was in England, Hitchcock OConnell told the Television Academy in a 2004 interview. And I remember him trying to get a call through and the operators saying there are no more calls to the country because of the war.
She made her Broadway debut at 13 in John Van Drutens 1942 comedy Solitaire, playing the central role of Virginia, a rich girl who befriends a hobo. She was recommended for the role by actress Auriol Lee, who had appeared in Alfred Hitchcocks film Suspicion the year before.
Reviewing the play in the The New York Times, Brooks Atkinson wrote, She plays Virginia with childish innocence and sincerity.
She had roles in two other Broadway shows: Violet (1944) and The High Ground (1951). By then, she had already been on screen in Stage Fright as a school friend of Jane Wyman, who played an aspiring actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, which Hitchcock OConnell was attending at the time. She would graduate in 1950.
After Strangers on a Train, she was seen mostly on television. She had roles in sitcoms My Little Margie and The Life of Riley and in anthology series like Matinee Theater, Playhouse 90 and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, a series of mysteries and thrillers that featured her fathers droll on-screen introductions.
I think Alfred Hitchcock Presents really brought him to the public, because they got to see him, Hitchcock OConnell, who appeared in 10 episodes between 1955-60, said in the Television Academy interview. He loved it. He had the best time doing those lead-ins.
While her acting career was linked to her father, she made clear in her book that her mother had a strong cinematic partnership with him, which included screenwriting credits on Suspicion and Shadow of a Doubt (1943).
He would find a story and then take it to my mother and have her read it, she told the BBC in 1997. And if she thought it would make a film, he would go ahead with it and have a treatment and screenplay done.
In addition to her daughter Carrubba, Hitchcock OConnell is survived by two other daughters, Mary Stone and Katie Fiala; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Her husband, Joseph OConnell, a sales consultant in the trucking business, died in 1994.
Hitchcock OConnell said she wished she could have acted in more of her fathers pictures. But that wish went unfulfilled.
I would have loved it if he had believed in nepotism, she said in the BBC interview. But he only cast people if he thought they were absolutely right for the part. I could have told him a lot of parts I would have liked to have played, but he didnt believe it.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times