Jack Hill has been married to Elke Hill since 1958. Apart from this, the Los Angeles-born actor is mostly known for his behind-the-camera work as a movie director and writer. Notably, he is known for The Switchblade Sisters (1982), The Big Doll House (1971), and The Host (1960–61). To show for his incredible work, Hill’s movies are considered cult classics, and that is why his moving image collection is held at the Academy Film Archive.
While Hill gained wide recognition for his works, the 90-year-old notably last worked in 1982, making many wonder what he is up to. As it is, he is alive but living quietly. So let’s dig in and find out more about his life.
Jack Hill has One of the Longest Celebrity Marriages
According to his IMDB profile, Jack Hill has been married to a woman named Elke Hill since 1958. On her own, Elke is credited with a part in I Pass for Human (2004). Also, Jack hinted that he wrote some romantic comedies with her.
Focusing on their marriage, reports have it that after attending UCLA for a few years, he left to go get married. Based on this, we may not be wrong to say that his relationship with Elke was quite an important one for him to want to pause his educational
pursuit to be with her.
Aside from this, Hill and Elke have managed to stay away from the scandals that celebrity marriages are prone to. While it’s unclear whether this is why they have a long-lasting marriage, keeping their love life private has worked for them.
The Iconic Movie Maker was Born Into a Family of Entertainers
Jack Hill was born on January 8, 1933, to Mildred Pannil and Roland Everett Hill in Los Angeles, California. His mother was a music teacher, while his father worked in entertainment as an art director and set designer. Looking at his parents’ work, they had an influence on the entertainment industry while working behind the scenes.
On his mother’s part, she was more involved in training students in the classroom, a job she took so seriously that she remained active right into her 90s. On the other hand, his father was more involved in moviemaking. Roland spent his career with First National Pictures, which later became Warner Bros., as well as Disney.
Due to the influence of his parents’ careers, it was easy for him to follow in their footsteps. The director revealed that his father used to bring scripts for him to read and also took him to the studio each time they were using special effects or miniatures. More on the role his parents played in his life and career: Hill learned to play some musical instruments like the violin, which allowed him to play in symphony orchestras.
Moving on, Jack attended Hollywood High School. After this, he enrolled at UCLA. As mentioned earlier, he left to get married, but this was not where his educational pursuit stopped. He is said to have returned and earned a degree in music. This was followed by post-graduate studies at the UCLA Film School.
He Started his Career as a Concert and Recording Artist
Jack started following his dreams of being an entertainer while still a college student. With his background in music, he became a concert and recording artist who performed with symphony orchestras. He was deeply involved in the LA jazz scene in the 1950s, during which time he toured with some of the groups.
Also, Hill played gypsy music at a Hungarian restaurant on the Sunset Strip. Other musical exploits include his time playing for the soundtracks of Doctor Zhivago and The Brothers Karamazov. Also, Hill arranged music for burlesque performers. Through this, he was able to make some connections with other entertainers, like comedian Lenny Bruce. He finally left music when he became a movie maker.
The Los Angeles-born is a Notable Movie Director and Writer
Having started out as a music entertainer, it was quite a switch for him when he took a career path in directing and writing movies. At this point, we can draw a connection between his parents’ work. He started out as a music maker, like his mother, and ended up as a movie maker, just like his father. In fact, at some point, he and his father worked on some projects together.
His collaboration with his father came years after the older Hill had retired from Disney. Yet he designed the set for Karloff’s Mexican horror films and The Big Bird Cage (1972), which Jack was working on.
Aside from having a close working collaboration with his father, Jack also worked with Francis Ford Coppola, a long-time friend and classmate from his UCLA days. Jack’s The Host (1960) is said to have influenced Ford’s Apocalypse Now (1970). While Coppola grew his career and became an Oscar-winning creative, Hill continued to work on B-movies, which are low-budget movies.
Through his exploits, he has directed and written some successful movies, such as The Big Doll House (1971). This movie drew the attention of many as it shed light on the women-in-prison genre. Also, he is notable for making movies that touched on themes of racism, corruption, and violence, especially during a time when many moviemakers were not comfortable doing so.
His last movie was the 1982 Sorceress, which he wrote and directed. Since then, he has stayed away from the media. In recent years, his works have been regarded as cult classics, and he is described as one of the successful exploitation filmmakers, those who try to make successful films using current trends.