Beauty Icon of The Week: TIPPI HEDREN
Nathalie Kay "Tippi" Hedren (born January 19, 1930) is an American actress and former fashion model with a career spanning six decades. She is primarily known for her roles in two Alfred Hitchcock films, The Birds and Marnie, and her extensive efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre wildlife habitat which she founded in 1983.
Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith, and they share credits on several productions, notably Pacific Heights (1990).
Hedren was born in New Ulm, Minnesota, the daughter of Dorothea Henrietta (née Eckhardt) and Bernard Carl Hedren. Her paternal grandparents were immigrants from Sweden, and her maternal ancestry was German and Norwegian. Her father ran a small general store in the small town of Lafayette, Minnesota and gave her the nickname "Tippi." "My father thought Nathalie was a little bit much for a brand new baby," Hedren explained at a 2004 screening of The Birds.
As a teenager, Hedren took part in department store fashion shows. Her parents relocated to California while she was still a high school student. When she reached her 18th birthday, she bought a ticket to New York and began a professional modeling career. Within a year she made her film debut (minus dialogue) as a Petty Girl model in The Petty Girl (1950) musical comedy, although in interviews she refers to The Birds (1963) as her first film
Hedren had a successful modeling career in the 1950s and 1960s, appearing on covers of national magazines, such as Life magazine.[ She was discovered by Hitchcock, who was watching The Today Show when he saw Hedren in a commercial for Sego, a diet drink. Hitchcock was looking for an actress who possessed something of the sophistication, self-assurance and cool-blonde sex appeal of Grace Kelly, with whom he had made three films. Hedren, expensively groomed and mentored by Hitchcock, appeared in his films The Birds and Marnie. At the time of the films' releases, she was criticized for being too passive in The Birds and too expressive in Marnie. It took years before she received respect for her work in both films from American film critics.
At a packed house in Lancaster, California's Antelope Valley Independent Film Festival Cinema Series screening of The Birds on September 28, 2004, Hedren recalled how she was mysteriously selected for a lead role: "I said, 'Well, who is this person? Who is interested?'... Nobody would tell me who it was." (It was Alfred Hitchcock, who soon announced his choice of Hedren.)
Hitchcock put Hedren through a then-costly $25,000 screen test, doing scenes from his previous films, such as Rebecca, Notorious and To Catch a Thief with actor Martin Balsam. He signed her to a multi-year exclusive personal contract, something he had done in the 1950s with Vera Miles. Hitchcock's plan to mold Hedren's public image went so far as to carefully control her style of dressing and grooming. Hitchcock insisted for publicity purposes that her name should be printed only in single quotes, "Tippi". The press mostly ignored this directive from the director, who felt that the single quotes added distinction and mystery to Hedren's name. In interviews, Hitchcock compared his newcomer not only to her predecessor Grace Kelly but also to what he referred to as such "ladylike", intelligent, and stylish stars of more glamorous eras as Irene Dunne and Jean Arthur. Later, Hedren indicated that she didn't want to be known as the next Grace Kelly but rather as the first Tippi Hedren.
Her appearance in The Birds brought a wealth of publicity. In a December 1962 Look magazine cover story "Hitchcock's New Grace Kelly", Alfred Hitchcock compared her to his star of To Catch a Thief andRear Window, saying, "'Tippi' has a faster tempo, city glibness, more humor. She displayed jaunty assuredness, pertness, an attractive throw of the head. And she memorized and read lines extraordinarily well and is sharper in expression."
Hedren said of Hitchcock, "He is subtle as a psychiatrist and never gives displaced encouragement." With the release of the film, she got a very tepid reception, the only exceptions being critic Bob Thomas ("Miss Hedren makes an impressive debut") and Time ("pleasant and ladylike, as Grace Kelly was.") Years after the film's release, she remembered the location work at Bodega Bay as dangerous and taxing, commenting, "For a first film, it was a lot of work."
For the final attack scene in a second-floor bedroom, filmed on a closed set at Universal-International Studios, Hedren had been assured by Hitchcock that mechanical birds would be used. Instead, Hedren endured five solid days of prop men, protected by thick leather gloves, flinging dozens of live gulls, ravens and crows at her (their beaks clamped shut with elastic bands). Cary Grant visited the set and told Hedren, "I think you're the bravest lady I've ever met." In a state of exhaustion, when one of the birds gouged her cheek and narrowly missed her eye, Hedren sat down on the set and began crying. A physician ordered a week's rest, which Hedren said at the time was riddled with "nightmares filled with flapping wings". The Birds brought her a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer.
Premiere magazine chose Hedren's character, Melanie Daniels in The Birds as one of "The 100 Greatest Characters of All Time". Marnie (1964), a psychological thriller from the novel by Winston Graham, was Hedren's second Hitchcock assignment, co-starring with Sean Connery. She recalls Marnie as the favorite of her two films for Hitchcock because of the central character, an emotionally battered young woman who travels from city to city assuming various guises in order to rob her employers. On release, the film was greeted by mixed reviews and indifferent box-office. Although Hitchcock continued to have Hedren in mind for several other films after Marnie, the actress declined any further work with him. Other directors who wanted to hire her had to go through Hitchcock, who would inform them she was unavailable. "It grew to be impossible. He was a very controlling type of person, and I guess I'm not about to be controlled", said Hedren. When Hedren tried to get out of her contract, she recalls Hitchcock telling her he'd ruin her career. "And he did: kept me under contract, kept paying me every week for almost two years to do nothing."
By the time Hitchcock sold her contract to Universal and she was fired for refusing work on one of its television shows, Hedren's career had stalled.
Charles Chaplin cast her as the sophisticated, brittle, cheated-upon wife of Marlon Brando in his shipboard comedy A Countess from Hong Kong (1967). She made more than 40 films between 1967 and 2006, including Pacific Heights, Citizen Ruth and I Heart Huckabees. More recently, she has appeared in episodes of The 4400 in 2006 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2006. She was a cast member of the night-time soap opera Fashion House in 2006. Hedren has also appeared in many independent films. In 2009, she co-starred with the late actress Brittany Murphy in the made-for-television movie Tribute.
Several documentaries have focused on Shambala Preserve, including the 30-minute Lions: Kings of the Serengeti (1995), narrated by Melanie Griffith, and Animal Planet's Life with Big Cats (1998), which won the Genesis Award for best documentary in 1999. The animals at the preserve served as the initial inspiration for the life's work of artist A. E. London, who started her career working for Hedren.
In 1981, Hedren produced Roar, an 11-year project that ended up costing $17 million and starring dozens of African lions. "This was probably one of the most dangerous films that Hollywood has ever seen", remarked the actress. "It's amazing no one was killed." During the production of Roar, Hedren, her husband at the time, Noel Marshall, and daughter Melanie were attacked by lions; Jan de Bont, the director of photography, was scalped. She later co-wrote the book Cats of Shambala (1985) about the experience. Roar made only $2 million worldwide. Hedren ended her marriage to Marshall a year later in 1982. The film directly led to the 1983 establishment of the non-profit Roar Foundation and Hedren's Shambala Preserve, located at the edge of the Mojave Desert in Acton, California between the Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley 40 miles (64 km) northeast ofLos Angeles. Shambala currently houses some 70 animals, including African lions, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions andbobcats. Hedren lives on the Shambala site and conducts monthly tours of the preserve for the public. Hedren took in and cared for Togar, a lion that belonged to Anton LaVey, after he was told by San Francisco officials that he couldn't keep a fully grown lion as a house pet. More recently, Shambala became the new home for Michael Jackson’s two Bengal tigers, Sabu and Thriller, after he decided to close his zoo at his Neverland Valley Ranch inLos Olivos, California. On December 3, 2007, Shambala Preserve made headlines when Chris Orr, a caretaker for the animals, was mauled by a tiger named Alexander.
Hedren met and married actor/producer Peter Griffith in 1952. Their daughter, actress Melanie Griffith, was born on August 9, 1957. They were divorced in 1961. She married her then-agent Noel Marshall, who later produced three of her films, in 1964; they divorced in 1982. She married businessman Luis Barrenechea in 1985 and divorced in 1995. Since 2002 she has been married to veterinarian Martin Dinnes.
Hedren has three grandchildren from daughter Griffith: musician Alexander Bauer, actress and model Dakota Johnson and Stella Banderas. Her son-in-law is actor Antonio Banderas.
In a Los Angeles Times article, Hedren was described as being a pivotal figure in the modern development of Vietnamese owned-nail salons in the United States. Drawn to the plight of refugees from theVietnam War, she began visiting a tent city at Hope Village, and in 1975, helped Vietnamese immigrants by having her manicurist teach them the skills of the trade and working with a local beauty school to help them find jobs.
At the end of shooting Mister Kingstreet's War (1973), she discovered that the big cats used in the production had no place to go and would likely languish in small cages. This prompted her to obtain a parcel of land on her own to establish a home with a natural setting for retired big cats. She named it Shambala and it exists to this day.
Mother of Melanie Griffith.
Presides over The Roar Foundation, an animal preserve outside of Los Angeles.
Director Alfred Hitchcock unsuccessfully pursued a relationship with her during the filming of Marnie (1964).
Is a vegetarian.
Lobbying for passage of Shambala Wild Animal Protection Act.
Participated in panel at University of Illinois on "Hitchcock, Women and Terror, " October 2001.
Her first television commercial was for a cigarette brand in the early 1950s. She learned to smoke for the commercial, because she felt viewers would know if she was faking it. Her smoking habit lasted for 15 years until her daughter, actress Melanie Griffith, then 10 years old, came to her after a school health lecture and begged her to stop.
30 January 2003, Received Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Alfred Hitchcock saw her in a 1962 commercial aired during the "Today" (1952) show and cast her in The Birds (1963). In the commercial for a diet drink, she is seen walking down a street and a man whistles at her slim, attractive figure, and she turns her head with an acknowledging smile. In the opening scene of The Birds (1963), the same thing happens as she walks toward the bird shop. This was an inside joke by Hitchcock.
Operates an exotic animal sanctuary which prompted her testimony in February 2005 in Riverside Superior Court. Hedren made a complaint regarding animal cruelty by a tiger rescuer and was told by U.S. Department of Agriculture that there were not enough inspectors to respond to her complaint. She eventually made room for a lion rather than have it go to the rescuer. She stated she felt like she was walking through a trash dump.
Her store owner father, Bernard, was Swedish and her school teacher mother, Dorathea, was German-Norwegian.
Has a sister named Patty Davis.
She met with Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville for the final time in London, England, in 1966, while she was filming Charles Chaplin's last film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1967). They took her to tea at Claridge's. The atmosphere was tense because she knew Hitchcock was upset that she had been cast in what was expected to be a big film, and he was unable to hide his bitterness.
Her performance as Melanie Daniels in The Birds (1963) is ranked #86 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
British neo-progressive band Landmarq have a song titled "Tippi Hedren" on their 1992 album "Solitary Witness".
One of her favorite sweet treats is Marnie's red velvet cake, which she named after her character from the film of the same name Marnie(1964). She graciously provided the recipe for this three-layer cake to a website called high-societea.com, which specializes in articles on tea and accompanying treats.
Requested director Alfred Hitchcock to give her the fur coat that she wore in The Birds (1963), and he graciously gave it to her but charged it to the production company. Eventually, she stopped wearing fur after she became an animal rights activist.
Found it touching when Sean Connery, her leading man from Marnie (1964), said on television that she was underrated while almost everyone in Hollywood was overrated.
Of all her films, Marnie (1964) continues to be her favorite film, because of the complex title character. This is even more telling, considering all the problems that reportedly took place during the filming, which spelled the end of her professional relationship with the film's director Alfred Hitchcock, as well as the mixed critical reception and the indifferent box office results upon the film's release.
Her husband, veterinarian Martin Dinnes, went to medical school with Dr. Robert Malloy, husband of her friend, Kim Novak.
[on Alfred Hitchcock] To be the object of some body's obsession is a really awful feeling when you can't return it.
[on 3/1/05, when asked which is her favorite of the Alfred Hitchcock films she starred in] I think Marnie (1964). They were both so different that it's kind of hard to figure out which, but The Birds (1963) was sort of a chase. All of the Hitchcock films have a mystery to them and that sort of thing, but the personality of Marnie was so intriguing. She was really - poor Marnie.
My advice to anyone contemplating acting as a profession is to be independently wealthy or have another vocation as a backup. [Melanie Griffith] and [Antonio Banderas] are well set, but most actors make a pittance.
For years, directors and producers came up to me and said they'd wanted me for a role, but [Alfred Hitchcock] wouldn't allow it. The worst was when I found out that François Truffaut had wanted to cast me. I'd never heard a word about it. That one hurt.
[on working with Sean Connery, her leading man in Marnie (1964)] He was just fabulous, a consummate actor with a great sense of humor. He was practicing his golf swing all the time - a rather profound golfer. We honored him on June 8, 2006, at the American Film Institute. They asked me to speak about him, which was great fun. It was one of the most wonderful evenings.
It is interesting because some of the critics who really panned [Marnie (1964)] when it came out see it again and it is like they are reviewing an entirely different movie. I think a lot of it was that all those years ago, people were not aware of how a trauma being inflicted upon a child can affect what happens to them as an adult if it isn't properly dealt with. I think there were multiple reasons why they didn't like it. For some reason, the painted backdrops really bothered people forty years ago - that was a big deal for some reason with the critics. I kept thinking "So what, it's a movie!"
[In 2006, when asked whether she can watch The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964) and separate herself from the experience of making them] I can do that now and it is quite a relief, actually. I can look at it and think "She did a good job!" There were years where I would see things and wish I could do them over but now I can just watch them.
They called and asked what I thought about a remake of The Birds (1963) and I thought: 'Why would you do that? Why?' I mean, can't we find new stories, new things to do?
When you do a love scene with someone in a movie, you have cameras and lights surrounding you. It's not very romantic, especially considering what I was going though. A lot of people have asked me whether or not I had a fling with Sean Connery during the filming of Marnie(1964), and the answer is no. Marnie was so frigid and cold that she screamed when a man came near her. If I had strong feelings for him in real life, it would have shown through my eyes in the film. I was too dedicated to acting. So, no, I don't really know what it's like to kiss Sean Connery.
Awe, Tippi Hedren is my one of my all time favorite Hitchcock Blonde's, the other being Kim Novak. To me I think that Tippi wasn't used to her best talents, she really didn't make all to many films, at least memorable ones. And after THE BIRDS & MARNIE there where few and far inbetween, But I still was totally smitten with her. And let's face it, if she never made any other films but THE BIRDS that would have been OK by me. I am at awe with the use of colors , moods and the fashions of a lot of Hitchcock films in my work, I like to incorporate them into modern day contemporary makeup looks for the film & television shows I do, You may not see it right away , but I love to give a little tribute to the beauty greats. Hitchcock films have created the term HITCHCOCK BLOND, a term I use to describe a look and feeling I am trying to achieve via makeup and hair. Like Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren is the queen of Hitchcock Blondes. Here is a list of films that I i think are some of her best, some are great films others are just for her performance alone.
1963 The Birds
1967 The Countess Of Hong Kong
1970 Satan's Harvest
1973 The Harrad Experiment
1982 Foxfire Light
1993 Teresa'a Tatoo
1996 Citizen Ruth
1998 i woke Up the Day I died
1982 Foxfire Light
1993 Teresa'a Tatoo
1996 Citizen Ruth
1998 i woke Up the Day I died