In the last shot of Alfred Hitchcock’s final (and underrated) “Family Plot,” impostor-psychic-turned-kidnapper Barbara Harris looks straight at the camera and winks. It was only time in Hitchcock’s career that he broke down the fourth wall, and the gesture felt like his goodbye to his fans.
Harris died August 21 at 83 of lung cancer. Her notable roles included “A Thousand Clowns,” “Nashville,” “The Seduction of Joe Tynan,” and a supporting actor Oscar nomination for “Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?” But for Hitchcock fans, her death reminds us that 42 years have passed since the master’s last film, and fewer of his actors are still alive.
It’s nearly impossible to track every actor who appeared in his work. (Anyone from Hitchcock’s early British films would have had to be a very small child.) However, there are still a number of still-living significant actors with major roles in his films.
Here are the best-known actors and/or roles (their age after their name):
Norman Lloyd (103)
“Saboteur” (1942), a wartime spy film with a coast-to-coast chase, climaxes with a classic Hitchcock scene of the hero and villain fighting atop the Statue of Liberty. Lloyd was the villain, famously tripping over the side and begging Robert Cummings to save him in a foreshadowing of “North by Northwest” and “Vertigo.” He’s still an active presence in film circles today. He also had a less-prominent role as a psychiatric patient in “Spellbound” (1945), and his legacy also includes roles for Jean Renoir, Anthony Mann, Charles Chaplin, and Martin Scorsese.
Nehemiah Persoff (99)
This veteran character actor played Henry Fonda’s brother-in-law in “The Wrong Man.” He was a prominent Golden Age of Television actor; later in his career, he was Barbra Streisand’s father in “Yentl.” (Also making their very brief debuts in “The Wrong Man” were Tuesday Weld and Bonnie Franklin.)
Doris Day (96)
Day was at the height of her stardom when she appeared as the wife of Jimmy Stewart dealing with their son’s kidnapping in the second version of “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
Rhonda Fleming (95)
Like Lloyd, she played a psychiatric patient in “Spellbound.” Fleming is best known for her roles in the classic film noir “Out of the Past,” “The Spiral Staircase,” and a series of Technicolor films that highlighted her flaming-red hair as well as work for leading directors like Fritz Lang, Jacques Tourneur, and John Sturges as a leading star in the 1950s.
Eva Marie Saint (94)
One of the most luminous of Hitchcock’s blondes, her companionship with Cary Grant on his cross-country journey in “North by Northwest” is perhaps her best-known role.
Brigitte Auber (93)
Remember Cary Grant’s surprise when he learns in “To Catch a Thief” that his rival as a Cannes cat burglar is a woman? That was Brigitte Auber. Her career otherwise, mainly in the 1950s, was in her native France.
Michel Piccoli (92)
The iconic French actor was one of many Europeans cast in Hitchcock’s second consecutive spy thriller, “Topaz” (1969).
Patricia Hitchcock (90)
His only child was a strong presence in two 1950s Warner Bros. films: “Stage Fright” (1950) with Marlene Dietrich, and more memorably as Ruth Roman’s precocious sister in “Strangers on a Train” (1951). Later, she has a brief but notable appearance in the early Phoenix-set scenes of “Psycho” (1960).
Katherine Helmond (90)
Best known for the sitcom “Soap,” her small role as Devane’s wife in “Family Plot” is her best known film work (along with “Brazil”).
Vera Miles (89)
Hitchcock was grooming Miles for bigger things when he cast her in a somewhat thankless role as Henry Fonda’s wife “The Wrong Man.” She had already made an impact the same year in John Ford’s “The Searchers.” She became pregnant right as Hitchcock hoped she’d play Madeleine in “Vertigo,” but returned as Janet Leigh’s sister in “Psycho.”
Sean Connery (88)
Right in the middle of his early Bond films, Connery played the wealthy publisher who took a somewhat obsessive interest in “Marnie.”
Tippi Hedren (87)
None of his actors is more closely tied for his or her work with him as Hedren. Her debut roles in “The Birds” (1963) and “Marnie” (1964) led to her charging her mentor with psychological abuse and more, with her career withering soon after working with him.
Kim Novak (85)
Her career would have been memorable without “Vertigo” (1958), but that film will forever be her legacy.
Shirley Maclaine (84)
This legend’s film career began with her debut in “The Trouble With Harry” (1955) as a young mother in a New England town who must help the locals deal with an inconvenient corpse.
Jean Marsh (84)
In the middle of her best-known role on TV’s “Upstairs Downstairs,” Marsh appeared in “Frenzy” — one of several delicious small parts played by major British actors.
Julie Andrews (83)
After “The Sound of Music,” her next role was in Cold War thriller “Torn Curtain” (1966) as Paul Newman’s fiancee.
Bruce Dern (82)
He played an early small role as a sailor in “Marnie,” then a lead role in “Family Plot” (1976).
Barbara Leigh-Hunt (82)
The film debut for this stage actress as the strangled woman in “Frenzy” (1972) is by far the best known in her career.
William Devane (81)
His biggest roles have been for TV, but Devane’s turn as a jeweler with a shady past in “Family Plot” was a standout in his film work.
Karin Dor (80)
This German actress had two prominent roles — as the widow of a Cuban revolutionary in “Topaz,” and a Spectre assassin in “You Only Live Twice.”
Diane Baker (80)
“Marnie” is one of several supporting roles from the late 1950s to mid 60s from Baker, who here played Connery’s sister in law who warns him about his new passion.
Mariette Hartley (78)
Also in “Marnie,” she played a coworker of the title character. She remains a busy actress, mostly on TV.
Jerry Mathers (70)
Before “Leave It to Beaver,” Mathers received his first credited screen role as the boy who first stumbles over the body in “The Trouble With Harry.”
Veronica Cartwright (68)
Her role as Rod Taylor’s perky kid sister in “The Birds” led to an extensive career primarily in TV. She later had prime roles in the remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “Alien,” and “The Right Stuff.”