Donald Spoto, the unauthorised biographer of “The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius” died last week at the age of 81 as reported in The New York Times. May he Rest In Peace.
His first book “The Art of Alfred Hitchcock” was published in 1976 and was a coffee table book on Hitchcock’s work. But as esteemed Hitchcock critic Robin Wood, author of the seminal book “Hitchcock’s Films” stated, Spoto quickly turned from reverence to rape with the publication of his next Hitchcock book, “The Dark Side of Genius”.
Many Hitchcock collaborators went on record to say they did not recognise the man Spoto portrayed in his book, while others such as Patricia Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman and Norman Lloyd actively defended the director with alternative sides of the story.
Following the publication of his Hitchcock books, Spoto made a name for himself as a celebrity biographer with often sensational accounts on the likes of Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman and James Dean among others.
He published his third and final book on Alfred Hitchcock in 2008 titled “Spellbound by Beauty” which catalogued Hitchcock’s predilictions with blondes and his alleged obsession with Tippi Hedren. Spoto and Hedren collaborated as advisers on the BBC’s and HBO’s drama “The Girl” which was released in 2013. Again more controversy ensued, and defendants such as Kim Novak, Doris Day and Barbara Leigh-Hunt spoke out to defend Hitchcock as the man they did not recognise in the television movie.
Spoto’s allegations were also refuted in two books by author Tony Lee Moral, “Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie” in 2002 and “The Making of Hitchcock’s The Birds” in 2013.
While Save Hitchcock disputed The Girl’s allegations and contradicted many of those in Spoto’s biography, we will be addressing some of those claims in the coming months on this site.
Spoto leaves behind his husband Ole Flemming Larsen who he married in 2003 where they lived together in Denmark.
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