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The Only Main Actor Still Alive From Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho

"Psycho" launched a thousand phobias of showers and dingy roadside motels when it premiered in 1960. Audiences ate up Alfred Hitchcock's proto-slasher, and the film went on to become the second-highest-grossing film of the year (behind "Spartacus") and the fifth-highest-grossing black-and-white film of all time. Its stars — Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, and John Gavin — all had sizable bodies of work outside of Hitchcock's thriller, although none of their films surpassed the popularity of "Psycho." But what happened to its actors in the decades since?

As the years have passed, its stars have, too. Perkins, who played serial killer and momma's boy Norman Bates in "Psycho" and its two sequels, died of AIDS-related complications in 1992. Character actor Martin Balsam, who played private investigator Milton Arbogast, died in 1996, and two more of the film's stars — Leigh and Gavin, who played Marion Crane and her boyfriend, Sam Loomis — died in 2004 and 2018, respectively. But one of the stars of "Psycho" also happens to be the sole survivor among the cast: Vera Miles, who plays Marion Crane's sister, Lila, is the only main actor from Hitchcock's 1960 hit who is still alive today.

"Psycho" fans will remember that Lila Crane doesn't enter the picture until after her sister, Marion, meets a shocking end in the shower of the Bates Motel. She becomes the film's new main character, as the rest of "Psycho" follows her and Sam's investigation into Marion's demise. Beyond "Psycho," Miles had a fruitful Hollywood career — both with and without Hitchcock.

Vera Miles nearly starred in Vertigo

"Psycho" was not Vera Miles' first rodeo with Alfred Hitchcock; she had previously appeared in the initial episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" in 1955 and later co-starred with Henry Fonda in the 1956 film "The Wrong Man." "Psycho" was part of a five-year contract she had signed with the legendary British director, though the second film she was to make with him — "Vertigo," alongside James Stewart — fell through. Miles was pregnant at the start of production, so Hitchcock reluctantly recast the female lead with Kim Novak.

While Janet Leigh was traumatized by her role in "Psycho," Miles seems to have nothing but admiration and regard for the film, Hitchcock, and her time on set. "There was always a great deal of respect between Hitchcock and me," she told The Spokesman-Review in 1983. After Hitchcock's death, there was speculation that he used his position to coerce women into romantic or sexual relations with him. Miles rebuffed such rumors, telling the paper, "As for playing casting couch to get the role, I'd have told him to go to hell. Neither of us had time for that kind of thing."

Outside of Hitchcock's films, cinephiles will recognize Miles from her role in the John Ford classic "The Searchers," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," and the John Wayne turkey "Hellfighters." She returned alongside Anthony Perkins for "Psycho II" in 1983, and her final role was in the Jim Belushi-Linda Hamilton drama "Separate Lives" in 1995.

Why did Vera Miles leave the spotlight?

Vera Miles doesn't give interviews or speak to the press at all these days, which is one reason you might not have known that she's the only main actor still alive from 1960's "Psycho." In fact, she has insisted in the past that she was never keen on becoming a star. "[Alfred Hitchcock] wanted to make me into a superstar, but I just wasn't interested," she told The Spokesman-Review in 1983. "He assigned me the job of entering society on the jet-set level. I have nothing against society, but it just wasn't me." She said she never felt comfortable discussing her private life and that her duties as a mother came before her acting career. Miles, who is now over 90 years old, has four children and has married and divorced four times.

When Hollywood revisited "Psycho" in 2012 with Sacha Gervasi's behind-the-scenes drama "Hitchcock," Miles stayed out of it. Jessica Biel — who has also become one of those actors you rarely hear about — plays Miles in the film. Much of the drama follows Hitchcock's (Anthony Hopkins) marital trouble and struggles making "Psycho," but Gervasi's film also examines the director's relationship with Miles and Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson).

Miles maintained her privacy, choosing not to meet Biel or discuss the film with her. "[Vera is] not interested in having a public life and just wasn't interested in speaking to me at all," Biel said via United Press International. "I didn't think that was an insult in any way."