|Edna May Wonacott in Shadow of a Doubt (1943) with Henry Travers|
Edna May Wonacott, who turns 80 today, was born in the town of Willits in Northern California in 1932. She spent most of her childhood to the south, in Santa Rosa, where her father was a grocer. When she was nine years old a twist of fate occurred that changed her life forever. Edna happened to be waiting at a bus stop in downtown Santa Rosa when she encountered director Alfred Hitchcock and producer Jack Skirball. Hitchcock, who would be shooting much of his next film in town, thought there might be a part in it for the pig-tailed, bespectacled young girl whose curiosity captured his attention.
Two years ago, on Edna's 78th birthday, I posted the story she told me of her fateful "discovery." She and I had talked at length about what transpired on that day, what it was like working with Hitchcock on Shadow of a Doubt, as well as her memories of working on Leo McCarey's The Bells of St. Mary's (1945). Click here for the full interview.
We've stayed in touch since, and last January just before her 79th birthday, Edna brought me up to date on her life during the intervening year. It was a busy year - a year of letters and autograph requests from fans who'd seen our interview online or when it was published in her local paper or when it later appeared in Films of the Golden Age. She'd been active in other ways, too; in fact, she'd been a very busy lady. Click here to find out what interesting turns Edna's life took during 2010.
Then last summer, on the 112th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock's birth, she was part of a celebratory event here at Reel Life; a drawing was held for a DVD copy of Shadow of a Doubt along with a copy of this photo signed by Edna:
|Edna May Wonacott and Alfred Hitchcock on the set|
Today, as Edna turns 80, I'd like to wish her an especially happy birthday and wish her many, many more. Thank you, Edna, for sharing your memories.