Six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see!


Tracey E. Bregman
Head shot of Tracey that appears in the film's promotional guide

Tracey E. Bregman (played Ann Thomerson)

Q1: How did you get involved in HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME? Most of the cast were Canadian, but the film's notes say that you were German-born, London-reared and California-schooled.

I was a Canadian resident and so director J. Lee Thompson met me in L.A. actually in Malibu where I now live. I pass his house every day and think of him. I didn't have to read, he literally took one look at me and said, "OK" I said, "OK, what?" He said, "you're it." and that was how I got my first movie. :)

Q2: It looked like a lot of fun to make! Was it as much fun to make as it is to watch?

Tracey E. Bregman
Tracey(far right) as Ann Thomerson in HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

It was great fun. Tom Burman who did the FX was amazing. He is now very well known. I'm still in contact with most of the cast members.

Q3: The film's press notes say that three endings were shot (and also boasts the cast wouldn't know which ending was used until they actually saw the film!), but I've also heard that was just to cover up the fact that the ending hadn't really been written. What was your understanding of the situation?

OK. I'll tell you the real story of the ending. The original ending was Melissa's character was the murderer. Throughout filming, Lee would get upset with me because I had different reactions to certain scenes. In fact, my nick name was "Crazy". I'll give you an example, one day we were shooting the huge crowd scene at school where someone finds a skeleton head. We are all running to get a good look, just as I was running to my mark, an extra put out her arm and hit me in the throat. Which caused me to laugh, throw her arm down and make it my mark. I thought all was good and then Lee starts screaming at me that I had ruined the entire shot. Well, that was the best thing that ever happened because when they watched the dailies, they decided to change the entire ending and make me the killer. I was taken to dinner and told that I was given the ending and that I was the murderer. I said, "Wait a minute, I just filmed my death scene!"

Tracey E. Bregman
Tracey was surprised to be told she was the killer, as she had already filmed her death scene!

Q5: The delightfully convoluted crescendo to HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME is loved and loathed in equal measures. Naturally I love it! SCOOBY DOO'esque fun at its finest. However, did anyone think the mask ripping finale would be taken seriously, or was tongue very much in cheek throughout?

All is know is that it took my face and skin months to recover from the mask ripping. It took layers and layers of skin off.

Q6: Did the cast get together to watch the film when it was released in May 1981?

We didn't get together because I was in the US and they were all in Canada.

Mask ripping!
It may have looked fake, but that mask took layers of skin off Tracey's face which took months to heal

Q7: Have you seen the film recently? And if so, how do you think it holds up?

I've watched parts of it thanks to Youtube and my 13 year old son watched the whole film recently and said it made him laugh a lot because I swore so much in the film. LOL!

Thanks to Tracey for taking the time out to talk about her role in HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. Tracey continues to have a very successful on-screen career, especially on major TV soaps such as THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. Read more about her career here.

HBTM logo Next: Jack Blum home



pre-production production promotion censorship reception legacy interviews