EDGE Flashback: Talking with Tippi Hedren

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday January 20, 2022
Originally published on December 2, 2016

EDGE Flashback: Talking with Tippi Hedren

Editor's note: Tippi Hedren turned 91 on January 19. EDGE remembers the actress with this interview from 2016 when her autobiography was published.

Actress and animal activist Tippi Hedren is finally setting the record straight in her highly anticipated memoir "Tippi."

In this truly absorbing and surprising memoir, the Alfred Hitchcock discovery, who starred in his "The Birds" and "Marnie," tells of her conflicted relationship with the great director who made her a star, but put her through grueling physical abuse while filming "The Birds," then (according to Hedren) sexually assaulted her on the set of "Marnie."

EDGE spoke to the actress and renowned animal activist in 2016 about her autobiography.

Right place?

EDGE: Luck seemed to follow you throughout your career beginning with modeling. Do you believe in luck or is it more being in the right place at the right time?

Tippi Hedren: All of it, but I like to think of it as destiny. We all have a destiny that we must follow. I had a really wonderful life and no regrets. I almost titled my memoir 'Open Door,' because we are all given open doors to go through in life and if one closes another one will open.

EDGE: What do you think made Hitchcock obsessed with you?

Tippi Hedren: I wish I knew how to answer that question. I have thought about that many times over the years, but we can never know what is going on in another person's head.

Kept cool

b>EDGE: What did you learn about yourself from working with Hitchcock?

Tippi Hedren: I'm grateful that he picked me from a commercial to star in my first movie 'The Birds.' He was great director and I learned so much from him. Not only did he teach me about acting, but directing and the industry itself. It was an amazing time in my life.

EDGE: How did you keep your cool when he was making advances towards you?

Tippi Hedren: As soon as the advances came, they went away. I never gave into them and never encouraged them.

EDGE: In your book, you said that his wife, Alma, knew of his obsession with you. Why do you think she kept silent and didn't address it?

Tippi Hedren: I don't know if it was fear or ignorance, but if I could have gotten into her brain, I'd be rich.

A healthy perspective

EDGE: I love the fact that you didn't allow him to ruin your life. How did you rise above it all?

Tippi Hedren: You are your best defense against the bad things that may come into your life. You should never let anyone ruin your life. Never give anyone that much power over you.

EDGE: You have such a healthy perceptive on life. Where did that come from?

Tippi Hedren: My parents. They instilled in me and my sister Patty great morals. We also learn a lot from growing up in the Lutheran church. It's wise for parents to teach / train their kids to be able to handle anything that life gives you with grace and dignity.

EDGE: I love how your cats and other animals have become an extension of you. What sparked your interest in big cats?

Tippi Hedren: I have always had a love of animals, but it wasn't until I was filming in Africa in the 60s that my love for big cats started. I was told that if we didn't do something to help them that by the year 2000, they would be extinct like dinosaurs. I have no respect for anyone who hunts and kills them for sport. They are murderers and need to be stopped.

Telling her own story

EDGE: For you, what was the key ingredient in developing a strong relationship with your daughter, Melanie Griffith?

Tippi Hedren: She is my best friend. I always made sure she knew that I loved her and would be there for her. I raised her to be strong and not afraid to live. Being a parent is not easy. You just have to do your best. She has turned out to be an amazing woman and even a more amazing mother. I am very proud of her.

EDGE: What is something that the reader will be surprised to learn about you in your book?

Tippi Hedren: They will have to read the book to find out [she laughs]. I have been lucky enough to do some amazing things in my life and work with some great organizations. I really wanted others to stop telling my story, it was time that I told it myself, and that is why I wrote my memoir.

For more information on Tippi's foundation visit www.shambala.org. To purchase her newly released memoir, "Tippi" visit www.amazon.com.