Tippi Hedren: Hitchcock Cost Me An Oscar Nomination

Categories: Film

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At Cinema Village last night, Tippi Hedren--star of Hitchcock's The Birds and Marnie (the 1964 psychological drama in which she was a frigid klepto)--made the above allegation.

After a showing of The Birds, Tippi told interviewer Robert Milazzo, "Apparently I was up for a nomination for Marnie, and Hitchcock killed it."

Tippi said that when she tired of Hitch's increasingly obsessive possessiveness, she wanted out of any dealings with him, and in return, he threatened to destroy her career, which included kibboshing the nomination.

He also kept her under contract for two more years so she couldn't work. Tippi says she later found out that Truffaut had wanted her for Fahrenheit 451, and she was heartbroken about the missed opportunity.


Her revelations about The Birds:

*She'd been promised that she'd work with mechanical birds. That was a lie. They threw live birds at her. Cary Grant stopped by the set once and told Tippi, "I think you're the bravest woman I've ever met." Said she last night, "I don't know if that was the right adjective for it."

*She asked Hitchcock why her character, Melanie Daniels, would go up the stairs alone, knowing about the bird problem. His reply: "Because I tell you to."

*After the contract was up, she landed a part in Charles Chaplin's last film, A Countess From Hong Kong, opposite Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. But when she got to the set, she found out her part was tiny. "Why didn't you tell me it was a cameo?" she asked Chaplin. His reply: "Because I was afraid you wouldn't come."

As Milazzo pointed out, powerful men withholding info from poor Tippi seems to be a recurring theme.

Men are not only dogs, they're for the birds!

But Tippi's still swanlike, even with all her lions.

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17 comments
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Patrickwalsh100
Patrickwalsh100

Great to see Tippi on Irish TV last night.What a scene that birds scene was.Her appearancemade one late 50's male very happy.  

Melinda9
Melinda9

Did AH dismiss all the actors he worked with with 'he/she did as they were told'? Or just certain ones.Poor Tippi - what a nightmare.. I remember Bill Mumy told a story on one of those child actor get-togethers about working with AH. AH told him - "If you don't stop moving about, I'm going to get a nail and nail your feet to your mark, and the blood will coming pouring out like milk ... so stop moving!" He was 7 years old.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

To give Ms. Hedren her due, she was very good in an even more demanding medium, as the mother of an adult abused child on "The Bold & the Beautiful" a few years back.

At one time, Hitchcock wanted her to do his favorite play, "Mary Rose," a ghost story  by the playwright J.M. Barrie, but Universal wouldn't let him do it after "Marnie.." However, the fragile, little-girl-lost quality of Hedren's would have been just right for Mary Rose, who vanishes and then comes back years later looking for her toddler son, now an adult. A script exists, with many Hitchcock notations, some quite extensive and poignant.

CMG
CMG

I find the Chaplin quote kind of adorable.  

She was great in Marnie but it is a shame her best-known roles are a bit sullied because of her relationship with Hitch, and these comments may just scratch the surface.  

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Jonster, I bow to no one in my admiration for Miss Hedren. She has an absolutely unique quality and wears clothes beautifully.. But as far as acting goes, she IS a bit, hmmmmm, artificial. Hitchcock should not have tried pushing her into the Grace Kelly mold. Kim Novak and Barbara Harris were wonderful in "Vertigo" and "Family Plot," respectively," but Hitchcock refused to complement them, even dismissing Novak to Francois Truffaut who gently chided him, "You know, the people who like the film like Kim Novak very much." When Truffaut asked if there was a reason why Novak's character "Judy" didn't wear a bra, Hitch brightened and said, "Oh, yes! She's very proud of the fact!" Asked if it weren't true that he admired Harris' verbal dexterity in "Family Plot," Hitch said, "Let's put it this way: she did as she was told."

Yes, he was a strange man, but he made a lot of good films.

Jonster
Jonster

Hey there, yeah, you're probably right about her acting ability.  She was under enormous pressure.  Imagine being plucked from an advertisement and being given a starring role in a Hitchcock film.  I thought she did better in the Birds than in Marnie but I guess we'll never know what accolades her future held when it came to film thanks to old "Build 'em up then tear 'em down" Hitchcock.  Too bad he was such a prick.  There was something regal about her.  Still is.  But maybe you're right.  Maybe things worked out the way they were supposed to with her career, now cast in amber, freezing her at her prime.

Musto
Musto

By the way, she got Marnie only after Princess Grace couldn't do it. Last night, Tippi said, "I wondered why the principality of Monaco was allowing their princess to play a liar and a cheat--and of corse they didn't." 

anonTWO
anonTWO

most people don't get along with their bosses and put up with a lot of shit on their jobs and we do not become movie icons for our sufferings.Hedren has a right to complain but it's pretty obvious to anyone how has seen a Hitchcock film that he was a freak and a pervert.

anonTWO
anonTWO

Hedren made but two films with Hitchcock, had her career derailed by the man and was denied an Oscar nom by him but she has achieved iconic status for those two films,IMO.I wouldn't say it was worth the abuse but put it this way MOST people don't get along with their bosses!

Lala
Lala

Would mechanical birds flying into your face really have been any better?

Jonster
Jonster

Wow, Tippi is one of my absolutely favorite movie stars.  It is hard to imagine the extent of Hitchcock's treachery and perversion.  Miss Hedren has too much class to come right out and say what Hitchcock did to her, besides destroying her career going forward after Marnie.  But from what I understand, as with Grace Kelly, Hitchcock considered her the perfect woman, his own invention, an icy, intelligent blonde with sex appeal.  She walked through a minefield of Hitch's creepy sexual innuendo, but eventually had to cut him down when he let her know loud and clear what he expected of her, as his protege.  She has never revealed what was said in that meeting that caused her to flee, but she said it was revolting and disgusting.  Tippi Hedren had all the promise, but Hitch's ego wanted to put her right back where he found her, modeling for magazines.  He was a genius and a bastard.  I heard he even mailed young Melanie Griffith a coffin with her mother's photo in it.  PS - it's hard to believe that Melanie is Tippi's daughter.  They're so different.

latenitebump
latenitebump

and just think: while filming the movie you have to avoid bird crap falling on your head or arm the whole entire time.

this chick makes real birds look bad.

Musto
Musto

Also, her male costars in The Birds and Marnie were instructed by Hitchcock, "Do not touch the girl" (meaning offscreen).

CMG
CMG

Did Rod Taylor have a reputation?  I know Sean did and the role must have done a number on him.  

Musto
Musto

She also said that the only time she saw Hitchcock flustered was when the birds were supposed to come flying out of the chimney. They were sent out of there, but they wouldn't fly, instead just calmly perching around. Tippi and the other actors had to film the scene without birds, which were drawn in later.

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