When Alfred Hitchcock first saw Nathalie Hedren in a 1961 commercial for a diet drink called Sego, he immediately sensed that the young model could be the next Grace Kelly.
The famous director offered the budding star, now known as Tippi Hedren, a seven-year contract. But despite her debut in The Birds in 1963, her relationship with Hitchcock soured.
“I never wanted to be an actress,” the 91-year-old recently told Closer Weekly. “I was fortunate that he saw the commercial. It had a lot to do with shaping my career, and having him as my drama coach was perfect.”
Hedren claimed that Hitchcock became dominant because he prepared her to be a star. She described how despite being a famous “artist”, Hitchcock also had a “dark side that was really terrible”.
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“Every time I talked to a male member of the cast or crew, the next exchange with Hitchcock would be cold,” the actress recalls.
“If he’s talking to a group of people on the other side of the stage, his eyes will be on me,” she added.
According to the director, Hitchcock’s behavior towards Hedren worsened. He allegedly followed Hedren, past her house, and at one point rushed to kiss her in a limousine, causing her to flee.
After the 1964 movie Marnie, Hedren refused to work with Hitchcock again, co-executing. As punishment, their contract bound her, preventing her from working with anyone else for two years.
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“It ruined my career, but it didn’t ruin my life,” Hedren said.
But Hedren has continued to act as an ardent advocate for animal rights. In 1983, she founded the Roar Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the Shambhala Preserve in California.
According to the Shambala website, the big cats have been confiscated by authorities, such as California Fish and Game, the US Department of Agriculture, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and the Humane Society of the United States, from roadside zoos. and ordinary citizens. The animals are then provided with appropriate nutritional, medical and emotional care as they live their “life with care, understanding and dignity”.
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In 2020, Hedren told Fox News that her passion for helping felines in need has helped her keep going, especially during tough times.
“I simply look out my windows… [and admire] She said at that time the beauty of the Shambhala reserve. “There is nothing as beautiful as the view from my dining room window of Mona – a gorgeous Bengal tiger – walking through her compound.”
“We can’t do our usual rounds here in the reserve,” Hedren explained. “This has put a financial strain on us, as all these beautiful residents here still have to eat and get cared for. I know how difficult things are for everyone at the moment, but [we] We would highly appreciate any support.”
In 2017, Hedren released her memoir “Tippi”, in which she described her rise to stardom. That year, she told Fox News that her complicated relationship with Hitchcock was a “sad case”. He died in 1980 at the age of eighty.
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“There’s really nothing else to talk about,” she explained. “It was…a sad situation. It was a great, wonderful time. I had never done a movie and I was – I think he saw a commercial I did – and… he found out who I was and where I was and then he quickly put me under contract. Then he found out that I I’m going to be in a big movie It was unbelievable. He and his wife Alma were my drama coaches. He was so cool. And then he pulled out that… the card.”
“I was not a young woman who fell from a vegetable truck,” she continued. “I was sad that he did this, you know, because he decided to pull that card. And I said, ‘I’m not interested in this.’ I will not fall into it. I kept following him and then I said, ‘I want to get out of the contract.’ He said, ‘Well, you can’t. You have your daughter to take care of, your parents are growing up.” And I said, “You know, they don’t want me to do something I’m not interested in. I want to get out of the contract.”
He said, “I will ruin your career.” He did so. He kept me under contract and wouldn’t let me work. It was just one of those Hollywood nightmares… it was so unnecessary. That’s what was so bad about this. It was… just a sad situation. Just sad. But anyway – life goes on! “
Despite the setback she endured after working with Hitchcock, the star insisted that she “had a wonderful life”.
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“I look at my life and think how lucky I am to have had the opportunities that I had,” she said. “My parents were really great with my sister and me, and they taught us a lot about life and how to hold our heads high. If something happens and we don’t like it, there is a reason for it. You can tell if the situation is not good. So get out of it!”
“I guess what I was really trying to get through is, if a door opens for you and you like what you see on the other side, get through,” she said. “If you don’t like what you see on the other side of that door, shut it! I’ve gone through many of these doors and closed a lot of them.”