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Alfred Hitchcock’s muse Tippi Hedren on her legendary movies and family – Exclusive
12 June, 2017
My heart beat increased when I heard her voice in my telephone. One, two, three and from the other side of the phone the world star Tippi Hedren answered. I recognized her velvet voice immediately as she spoke. It was the voice of the woman, who made Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary movie “The Birds” unforgettable for the world.

- Am I talking to Miss Tippi Hedren?
- Yes, it’s me.
- Good morning, I’m calling from Tbilisi, Georgia. Journalist of the weekly newspaper “Kviris
Palitra”…
- I know, I’m informed…

Assuredly we had a preliminary talk about the interview with the star of “The Birds” and “Marnie”. Miss Tippi got informed earlier about our media holding and a week ago we set the date for the phone call.

I would start our conversation with your first leading role in the film “Birds”. Hitchcock saw you in a TV diet-drink commercial, and started searching for Tippi Hedren. Was it hard for you to have the leading role in the legendary movie?


Despite that was my first leading role it was not difficult, I loved doing “The Birds,” it was absolutely wonderful, powerful film. I enjoyed doing the whole film. It wasn’t difficult to work with Hitchcock, It was fine.
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Tippi Hedren in "The Birds", 1963. Universal Pictures

Which film in your career made you stronger and why?

I think that “Marnie” with Alfred Hitchcock and Sean Connery, it was a very complicated role; a wonderful role to do and to become the character was very interesting journey, so I think that this role made me stronger and more confident.

In autobiography memoir ‘Tippi’ you revealed that you were sexually assaulted and harassed by legendary British director Alfred Hitchcock while he directed you in the films "The Birds" and "Marnie." You write that the iconic director, who was “obsessed” with you, sexually assaulted you on the set of Marnie, when you were alone in dressing room. “Marnie” was Hitchcock’s last film you appeared in.

I just walked away, I said to Hitchcock: I am not interested in having a relationship with you and I walked out of the door.
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Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren attend the Cannes Film Festival, 1963

He threatened to ruin your career…

Yes, he told me he would ruin my career and I said: “Do what you have to do” and walked away. It was a nasty thing he did. It was awful, it was perverse, and it was ugly, and I couldn’t have been more shocked or repulsed.
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Tippi Hedren. Photo Bettmann owned by the Universal Pictures

If you had to do it all over again, would you have accepted the role in Hitchcock’s “The Birds”?

Well you accept the role and those things happen, you don’t know which you are going to. In life whatever you do, you don’t know what is going to come. I have no idea. I didn’t even think about it.

In “A Countess from Hong Kong” - Charlie Chaplin's final film, you played opposite Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. Could you look back and tell us something about Charlie Chaplin?

It was interesting to meet Chaplin after Hitchcock, their directing styles were so different. Chaplin’s method was to act out all our different roles, which was brilliant to watch. Instead of directing, he’d get out there on set and say: “OK, do this,” and showed us how. He’d become Sophia Loren. He’d become me and Marlon. It was really unusual and I’d never seen it happen before. I enjoyed watching him really. Marlon Brando didn’t like it at all. Marlon was so insulted to see someone acting out his role and that’s why he wanted to leave and Charlie had to convince him to stay on. I didn’t take it as the personal kind of situation; he didn’t try to be offensive at all. We had wonderful relationship during the filming. He was wonderful director. His style was mostly different from other directors. He was very friendly.
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Tippi Hedren, Sophia Loren, Sydney Chaplin at Charlie Chaplin's 77th birthday

My next question is about your wonderful family, about Melanie Griffith and Dakota Dakota Johnson. They followed you and became actresses. Do you offer Melanie and Dakota advice on acting?

Never, never, I’ve never given either one word of career advice. They made it entirely on their own. We have a wonderful time together and nobody tells anybody what to do. I even haven’t seen “Fifty Shades of Grey”. We are always trying to be together.
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Tippi Hedren along with her daughter Melanie Griffith and granddaughter Dakota Johnson
Photograph by Coliena Rentmeester - "Vanity Fair"


Nowadays who do you think are as talented directors as Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcockused to be?

Oh dear, I don’t know. I am not working, I’ve retired, so I’m not in the industry as an actress any longer, I can’t answer that. I’m taking care of animals and doing like that so I don’t know...
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Tippi Hedren. Photo credit: Bill Dow

P.S. Even in her ninth decade Miss Hedren still retains her youthful figure, cool blonde hair and sparkling hazel eyes. Her voice is bright as a bell, her enthusiasm for life undiminished.

By Nino Tsipuria for Kviris Palitra newspaper

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