May 13

This Day in History

Literary

May 13, 1907:

Daphne Du Maurier, author of Rebecca, is born

British writer Daphne Du Maurier is born on this day in 1907. Du Maurier wrote many romantic suspense novels, including the popular Rebecca (1938).

Du Maurier was born in London and educated in Paris. Her father, a well-known actor and theater manager, introduced her to the artistic life. She visited the coast of Cornwall when she was 20. The region would later become her home and the setting for much of her work. Her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published in 1931, followed by several more novels. Rebecca, the story of a young wife of a man whose first wife mysteriously died, was set at the fictional mansion of Manderley, modeled after her own 70-room home, Menabilly. The book was made into an Academy Award-winning picture in 1940, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock also directed the movie version of her short story "The Birds."

Du Maurier was granted the ceremonial title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1969. She continued to publish fiction, as well as memoirs, histories, and biographies, until her death in 1989.

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