The Hitchcock Cameo

Hitchcock's cameo in To Catch a Thief (1955)
Hitchcock's cameo in To Catch a Thief (1955)


"If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach."

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, England in 1899. At the age of 20 he was illustrating title cards for silent films. He also started learning editing and art direction and by 1922 he became an assistant director. That same year he directed Number Thirteen which remained unfinished because of financial problems . His first completed film as director was The Pleasure Garden (1925), an Anglo-German production filmed in Munich.

Hitchcock’s first thriller was The Lodger (1925) and in 1929 he directed the first British “talkie” Blackmail. By the end of the thirties Hitchcock had directed a series of critically acclaimed thrillers including The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps (1935), Sabotage (1936) and The Lady Vanishes (1938).

In 1939 Hitch signed a seven year contract with American producer David Selznick and moved to Hollywood. His first American film was Rebecca (1940) starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, the film won an Oscar for Best Picture a spectacular start to Hitchcock’s Hollywood career.

Over the next 30 years Hitchcock would direct an astonishing run of memorable thrillers with some regarded as masterpieces – Foreign Correspondent – Shadow of a Doubt – Spellbound – Notorious – Strangers on a Train – Dial M for Murder – Rear Window – To Catch a Thief -- The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) – Vertigo – North by Northwest – Psycho – The Birds – Marnie - Frenzy.

Nominated 5 times for Best Director and never winning he received a special Oscar, the Irving G. Thalberg award, in 1968. His last film was Family Plot (1976). The Master of Suspense was knighted by the Queen in 1980 and died peacefully in his sleep a few months later at the age of 80.

The Birds (1963) Publicity Still
The Birds (1963) Publicity Still

Alfred Hitchcock made cameo appearances in most of his 52 films and moviegoers enjoyed trying to spot him in each film. Here is a complete list of Hitchcock’s cameo appearances –


THE LODGER (1926): At a desk in a newsroom and later in the crowd watching an arrest.

EASY VIRTUE (1927): Walking past a tennis court, carrying a walking stick.

MURDER (1930): Walking past the house where the murder was committed

BLACKMAIL (1929): Bothered by a small boy as he reads a book in the subway.

THE 39 STEPS (1935): Tossing litter while Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim run from the theater.

YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1938): Holding a camera outside the courthouse.

THE LADY VANISHES (1938): Smoking a cigarette in Victoria Station.

REBECCA (1940): Near a phone booth.

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940): Wearing a coat and hat and reading a newspaper near the beginning of the film.

MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941): Passes by Robert Montgomery.

SABOTEUR (1942): In front of Cut Rate Drugs in New York one hour in.

SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943): Playing cards on the train.

LIFEBOAT (1944): In the "before" and "after" pictures in a newspaper ad for obesity drugs.

SPELLBOUND (1945): Stepping out of an elevator carrying a violin case, midway through.

NOTORIOUS (1946): Drinking champagne at a party in Claude Rains's mansion.

THE PARADINE CASE (1947): Seen carrying a cello after leaving a train station.

ROPE (1948): Seen walking down the street in opening scene.

UNDER CAPRICORN (1949): Two cameos, first as part of a milling crowd by the harbour and later standing on the steps of Government House

STAGE FRIGHT (1950): Looks at Jane Wyman in disguise as Marlene Dietrich's maid.

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951): Boards a train with a double bass fiddle as Farley Granger gets off early in the film.

I CONFESS (1953): Crossing the top of a staircase after the opening credits.

DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954): On the left side of the class-reunion photo, thirteen minutes into the film.

REAR WINDOW (1954): Winding a clock in the songwriter's apartment.

TO CATCH A THIEF (1955): On a bus sitting to the left of Cary Grant in the opening scene.

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955): Walking past the car of an old man who is looking at paintings.

THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956): In the Morrocan marketplace with his back to the camera watching acrobats.

THE WRONG MAN (1956): Talking to camera before the credits.

VERTIGO (1958): Walking in the street about 11 minutes in.

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959): Seen at the end of the opening credits missing a bus.

PSYCHO (1960): Seen standing outside Janet Leigh's office window wearing a cowboy hat.

THE BIRDS (1963): Walking out of pet shop with two dogs as Tippi Hedren enters in the opening minutes of the film.

MARNIE (1964): Enters hotel corridor after Tippi Hedren passes by about five minutes in.

TORN CURTAIN (1966): Sitting in a hotel lobby holding a baby.

TOPAZ (1969): At an airport being pushed in a wheelchair, Hitchcock gets up from the chair, shakes hands with a man and walks off.

FRENZY (1972): Wearing a bowler hat in the center of a crowd at the start of the film.

FAMILY PLOT (1976): Seen in silhouette through a door about 40 minutes in.

Hitchcock's cameo in The Birds (1963)
Hitchcock's cameo in The Birds (1963)

A video compilation of Hitchcock cameos

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Comments 32 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Well I enjoyed looking at all the cameos of Hitch....good find on the video....voted up.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks. My first hub and almost my last.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Well at least your first one is still up for us to look at....my first was a Bruce Willis hub....and it has gone through so many facelifts it looks nothing like how it looked. Still voting it up.


hinton1966 profile image

hinton1966 5 years ago

Thanks for this find Steve, I enjoyed seeing all the cameos. Voted up and useful.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thank you Hinton. It's a good compilation, well edited.


YankeesRule profile image

YankeesRule 5 years ago

I always loved the Lifeboat cameo, it looks like most of the older ones he was filling a need, versus the newer ones it looks like he is trying to get a laugh. Voted up.


AlabamaGirl86 profile image

AlabamaGirl86 5 years ago

Nice video, so was he in all of his movies? One of the clips shows a red light, what does that mean? Voted up.


Jamie 5 years ago

You have put together a great collection of his cameos, I also noticed the red light from Rope, not sure what is is supposed to be. I am real curious about the answer.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

The red neon sign is supposedly a silhouette of Hitch but I don't see it. Btw I didn't create the video compilation, somebody at youtube did. I simply linked it to the page.

Yankees Rule, AlabamaGirl, Jamie, thanks for your comments.


YankeesRule profile image

YankeesRule 5 years ago

I did not even notice the red light until a second viewing after reading the comments. I would say if that is the Hitchcock silhouette, you need to be looking at it on a high-def big screen tv to make that out, because it only looks like a red light to me.


BERN1960 5 years ago

Hey, voted up. Really enjoyed the video showing Hitchcock in all the movie scenes. INTERESTING IDEA. WONDER IF ANYONE ELSE HAS DONE THAT! GOOD WORK.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks BERN1960. There may be more such videos at youtube, it's a great idea. John Landis would cameo in his films and include other directors too. Special Effects maestro Ray Harryhausen has cameo'd in a bunch of John Landis films. I wonder if there's a Landis compilation at youtube? :)


Tyler 5 years ago

Nice find of his cameos, he was the original Waldo. Voted up.


Tyler 5 years ago

Nice find of his cameos, he was the original Waldo. Voted up.


tracykarl99 profile image

tracykarl99 5 years ago from San Francisco

I like Tyler's comment: "The original Waldo" Ha-ha!

This is an awesome reference hub for Hichcock's whimsical cameo-appearances. I just watched Rear Window and spotted Hitchcock in the piano player's apartment, but did not notice that he was winding a clock ~ good catch! Great hub:)


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

My top favourite Hitchcock cameo is at the end of the opening credits of North by Northwest. Hitch missing the bus right after the directors credit. The perfect start for the quintessential Hitchcock film. :)

Tyler, tracykarl99 thanks for the comments.


WDH 5 years ago

I enjoyed the cameo video as well as your summary of each cameo from your site, thanks for sharing.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thank you WDH.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

I finally watched The 39 Steps today, and I used your hub as the reference for finding Hitchcock. I thought Robert Donat was pretty good as the man on the run, lots of themes and scenes Hitchcock would use many more times over the years.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Yep Hitch would use the theme of an innocent man on the run in many of his films.

And that's young Peggy Ashcroft helping Donat when he's on the run. Peggy won an Oscar playing Mrs. Moore in David Lean's A Passage to India. Where's that David Lean hub Cogerson? :)


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

I did not realize that was Dame Peggy Ashcroft playing the lady who helps out Donat....after reading your comment...I checked her IMDB stats....not too many movies for her...but she was good in Passage to India....as for a David Lean hub...sure....it would be a short one....only about 16 movies in his career....but some great ones in that group.


Candice 5 years ago

I love all the cameos, a fun video to watch.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks for commenting Candice.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Regarding the comment by Yankees Rule 4 months ago, he's right. Hitch's cameos became a status symbol, but that was never the reason for them originally. He started out as an extra in films that required extras-one more body without actually paying another person. As such, once he started playing extras there were still films in which he did not appear at all. Once his cameos became established, he had to make sure he appeared within the first half hour of the film or people would focus more on when his cameo was coming, rather than upon the film.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

My favourite Hitchcock cameo is right at the start of North by Northwest, when he misses the bus after the credits. Always makes me smile. :)

Thanks Flora, a bit of a Hitchcock fan I take it? [wink]


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Hey Steve...I posted this comment on Flora's Hitch hub....I thought I would share it on your Hitch hub as well.

I am not sure if you are familiar with the book Alternate Oscars by Danny Peary.....but basically he went back to 1927 and reviewed all the Oscar winners for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. He then came up with who should have actually won those Oscars....thus it is called Alternative Oscars. Somewhere between moves I lost my copy of the book..and just recently bought another copy...for only 1.46 at that.

But here are some interesting things you might find interesting: He says the Best Picture winner in 1935 should not have been Mutiny on the Bounty but...Hitchcock's The 39 Steps.

In 1946 he thinks Ingrid Bergman should have won for Hitch's Notorious over Olivia De Havilland in To Each His Own.

In 1951 he thinks Hitch's Strangers on a Train should have won Best Picture over An American in Paris. Also he thinks Robert Walker's part in Strangers deserved an Oscar.

In 1960 he thinks Hitch's Psycho should have been the Best Picture winner over The Apartment.

And just in case you thought he was a complete Hitchcock fan....he says Rebecca should NOT have won Best Picture...nor should have Joan Fontaine won for Suspicion.

It is a great book....Steve Lensman has the same book...but he does not like it because the author said Ben-Hur should not have been the Best Picture of 59.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Bruce, I saw that and replied to it. A fascinating book but it's his opinions you know, I agree with some disagree with others. On the whole I can see why the Oscar voters didn't go with his choices. 39 Steps over Mutiny? Not a chance. It's like me arguing that The Omega Man should have won the 1971 Best Picture Oscar because I like it so much and here's a page full of reasons why it should win. :)


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

True it is just his opinions....but I like and respect his opinions...just like I like and respect your opinions. Hey you make a great point about Omega Man...I would rather watch Omega Man than French Connection....French Connection has not aged well....and even the exciting chase scene...does not seem exciting anymore. So here is what we will do...

We will write the Steve Cogerson Substitute Oscar book or Cogerson Lensman's Substitute Oscar book...I am happy with either title....and we list which movies should have won the Oscar....you start with 1969 and 1971.....with the new winners being 2001 A Space Odyssey and Omega Man..... I will do 1981...with the new winners being Raiders of the Lost Ark and 1998's Saving Private Ryan.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Haha nice idea, I wish Raiders and Ryan won in those years too.

If Ben-Hur was to lose in 1959, I'd prefer North by Northwest or Some Like it Hot won not The effin' Nun's Story. Which is the film Peary chose if I'm not mistaken?


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Just checked....he picked Some Like It Hot...with honorable mention to Rio Bravo and North by Northwest.....although I am sure that he regrets not picking Ben-Hur...especially since so many more years have gone by since he wrote the book.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England Author

Some Like it Hot? Classic comedy I feel a bit better now and Rio Bravo's a big favourite too. Surprised he didn't go for North by Northwest, he picked 39 Steps over Mutiny. Thanks for checking Bruce.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 8 months ago from Virginia

Just added this hub to my Alfred Hitchcock page. Seems like I have written this before.

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