Nathalie Kay "Tippi" Hedren (born January 19, 1930 in New Ulm, Minnesota) is an American actor, animal rights activist and former fashion model.
A successful fashion model in her twenties, Hedren became an actor after she was discovered by director Alfred Hitchcock while appearing on a television commercial in 1961, receiving world recognition for her work in two of his films, the suspense-thriller The Birds (1963), and the psychological drama Marnie in 1964.
Her animal rescue activism began in 1969 while she was shooting two films in Africa and was introduced to the plight of African lions, and Hedren became famous for, in an attempt to raise awareness for wildlife, spending nearly eleven years cohabiting with lions alongside her family, an experience that was recollected in the 1981 film Roar.
Besides her animal-rights activism, she also took an interest in the plight of the Vietnamese refugees who arrived in the United States after the end of The Vietnam War. While meeting with some Vietnamese women in California, she noticed they were interested in her manicured nails. Realizing that these women needed a marketable trade to help support their families in an unfamiliar new country, Hedren set up a system to put Vietnamese women through beauty-school training with a focus on nails. This kickstarted a process by which most nail salons in the U.S. are run by Vietnamese families.
Films with pages on TV Tropes:
- The Birds (1963)
- Marnie (1964)
- A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
- Roar (1981)
- Pacific Heights (1990)
- Julie and Jack (2003)
- I Heart Huckabees (2004)
TV series with pages on TV Tropes:
- The New Batman Adventures (1998, episode "Mean Seasons", voice)
- The Nightmare Room (2001, episode "Fear Games")
- CSI (2008, episode "Young Man with a Horn")
Tropes relating to her work:
- Actor Allusion:
- In her first scene in The Birds, as Melanie is walking down the street, a kid wolf whistles at her. This references a commercial that Alfred Hitchcock saw her in, and put her under contract as a result.
- She stars in an episode of Chicago Hope that nods to her collaboration with Hitchcock. She plays a character called Alfreda Perkins, named after Hitchcock and Anthony Perkins (the episode is also titled "Psychodrama").
- Approval of God: She gave her blessing to Sienna Miller, who portrayed her in the HBO miniseries The Girl.
- Awesome, Dear Boy: Her reason for starring in The Bold and the Beautiful.
- Christmas Cake: She was 31 when she became a star, but the studio thought that was a bit old for a Hollywood leading lady, so they lied to say she was 28. There was confusion about her birth date for years afterwards.
- Creator Backlash: She regretted starring in the sequel to The Birds, which she only did for the money."It's absolutely horrible. It embarrasses me greatly."
- Creator Breakdown: On the set of The Birds for the scene where Melanie goes upstairs and gets attacked by a flock in the attic, Tippi arrived on set thinking they would be using mechanical birds, only to discover live ones in cages. She spent a week getting birds thrown at her and tied to her clothes, which stressed her out so much the studio doctor ordered a week's bed rest. Hitchcock tried to protest, and the doctor responded "what are you trying to do? Kill her?", so it was granted. Tippi later called it "the worst week of my life".
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Her father started calling her Tippi (an affectionate Swedish nickname) soon after her birth, and it's the name she's always answered to. Alfred Hitchcock seized on the unusual name by putting quotation marks around "Tippi" in the credits of his two films with her, feeling they added a certain mystique to the name.
- Doing It for the Art: The film Roar took five years to finish, because of its large cast of wild animals. Tippi however was determined to see the film made, and her experiences on it inspired her to create a foundation to look after said animals.
- Fake Shemp: Thanks to the above reasons, for the scene where Mitch carries the catatonic Melanie downstairs after the bird attack, a body double is used.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: A glamorous charismatic image helped by the blonde hair.
- I Am Not Spock: Her best known role is as Melanie Daniels in The Birds.
- Hostility on the Set: She eventually came out and said that Alfred Hitchcock made her experiences on The Birds and Marnie quite miserable; he was incredibly possessive and hired two detectives to stalk her when she left the set. He also tried to control everything from what clothes she wore to what food she ate. Rod Taylor claimed he was ordered by Hitchcock to not touch her "after I've called 'Cut!'", and her own daughter wasn't even allowed to visit her. He also forcibly tried to kiss her and asked her to touch him inappropriately. Eventually he told her he wanted her to be The Mistress to him. When she finally turned him down, he tried to destroy her career out of spite by keeping her under contract for two years until the hype around her had died out.
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: Of the two films she's most famous for, The Birds is considered the best. Tippi however preferred Marnie.
- Money, Dear Boy: From the 70s onwards, she took any role for the paycheck in order to support her animal foundation.
- Real-Life Relative: Starred with her daughter Melanie Griffith in Roar. She also cameo'd in Melanie's film Pacific Heights. They guest-starred together on Raising Hope too.
- Spiritual Successor:
- What Could Have Been:
- If her working relationship with Alfred Hitchcock hadn't taken such a downturn in Marnie, who knows what more of his projects she could have starred in.
- She signed on to do an American Civil War drama called Five Against Kansas with Farley Granger, but the project got cancelled.