An Interview with Stephen Rebello: Hollywood’s Former Breezer


Image Courtesy of Stephen Rebello

Ryan Rose

Stephen Rebello is an American writer and journalist who is known for his numerous works such as Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!, and numerous other books with the Disney corporation. Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho later went on to be adapted to film. Stephen has written for numerous national journals, such as Cosmopolitan and the Los Angeles Times, and has written in and for Hollywood. What makes Stephen interesting to “The Breeze” specifically is the fact that he is a former Somerset High School student who even wrote for the school paper back when “The Breeze” was physically printed and distributed. Stephen has agreed to participate in this interview with his former school covering his highly successful career and how Somerset High School led him to it. For more information on Stephen and his works you can visit his website at


In what way did the love of movies shared by both you and your parents during your childhood impact your career? Did you always want to end up in the film industry?

I was so lucky to be born to parents who loved moviegoing, especially in a time when moviegoers had their pick of seeing shows at the big, lavish theaters of Fall River like the legendary Durfee or the Somerset Playhouse, let alone the many other indoor theaters and more casual drive-ins of Fall River. Somerset, Providence, New Bedford and other neighboring cities. We’d dress up and make it a night at the movies plus dinner at one of the many popular restaurants of Somerset and Fall River that are long gone. What made an impact on me, probably more than anything else, was the combination of love, aspiration, and irreverence my parents showed toward Hollywood movies and movie stars. It was pretty clear — at least to me, some of my friends and a few of my teachers — that I was going to be a writer who might someday be interested in writing about Hollywood and, eventually, write in and for Hollywood.


How did your time as a co-editor of the Somerset High School student newspaper influence your future in journalism and film?

Writing for and co-editing “The Breeze,” which I loved, taught me valuable lessons about deadlines, about being clear, discovering my personal voice and style, and, especially,  about being encouraging and open to the ideas, skills and talents of others. Those lessons and survival skills stayed with me when, decades later, I became a frequent contributor and contributing editor of several national magazines. And all of that serves me today when, as a writer, I’m working with book editors, publishers and publicists, let alone when I’ve been involved in screenwriting for films and television.

How did being the last person to get the chance to interview Alfred Hitchcock feel? What impact did that have on both your literary work, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, and its later film adaptation?

Being in the presence of Alfred Hitchcock — whom I chose as the subject for one of my required class presentations back at what was then called Somerset High School — was unforgettable. I mean, talk about being in the presence of greatness. Surprisingly, though, I found him to be so funny, vulnerable, and a born teacher, that I also felt clear-headed, very present, without a shred of nervousness. I was where I was supposed to be. By the time of writing Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, I had read so much about him, had met him in Boston, had come to personally know many of the colleagues who worked closely with him for decades, that his essence, voice, foibles, sadness, humor became, for me, more focused and clear than ever. Although I would still say that Hitchcock was essentially an unknowable man, my experiences gave me extra confidence and insight while writing the book and contributing to the screenplay for Hitchcock. Everyone in the public enjoys a unique personal relationship with these grand figures like, say, Hitchcock or Lucille Ball, that if you tell them even well-researched truths they don’t want to hear, they won’t necessarily be happy with you.

Your latest work, Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!, surrounds the 1966 novel and 1967 film adaptation of Valley of the Dolls, a title that you brand as “The Most Beloved Bad Book and Movie of All Time” What importance do you think these types of irreverent works have in our society?

The 1966 novel and 1967 film adaptation of Valley of the Dolls are worlds apart. Novelist Jacqueline Susann’s book became a record-breaking bestseller not only because it was a wickedly gossipy, inside show business exposé but also because many readers identified with her depictions of how loneliness, betrayal, disappointments, ageism and sexism can lead women to alcoholism and addiction to prescription pills. The movie version was expected to capture all of that. But because of a troubled script, miscasting, and some unfortunate choices behind the camera, some viewers considered the hit movie to be so unintentionally hilarious that it also became a “guilty pleasure” cult classic. Others, though, remember Valley of the Dolls as a good, old-fashioned movie. And both “sides” are right. And you want to know something? Our world right now looks like a tough, bleak one facing massive problems of all kinds. So show me a movie, TV show, music, play, TikTok video that gives people joy, insight, escape, an emotional connection? I’m all in.

Lastly, if you could give any one piece of advice to the current students at Somerset Berkley Regional High School, what would it be?

If I were to give Somerset Berkley Regional High School students any advice it would be: “In every single second of your completely unique and precious life, remember that you — and only you — are the author, the hero, the heroine of your story. Figure out as fast as you can what your dream is, then stop dreaming and pursue your goal with relentless passion, joy, persistence, and kindness so that you may achieve your dream and make a difference in this world.”