Tippi Hedren

From Academic Kids

Tippi Hedren (born January 19, 1931 in New Ulm, Minnesota) is an American actress. She was discovered by Alfred Hitchcock who saw her while she was acting in a commercial. He was looking for an actress who looked like Grace Kelly. Hedren appeared in The Birds and Marnie for Hitchcock.

Tippi Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith. Active in animal causes, she was sometimes billed as 'Tippi' Hedren in her early acting career.


Early life

Hedren was born of a Swedish father and a German-Norwegian mother. Her father gave her the moniker "Tippi" even though her birth name is Nathalie Hedren. "My father thought Nathalie was a little bit much for a brand new baby," Hedren remembered at a 2004 screening of The Birds. Tippi comes from the Swedish nickname "Tupsa," or "sweetheart."

As a teenager, Hedren took part in department store fashion shows. Her parents relocated to California while she was still a student in high school. As soon as she had her 18th birthday, she bought a ticket to New York and started her professional modeling career. Also in New York, she met her first husband, Peter Griffith. 1

The Birds in retrospect

At a packed house in Lancaster, California's Antelope Valley Independent Film Festival Cinema Series screening of The Birds on September 28, 2004, Hedren recounted her big acting break from Hitchcock - and her acting career - to a spellbound audience for almost an hour. "I said, 'Well, who is this person? Who is interested?' And he just dodged the question. Nobody would tell me who it was." Of course, it was the noted director Hitchcock who desired her after viewing a few snippets of Hedren's work.

She remembered the work (on location at Bodega Bay) as being dangerous and taxing. During the filming of the last attack scene,Hedren became exhausted to the point of sitting down on the middle of the set and crying. A week's rest was ordered by a doctor at that time of completing the film. "For a first film, it was a lot of work," Hedren mused. 2

Hedren and Hitchcock

Strained by the director's controlling manner, Hedren declined further work with Hitchcock after Marnie. "It grew to be impossible. He was a very controlling type of person, and I guess I'm not about to be controlled." Ending their professional relationship on a sour note, she remarked "He said, 'Well, I'll ruin your career.' And he did." Producers who wished to hire Hedren for acting roles had to go through Hitchcock, who would inform them that "she isn't available." 3

Her career after Hitchcock and Shambala Preserve

Hedren's acting career didn't end with Hitchcock's association with her work, however. She worked on Charlie Chaplin's last film in an acting role A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) and also produced her own film, Roar, which was a grueling, five year project 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,, both Hedren and her husband at the time, Noel Marshall, were attacked by lions in filming. Jan de Bont, the director of photography, was scalped in the film's making.

Roar directly led to the establishment of Hedren's Shambala Preserve, located in Acton, California between the Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley just north of Los Angeles. Shambala, an animal rescue preserve, houses (and has housed) the animals that appeared in Roar. Hedren lives onsite, and conducts monthly tours of Shambala for the public. The preserve also houses many birds, according to Hedren. When asked about this point by an audience member, she replied, "I love birds. No, I like 'em. I do. I hate to tell you that. It spoils the whole story (concerning The Birds.)" 4


Tippi Hedren has been married four times:



  • 1 Vroman, Lavender. Tippi Hedren airs out her early acting days, wildlife preservation, Antelope Valley Press, September 30, 2004, page A6.
  • 2 op cit, page A1 and A6.
  • 3 op cit, page A6.
  • 4 Ibid.

External links

eo:Tippi HEDREN fr:Tippi Hedren sv:Tippi Hedren


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