Celebrity Then And Now
Tippi Hedren
Name: Tippi Hedren
Birthdate: January 19, 1930
Famous Years: 1963-Present
Currently Known For: Semi-Retired Actress
Networth: $20 MillionFamous For: Citizen Ruth, I Heart Huckabees, The Birds
Tippi Hedren
Name Tippi Hedren
Birthdate January 19, 1930
Famous Years 1963-Present
Currently Known For Semi-Retired Actress
Networth $20 Million
Famous For Citizen Ruth, I Heart Huckabees, The Birds

There are certain films that mean more to a single genre than almost all of the others; and in the horror/suspense world, “The Birds” was one of those films. Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense and making audiences uncomfortable, and his film about a mass of birds attacking people brought out a lot of fears that people never knew they had. The director needed the perfect actress to star in the main role of the film, and he discovered Tippi Hedren to play that role, which began what’s been a long career in show business.

Prior to becoming famous, Hedren was born in New Ulm, Minnesota on January 19, 1930.as Nathalie Hedren, and went by her nickname of Tippi from a very young age. Hedren had spent much of her youth living in Minnesota, but moved out to California with her family when she was a teenager as she started a career in fashion modeling. Eventually, Hedren would make her way back east to New York City where she focused solely on modeling without giving acting much of a thought.

Following a divorce from her first husband Peter Griffith, Hedren went back to the west coast, taking her daughter along with her. That daughter would end up being famous on her own, as you’re probably familiar with Melanie Griffith. Looking for work, Hedren had started to appear in commercials, and caught a huge break when Hitchcock was one of the people who saw her in advertisements and decided to bring her in for a screen test.

After those tests proved to be successful, Hedren landed her first role as a movie star, and “The Birds” would debut in 1963. For some actresses that are quickly brought in from modeling to the big screen, they don’t end up catching on due to a lack of training, but Hitchcock made sure that Hedren knew the ins and outs. This would help her tremendously following her debut role, as she continued to land more work.

Her next project would be another collaboration with Hitchcock, this time landing the lead role in 1964’s “Marnie”. Following the film, however, Hedren and Hitchcock would no longer work together. Their personalities had begun to clash and Hedren wanted to distance herself from the director. “I had to get out of there,” she said. “I was dealing with one of the most powerful men in motion pictures and it was difficult, embarrassing and insulting. He said, ‘If you leave, I’ll ruin your career.’ And he did.”

Hedren said that Hitchcock had an obsession with her, and that wanting to get away from him had her sort of blacklisted to the point where she wasn’t receiving significant roles. “To be the object of someone’s obsession is horrible. It was a form of stalking,” she said. “He had my handwriting analyzed, he had me followed and it was as if I was being engulfed by him.”

After a few years of waiting for a role, Hedren would appear in the 1967 film “A Countess from Hong Kong” in which she worked with Charlie Chaplin on his last film. It wasn’t a significant role, but it was a change for Hedren to revive her career. Following the film, Hedren would continue to get more consistent work, starring in films in the early 1970s such as “Tiger by the Tail”, “Satan’s Harvest” and “The Harrad Experiment”.

The true revival for Hedren’s career came in the 1980s, when she starred in the films “Roar” and “Foxfire Light”, and became a regular on television that would result in even more work in the 1990s. Some of her more notable roles during this time include “Citizen Ruth” and “Break Up”, and then in the new millennium had a chance to work with director David O. Russell in the film “I Heart Huckabees”.

At 88 years old, Hedren has a very long resume behind her, and hasn’t said that she’s completely retired from acting. However, it’s been a few years since we’ve seen her in a film, with the last one coming in 2015 with “The Ghost and the Whale”, following her performances in “Free Samples” and “Return to Babylon”. The same can be said for her television career, as her last role came from playing herself in a 2013 episode of “Cougar Town” following a guest appearance the prior year on “Raising Hope”.

Hedren has kept herself busy away from acting, however. Recently, she released an autobiography that detailed her lengthy acting career. On top of that, she went back into modeling, going to work for Gucci and even appearing in one of their commercials.

Needless to say it’s been a great career for someone that never really thought she’d be in the role she was in. “I had no such high hopes,” when talking about becoming a film star. “I was never interested in being an actress.” But, as it were, “The (modeling) bookings were waning, and I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to change my life,’” she said. “But along with the advent of the television came the television commercials. So my modeling career went into doing commercials.” It goes to show you can’t get by in Hollywood without at least a little bit of luck.