Alfred Hitchcock was honored with the seventh AFI Life Achievement Award on March 7, 1979. At the time, AFI wrote “as a writer, director and producer, (Hitchcock) has served film both memorably and uniquely” and that “in his favorite genre, the suspense film, he has come to be regarded as a master almost without peer.” Here are several videos highlighting the event, which included guests Ingrid Bergman, Henry Fonda, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins and more.
In this clip, Host Henry Fonda opens the show and the guest of honor Alfred Hitchcock enters the room to a standing ovation!
John Houseman salutes Hitchcock: “Having moved himself many years ago to this continent, he has settled for the less resonant but not less honorable title of ‘American taxpayer.'”
Ingrid Bergman, who starred in three Hitchcock films – NOTORIOUS, SPELLBOUND and UNDER CAPRICORN – calls him an “adorable genius,” and relays a story where the Master of Suspense encouraged her talent while in production, asking her to “fake it.”
On stage, Jimmy Stewart recounts filming an iconic scene with Doris Day in THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH.
During his appearance at the tribute, French filmmaker François Truffaut spoke about his famous book, “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” which he — quite accurately! — describes as “a cookbook full of recipes for making films.”
Salutes from the two stars of PSYCHO are next. First up, Anthony Perkins.
Janet Leigh explains that she’s been asked about Hitchcock more than any other director she’s worked with during her long career.
Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Edith Head, Pat Hitchcock, Theresa Wright and others play a game of tribute tag when they go around the ballroom, each honoring Hitch in their own way.
And the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Hitchcock accepts the AFI Life Achievement Award – and with his very own unique sense of humor.
Read AFI’s tribute essay to Hitchcock here.