Tippi Hedren, an unknown commercial actor until Alfred Hitchcock cast her in The Birds, claims the director sexually assaulted her and ruined her career when she wouldn’t give it up in her new memoir, Tipi: A Memoir. Brace yourselves, this is gross as hell.
The legendary director’s sadistic obsession with the regal blonde was as twisted and sinister as the plot of any his classic suspense movies, including Psycho and Rebecca. Hitchcock made her a star in his 1963 masterpiece, The Birds, quickly followed by the simmering, psycho-sexual drama, Marnie. He then ruined her career after warning the helpless beauty if she didn’t succumb to him, he’d deprive her of the means to support her elderly parents and little girl, Melanie.
That was the least gross part. This part is next level gross.
He ordered a mask made of Hedren’s face, though there was no call for it in the movie. Her dressing room was huge and lavish and located next door to Hitchock’s office. He could come and go unseen through a back door. Whenever he caught her alone, ‘he’d find some way to express his obsession with me, as if I owed it to him to reciprocate somehow’, she writes. The day came when he told her, ‘I love you’. She managed another getaway. Hedren writes that she couldn’t help but internalize the relentless sexual menace.
Then here’s the part that would make Donald Trump and Bill Clinton proud.
Hitchcock’s increasing hostility came to a climax when he summoned the increasingly frail Hedren to his office. ‘I’ve never gone into detail about this, and I never will. I’ll simply say that he suddenly grabbed me and put his hands on me,’ she writes. ‘It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly.’ The harder she fought, the more aggressive he became. Then came the threats. She had elderly parents to support and a young daughter, she couldn’t afford to say no to him he warned her. ‘I’ll ruin your career.’ And he did. Hitchcock blocked Universal when it attempted to submit her performance for an Academy Award. He trashed her acting ability around town. Still, she got attractive offers, including a starring role Farenheit 451, written by Francois Truffaut. Hitchcock had the power to refuse her any opportunity for the length of her contract. Held hostage by his vengeance for two years, her career withered.
All you really have to do is watch maybe two or three Alfred Hitchcock movies to think, “wow, this dude really hates women”. Factor in that he was a powerful, old, fat white guy in one of the most sexist industries on the planet and still couldn’t get laid, then you probably realize all of this is true. But in his defense, at least he was a sexual predator who made great movies. I’m looking at you, Michael Bay.