This Day in Horror: Happy Birthday Tippi Hedren

Born on this day in 1930: actress Tippi Hedren

Hedren started her career as a successful model. She was never really interested in acting because she knew how hard it was to succeed. Then Alfred Hitchcock came in and changed everything.

Hitchcock had seen Hedren in a TV commercial and contacted her agent. During their first meetings, Hitchcock never mentioned the role he was considering her for, so Hedren assumed it was for a role in his TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She was stunned to learn that she was wanted for the lead in The Birds. It was Hedren’s first role, and the executives at Universal, who did not want a newcomer in the role, were stunned at Hedren’s performance.

One of the most notorious stories from The Birds was in shooting the final bird attack scene. Hedren was expecting mechanical birds to “attack” her. Instead, prop masters threw hundreds of live birds at her. The scene took five days to film, and at one point a bird gouged her cheek, narrowly missing her eye. She sat down and cried. 

After The Birds, Hedren took the lead in Hitchcock’s next film, Marnie. It was their second and last collaboration. She found him to be too possessive and too demanding to work with again. Hedren has worked consistently since then, but devotes most of her time and money to the Shambala Preserve, a preserve she founded in the 1980s to rescue and care for lions, tigers and other exotic felines.



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