Tippi Hedren, 88, was an unknown model when she first started her career. She got her big Hollywood break after Alfred Hitchcock saw her in a TV commercial and instructed his staff to “find the girl."
10 Surprising Facts About Tippi Hedren
- Hitchcock signed her to a contract worth $500 per week and immediately started transforming her into an actress. He assigned her a voice coach and scheduled acting lessons with his wife, Alma.
Her screen test was the most expensive screen test on record, which cost $25,000 (around $200,000 today). She worked with actor Martin Balsam on three different scenes from classic Hitchcock films: To Catch a Thief, Rebecca, and Notorious.
Her debut role was as Melanie Daniels in The Birds. “One minute I was signing up for typing classes and the next I was thrust into the lead in an Alfred Hitchcock film!” Hedren said. She was then awarded "Best Newcomer" at the Golden Globes in 1963.
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Hitchcock was obsessed with her and he made sexual advances to her during the filming of Marnie. When she rejected him, Hitchcock flew into a rage and threatened to ruin her career, which in many ways, he did. He refused to submit her for an Oscar nomination and told everyone who wanted to work with her that “she’s not available."
Hitchcock finally sold the rights to Hedren's contract in 1966. Freed from his control, she continued to work in TV and film with appearances in The Bold and the Beautiful, Murder She Wrote, Hart to Hart, Cougar Town, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
After filming Mister Kingstreet's War, she bought a piece of land in Southern California to establish a home for retired big cats called the Shambala Preserve. After filming Roar in Africa in 1981, Hedren found a new passion and has since devoted much of her time to animal rights awareness and wildlife conservation charities.
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Her father, Bernard Hedren, was a store owner and her mother, Dorathea Eckhardt, was a school teacher.
Hedren has been married three times. Her husbands include: Peter Griffith (1952-1961), Noel Marshall (1964-1982), and Luis Barrenecha (1985-1995). She has one daughter, actress Melanie Griffith.
Hedren's first commercial was for a cigarette brand and she learned to smoke because she thought viewers would know if she was faking it. She continued to smoke until 10-year-old Melanie begged her to stop.
Hedren received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 30, 2003.
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