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Tippi Hedren opens up about Alfred Hitchcock

Larry King NowNov 28 '16

Iconic actress Tippi Hedren openly discusses her difficult relationship with famed director Alfred Hitchcock, explaining to Larry why she was forced to cut ties with "Hitch" after acting in his film 'Marnie.'

Larry King: What took you into Hollywood?

Tippi Hedren: A commercial that I had done.

Larry King: Which was?

Tippi Hedren: Sego. It was filmed- it’s a diet drink and I didn’t weigh anymore than I do now. But it wasn’t just holding up a product and saying, ‘here, buy this.’ It was a storyline where I’m walking down the street and this little boy whistles at me. And I turn and look at him and smile, and of course I’m slim and all that, you know. Anyways, that was the commercial that Alfred Hitchcock saw, and he said to his people at Universal, ‘find the girl.’ That’s what I became known as over there, ‘the girl.’

Larry King: And how did you feel being brought to Hollywood by so famous a man?

Tippi Hedren: Well, I had already – I had been living in New York with my daughter Melanie. And after ten years of modeling it kind of goes away you know, and I’m thinking, ‘what am I going to do now?’ So I thought, ‘let’s move back to California.’ So Melanie and I packed up the dog and the cat and the bunny and we moved back to California. And I rented an expensive home in Brentwood and I’m thinking, ‘what am I going to do now?’ Because I – nothing really was happening financially. And on Friday the 13th of October 1961 I received a phone call asking if I was the girl in the Sego commercial. I said, ‘why do you want to know?’ They said, ‘well…’

Larry King: Do you devote a lot of time in the book, I can’t wait to read this…

Tippi Hedren: Thank you.

Larry King: … to Hitchcock?

Tippi Hedren: I devote a good bit of time with Hitchcock.

Larry King: They do a show about it on television?

Tippi Hedren: Yes.

Larry King: A show about him?

Tippi Hedren: Yeah. Called “The Girl.”

Larry King: What… Was it sexual? Was he after you physically?

Tippi Hedren: Yes. But that didn’t happen until we were almost finished with “Marnie.” And you know, it really was so upsetting to me that he would pull that card. That I…

Larry King: Was “The Birds” before that?

Tippi Hedren: Mmm hmm.

Larry King: He never did it during “The Birds?”

Tippi Hedren: Never. Never. No.

Larry King: Was he okay up until then?

Tippi Hedren: Yes.

Larry King: Easy to work with?

Tippi Hedren: Yes, oh yes. And he and Alma were my drama coaches. You know, it was a perfect situation. Just perfect.

Larry King: So what did you make of it when it happened near the end of “Marnie”?

Tippi Hedren: It was the end of “Marnie,” and it was just very disappointing and disturbing and a situation that I couldn’t live with. So I said that I wanted to get out of the contract and he said, ‘well you can’t. You have your daughter to take care of and your parents are getting older.’ And I said, ‘Well, you know what? They would be more concerned about my level of integrity than that.’

Larry King: It’s funny that today you see a lot of sexual predators, right?

Tippi Hedren: Yes. Unfortunately.

Larry King: Did he actually touch you?

Tippi Hedren: No.

Larry King: No. But he made it clear what he wanted?

Tippi Hedren: Yes.

Larry King: Did you ever see him after that?

Tippi Hedren: I did. I went to – there was a big event for him at one of the big hotels. And some people were saying, ‘why did you go to this?’ And I said, ‘well, I really have the capabilities of separating the artist from the man.’

Larry King: So you compartmentalized?

Tippi Hedren: Yes.

Larry King: How good a director was he?

Tippi Hedren: Oh awesome. Really wonderful.

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