For years, it has been known that Alfred Hitchcock sexually harassed and was physically and verbally abusive to actress Tippi Hedren.
Now the Minnesota-born actress, mother of Melanie Griffith, is writing about her experiences filming The Birds and Marnie in her new memoir, Tippi.
It's no secret that Hitchcock was notorious for his intensity toward the women who starred in his flicks. While the word "muse" is frequently used, what that actually entailed is rarely explored. According to Hedren, Hitchcock was physically and mentally abusive, stalking her and eventually sexually assaulting her.
According to a New York Times article Hitchcock, who offered Hedren a contract after spotting her in a weight-loss commercial, immediately became obsessive on set.
"Before filming even began, the director warned Hedren’s castmates, particularly the handsome Rod Taylor, not to socialize with or 'touch the Girl,'” the article states.
Soon, Hitchcock was verbally harassing Hedren, talking about his onset erections while filming To Catch a Thief.
Next, he tried to assault her in a limo.
“It was an awful, awful moment,” she writes. “... Sexual harassment and stalking were terms that didn’t exist [in the '60s]." Another concern: “Which one of us was more valuable to the studio, him or me?”
Her mental health was tested when, before the infamous bird assault scene, Hedren was told they would be using fake birds. Instead, live animals were hurled at her face. Following a week of torture/filming, Hedren reports that she began blacking out and having nightmares.
The Birds went on to be a hit, and a year later, still under contract, the actress began filming Marnie with the director. Their professional relationship worsened. According to the New York Post:
"On the set of that movie, Hedren says the director installed a secret door that connected his office with her dressing room and had the makeup department create a life mask of her face — not as a prop for the movie, but just for him to own."
During filmmaking, Hedren says, Hitchcock sexually assaulted her.
"It was sexual, it was perverse," she writes. "The harder I fought him, the more aggressive he became."
Though she was under contract, she never worked with Hitchcock again. She did, however, manage to make 50-some movies after her horrible experience with the revered director.
“I’ve made it my mission ever since to see to it that while Hitchcock may have ruined my career,” Hedren writes, “I never gave him the power to ruin my life.”
Tippi comes out tomorrow, November 1.
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