On this day in 1941, Suspicion, a romantic thriller starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, makes its debut. The film, which earned a Best Picture Academy Award nomination and a Best Actress Oscar for Fontaine, marked the first time that Grant, one of Hollywood’s quintessential leading men, and Hitchcock, one of the greatest directors in movie history, worked together. The two would later collaborate on Notorious, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest.
Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904, in Bristol, England. He made his big-screen debut in 1932’s This is the Night and had his first hit movie with the 1937 comedy Topper. Grant went on to develop his suave, sophisticated leading-man image with starring performances in a long string of successful comedies and dramas, including The Awful Truth (1937), with Irene Dunne; Bringing Up Baby (1938), with Katharine Hepburn; Only Angels Have Wings (1939), with Jean Arthur; Gunga Din (1939), with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Victor McLaglen; His Girl Friday (1940), with Rosalind Russell, and the Oscar-nominated The Philadelphia Story (1940), with Hepburn and James Stewart.
In 1946’s Notorious, Grant’s second film with Alfred Hitchcock, the actor co-starred alongside Ingrid Bergman as American agents who infiltrate a post-World War II spy ring. In Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955),Grant co-starred with Grace Kelly and played a retired jewel thief on the French Riviera. In his final Hitchcock film, 1959’s North by Northwest, which co-starred Eva St. Marie, Grant portrayed a businessman who is mistaken by enemy spies as an American undercover agent. Grant retired from moviemaking in 1966 after filming Walk, Don’t Run (1966). He died on November 29, 1986, at age 82.
Alfred Hitchcock, born August 13, 1899, in London, began directing movies in Great Britain in the 1920s. His early hits include The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938). Hitchcock began making movies in Hollywood in the 1940s, including Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944) and Spellbound (1945), each of which earned him a Best Director Oscar nomination. Known as the “Master of Suspense,” Hitchcock also helmed such thrillers as Strangers on a Train (1951), Rear Window (1954), which earned him a fourth Best Director Oscar nomination; Vertigo (1958); Psycho (1960), for which he received his fifth Best Director Oscar nomination; and The Birds (1961). His final film was 1976’s Family Plot. Hitchcock died on April 29, 1980, at age 80, in Los Angeles.