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Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 avian horror classic The Birds, alleges in her new memoir, Tippi, that the late Oscar-nominated director sexually assaulted her, according to excerpts obtained by the New York Post.
On one particular occasion, Hedren claims, Hitchcock came into her dressing room on the set of Marnie and “put his hands on me. It was sexual, it was perverse. The harder I fought him, the more aggressive he became.”
Hedren, a 31-year-old actress living in New York at the time, was recently divorced from adman Peter Griffith when Hitchcock saw her in a meal-replacement shake ad and offered her a five-year movie deal, which included a starring turn in The Birds.
Hedren packed up and moved west to Los Angeles with daughter Melanie Griffith. Her excitement soon soured, however, as Hedren recalls Hitchcock turning “petulant” when he saw her talking to other men. The actress remembered the filmmaker shooting her an “expressionless, unwavering stare … even if he was talking to a group of people on the other side of the soundstage.”
The Birds made Hedren a star, and the actress won the Golden Globe for most promising newcomer in 1963.
Despite her unease around Hitchcock, Hedren reteamed with the director the next year for Marnie. During the film’s production, Hedren claims that Hitchcock had a door installed to connect his office to Hedren’s dressing room. She also said he requested a mask of her face be made by the makeup department for his own personal use.
After Marnie concluded its production, Hedren never worked on another Hitchcock film. The director died in 1980, and the actress’ experiences with Hitchcock became the subject of the 2012 Emmy-nominated HBO movie The Girl.
Tippi is set for release on Tuesday.
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