Actress Tippi Hedren is unquestionably among the best of Hollywood’s cinematic icons.
To put it simply, her celebrity came at a much higher price than anyone could ever fathom. But in recent years, terrible details have surfaced that cast her career in a different light.
The Hollywood classic rose to fame in the early 1950s and 1960s because to her memorable performances in movies like The Birds and Marnie.
Tippi was a genuine class act, and to me, she represents the pinnacle of intrinsic beauty, intelligence, class, integrity, character, and strength.
We should all value her life as one of the last living actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood movie because she has a lot to teach us.
She unfortunately paid a heavy price for pursuing her dreams, and in recent years, much attention has been paid to her complex relationship with the renowned Alfred Hitchcock.
Tippi was first noticed by the renowned director, who was immediately taken with her after seeing her in a Sego diet drink commercial.
“I was not primarily concerned with how she looked in person. Most important was her appearance on the screen, and I liked that immediately. She has a touch of that high-style, lady-like quality which was once well-represented in films by actresses like Irene Dunne, Grace Kelly, Claudette Colbert, and others, but which is now quite rare,” Hitchcock later said.
young blonde girl with roots in Sweden, Germany, and Norway.
Tippi’s modeling career took off as she grew older. She was featured on the covers of some of the most well-known publications at the time, including Life and Glamour. She had little experience and was an unknown actor.
Nevertheless, in October 1961, she received a call from an agent who requested a hire on behalf of a well-known producer. Tippi kept requesting information about the producer, but no one would provide it. They finally informed her that Alfred Hitchcock demanded a seven-year contract from the top mod.
“I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or run,” Tippi told Star Tribune in 1962.
The rumor was that Hitchcock had found his new Grace Kelly. Tippi knew that being connected with Miss Kelly was incredibly nice, but she didn’t want to be compared to the enormous woman.
Tippi first imagined that she would play the lead in the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents since she thought it would be difficult to get the largest roles due to her inexperience in serious acting.
Yet, it soon became clear that the renowned director had big ideas for the blonde from Minnesota.
He started putting Tippi through some difficult training right away. The stunning woman with the green eyes had to undergo a number of lengthy screen tests. Tippi was really anxious, but she handled it well by memorizing every sentence and performing every task that was asked of her.
“Hitch always liked women who behaved like well-bred ladies. Tippi generated that quality,” production designer Robert F. Boyle said.
Tippi had dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock a couple of days after the testing was concluded. Hitchcock started reaching into his pocket halfway through dinner and handed Tippi a golden box that was wrapped in wrapping paper.
“I had just finished a screen test for Hitch and I thought, ‘What a nice way for him to tell me he liked it,’” Tippi told Star Tribune.
Inside the box was a gold pin adorned with a seed pearl.
“Hitch said, ‘Look at it closely, my dear.’
“It’s shaped like a bird,” Tippi said.
“Yes, my dear,” Hitchcock explained with his deep voice.
”You have the lead in my next production.”
The Birds was Tippi Hedren’s screen debut, and the well-crafted horror movie left an everlasting impression on everyone who saw it.
The special effects were ground-breaking and the New York Times called it “a horror film that should raise the hackles on the most courageous and put goose-pimples on the toughest hide.”
Tippi’s rise to fame as a result of the classic movie was well-deserved given how hard she worked on the shoot. It was just as horrifying to shoot The Birds as it was to watch it in a theater.
“They used real birds. In one scene, 2,000 finches come down the fire place chimney and take over my home. But the worst scene took place in the attic. I’m attacked by crows and gulls. One bird scratched me under the eye and bit my lip. It took six days to film a sequence that lasts only two minutes on film. I was very depressed about the horror of the scene and at the end I collapsed. I stayed in bed for days,” Tippi revealed in 1962.
Tippi was told by Alfred Hitchcock that she would be the star of Marnie while they were filming The Birds. Due to Grace Kelly’s withdrawal from the picture, a new leading lady might now take her place. The nation was in sorrow for President F. Kennedy when the iconic movie was set to begin production in 1963, thus the start date was moved to 1964.
“I was amazed that he would offer me this incredible role and that he would have that kind of faith in me,” Tippi explained in the book Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie.
First met with mixed reviews, Marnie has since gained a better reputation and is now regarded by several reviewers as one of the best movies ever produced. Tippi Hedren, with her golden hair, and the legendary Sean Connery were the ideal movie coupling. The psychological thriller was also unquestionably innovative for its day.
Tippi and Hitchcock’s final joint project was Marnie, and there were various reasons for this.
Tippi, her coworkers, and other witnesses all agreed that everything began when she shot The Birds. During the filming, Alfred Hitchcock served as her drama instructor, but he didn’t stop there.
“He was too possessive and too demanding. I cannot be possessed by anyone. But, then, that’s my own hangup,” the actress said in 1973.
At the time, Hedren was only a novice actress “who had no clout,” whereas Hitchcock was the brilliant and well-known director. Tippi claims that Mr. Hitchcock once assaulted her after she refused to sleep with him, so she had to be incredibly strong to repel him.
“Hitch was becoming very domineering and covetous of ‘Tippi,’ and it was very difficult for her. No one was permitted to come physically close to her during the production. ‘Don’t touch the girl after I call “Cut!”‘ he said to me repeatedly,” Rod Taylor, co-star in The Birds, revealed in the book.
During the making of Marnie, things got even worse.
“Everyone -— I mean everyone -— knew he was obsessed with me. He always wanted a glass of wine or champagne, with me alone, at the end of the day. He was really isolating me from everyone,” Tippi said.
Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock in a Marnie publicity shot (1964)
At the time, The Dark Side of Genius generated a lot of controversy. Close associates of Alfred Hitchcock appeared to defend him and claimed that they were not familiar with the character the book painted.
Tippi, however, has persisted, and today she asserts that the filmmaker destroyed her career. She had long-standing accusations against him, and when she published her memoirs, she wrote about them to help other women.
“I wanted to let women, especially young women, know never to allow that kind of approach and to be forceful in telling people you’re not interested in having that kind of a relationship. It’s not a bad thing to say no,” she told Variety.
At the same time, Tippi has also been keen to give a broader picture of the legendary director that she worked with for many years.
“He ruined my career, but he didn’t ruin my life. That time of my life was over. I still admire the man for who he was,” she told Huffington Post in 2012.
“I’ve been able to separate the two. The man who was the artist. I mean, what he gave to the motion picture industry can never be taken away from him and I certainly wouldn’t want to try. But on the other side, there is that dark side that was really awful.”
After the Hitchcock years, the impossibly cool and elegant screen goddess suffered some career setbacks. She had to rebuild her own career and decided to devote a lot of time to animal welfare causes. Her modeling career and the unfair treatment she suffered in Tinseltown became stepping stones towards what she would do later in life.
In 1981, Tippi and her talent agent husband, Noel Marshall, produced the movie Roar. The project was supposed to take around nine months – it took five years, and the bill landed at $17 million.
The movie starred dozens of African lions, Marshall, Tippi, and her daughter Melanie Griffith. Among the closing credits, there was a note to the audience to demonstrate against fur dealers and wearers.
Noel Marshall, Melanie Griffith, and the director of photography, Jan de Bont, were all attacked by lions during the production. That’s why Roar has become known as the ”most dangerous film ever made.” Some claim that 40 people were injured, but Tippi says it was seven.
“I don’t know how we survived it… We were one on one with those big cats,” Tippi told Variety in 2016.
”They’re dangerous animals and they’re big. As I made the movie, I got into the issue of stopping the government from allowing people to breed lions and tigers as pets. They shouldn’t be pets. They’re apex predators, top of the food chain, one of four of the most dangerous animals in the world.”
Tippi has been a vocal supporter of animal rights since the 1980s. She established the Shambala Preserve, a wildlife sanctuary 40 miles north of Los Angeles, in 1983. Since 1976, the 93-year-old actress has called the house her home.
Tippi’s last acting role was in the 2017 American drama mystery thriller film The Ghost and the Whale. The actress made it known a year later that as she approached her 90s, she would not be accepting any substantial acting jobs.
“I am at the time in my life when I have done almost everything I wanted to do,” Hedren told The Hollywood Reporter.
“My constant work here at the preserve to care for my rescued and abandoned big cats fills my days now. I doubt that I will do much work in the motion-picture business or television again, and I suppose that is why this commercial was such a special offer.”
What a powerful, intriguing, and wise woman!
Tippi’s experiences are so frustrating and cruel, yet she overcame them and now appears to be a beautiful, compassionate woman.
Tippi Hedren has lived a remarkable life and is a lovely woman with ideals that may have been too high for Hollywood. Publish this post if you concur!