Old Hollywood is known for its glitz, glamor and many of the most culturally representative films ever produced in the United States. However, it’s no longer a secret that much of this extravagance was a mask to hide a much darker reality. There were a lot of things wrong with classic Hollywood, especially the way it treated its famous actors. One of the women who had the worst was Tippi Hedren, with an incidence of on-set abuse and the way she handled it earned her major respect from another actor.
Tippi Hedren was a major ‘Old Hollywood’ star
Tippi Hedren at the Valkyrie Awards | Greg Doherty/Getty Images for WAV
Hedren was one of the defining stars of 1960s Hollywood. Starting out as a successful model, she made the leap to acting in 1961. Although she was scouted because of a commercial and having no formal training formal, she began to act like a natural. With her classic beauty and genuine talent, she has starred in several major films, such as Marnie, A Countess from Hong Kong and Tiger by the Tail.
Cary Grant was impressed with Hedren’s determination to meet the demands of filming ‘The Birds’
▶” src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/lCxR7dlavwg?feature=oembed” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; automatic reading; clipboard-write; encrypted media; gyroscope; picture in picture” allow full screen >
If Tippi Hedren has worked for many years in many roles, her most famous work is undoubtedly the films she made with Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock was the man who initially spotted her in the commercial she was in, offering her a contract without knowing anything about her. He was also the one who gave her some acting training, having her recreate scenes from his past films in a crash course before the film he first signed her for.
That movie was, of course, The Birds. Arguably one of Hitchcock and Hedren’s most iconic films, it was by all accounts an absolute nightmare to film. As one would suspect from the start of their relationship, Hitchcock wasn’t just interested in Hedren for the talent he saw in her through the screen. According to Hedren and several others, he was in love with the actor, making many unwanted advances on him throughout the filming of The Birds and Marnie. It eventually turned into full-fledged stalking and damage to her career when she turned him down.
On top of the off-screen troubles the director gave him, filming with him wasn’t any better. Given that The Birds is a movie about killer bird attacks, it’s no surprise that Hedren (playing the lead role) is attacked by birds. One would assume that a director who cared about the safety of his actors wouldn’t set up a real attack just to film him, but Hitchock wasn’t like most directors.
While filming the infamous attic scene near the middle of the film, Hedren’s character is swarmed by tons of birds and pecked everywhere. Initially, she was told that the birds would be props attached to her to make them look like they were swarming her. However, as BuzzFeed wrote in one of their articles, Hitchcock had other plans.
Due to “mechanical problems”, he decided that live birds would work just as well. In the end, real birds were attached to Hedren, while others were simply thrown at her throughout the scene. You don’t have to be an ornithologist to know that the birds weren’t happy about it all, with Hedren taking the brunt of their anger throughout the very stressful scene.
It just so happens that actor Cary Grant was visiting the set the day they shot that part of the movie. Seeing the conditions Hedren worked in, the To Catch a Thief actor was shocked. That said, he was also impressed, calling Hedren “the bravest woman I’ve ever seen” for pulling off the stunt.
Tippi Hedren’s family still have harsh words for the director who terrorized her
▶” src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/WRIRY99yfN4?feature=oembed” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; automatic reading; clipboard-write; encrypted media; gyroscope; picture in picture” allow full screen >
Alfred Hitchcock’s treatment of Tippi Hedren and other women has been discussed at length by many sources. Hedren herself has exposed many incidents between them. However, another voice in the conversation happens to be her granddaughter – none other than Fifty Shades actor Dakota Johnson.
Johnson has made his position on the matter clear, once saying, “It is completely unacceptable for people in positions of power to exercise that power over someone in a position of weakness, regardless of industry.”
How to get help: In the United States, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788.
RELATED: An Alfred Hitchcock Movie Didn’t Get Made Because of Walt Disney