The lovely Joan Fontaine led a colorful and unusual childhood, alternately living in California and Japan.
As soon as she struck adulthood she began auditioning for Hollywood film roles, racking up a spree of parts in B-movies. A breakthrough role was in Hitchcock's Rebecca, in which she co-starred with Laurence Olivier.
Lorre’s early years were rather dismal having lost his mother, not getting along with his stepmother and his father suffering a long-term illness. This all during the years preceding and including WWI.
However, at the age of 17, Lorre began a career in entertainment with a renowned Viennese puppeteer. In the early 20’s, Lorre moved to Berlin and began his work in film by starring in a couple of moving pictures. However his work in the German made film “M” would bring him to the attention of Alfred Hitchcock.
Some of his more notable film work was as the Japanese detective, Mr Moto, that ran in a few film episodes. During the 1940’s, Lorre made a number of motion pictures with names, such as George Raft and Humphrey Bogart, that carried through the troubled American period of war. After that world war, Peter Lorre spent time doing some projects for radio.
The “creepy foreigner” was more than a voice, it was a caricature of who he created on radio. That is how it was for Mystery in the Air. One of the hallmark points of Lorre’s career was to gain the first ever villainy role in a James Bond production.
Through the 60’s, he would guest star in a number of television shows and make radio appearances. His one child, Catherine, died of diabetes complication in the mid 80’s. The master of intrigue and mayhem would pass away in 1964 due to a stroke. The beloved hunchback rang his last toll.
Today marks the birth--in 1899--of Alfred Hitchcock. One of the greatest American film directors of all time, Hitchcock also turned in some magnificent performances on oldtime radio. Highly versatile, Alfred did radio work as a director, writer, and guest.
In 1950, he appeared on Screen Directors' Playhouse, introducing the story, "Lifeboat," and interviewing the actors afterward. In 1956, he co-starred with Doris Day on a Close To Your Heart edition entitled "Alfred Hitchcock Presents Doris Day." Also of note is an interview show on Philadelphia's WCAU radio's The Talk of Philadelphia (Mar. 26, '63), on which the director answered two women's question of what he looks for in a woman.
Only so many screenwriters become the subject of biographies, and John Michael Hayes is one of them. He was the subject of Steven DeRosa's Writing With Hitchcock which chronicled his screenwriting work for the famed director in the 1950s.
In radio's golden age, the medium attracted the best talent, and Hayes was no exception. When not writing Hitchcock movies, Hayes wrote for such radio smashes as The Adventures of Sam Spade, Inner Sanctum, and Sweeney and March. He wrote an episode of Spade called "The Chargogagogmanchogagogchabunamungamog Caper," the name purportedly coming from a river in Webster, MA.
We salute Hayes on the day of his 1919 birth. Thanks for the scripts, John!