Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dakota, Melanie Griffith and Tippi Hedren in "Vanity Fair" December 2016

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“Find the girl,” Alfred Hitchchock instructed Universal Studios in 1961. He’d seen a TV commercial for Sego, a popular diet shake, featuring a blonde model. Tippi Hedren got the call on Friday, October 13, and was offered a contract before she ever saw “Hitch.” Hedren’s first film, The Birds, earner her a Golden Globe; the second, Marnie, a psychoanalytic mystery-romance with Sean Connery, swept her into Hollywood’s front ranks. It also unraveled Hitchcock’s obsession with his leading lady – Hitchcockian in itself – as he commissioned a plaster cast of her head, built her dressing room beside his studio-lot bungalow, and, worst of all, made offensive advances. Hedren rejected him. “I’ll ruin tour career,” he seethed. “Do what you have to do,” she said as she left his office, slamming the door. They didn’t talk again.

Fifty-five years after that first phone call, Hedren has written a memoir, Tippi (published this month by HarperCollins), not only about Hitchcock but also about Charlie Chaplin, who directed her in A Countess From Hong Kong, and decadesof work at Shambala, her sanctuary for lions, tigers and other big cats. There are also two other women: daughter Melanie Griffith and granddaughter Dakota Johnson, shown her with “Mormor” (‘grandmother’ in Swedish; Hedren’s parents were Scandinavian)- the first time the trio has been photographed together for publication.

“The three generations just made me think about Mom, born in 1930, and me, in the 50s, and Dakota, in the 80s,” says Griffith. “The progression of life is really beautiful.” The women are close-knit, but they don’t give one another acting advice. “No, we never even talk about it,” Hedren says with a laugh. “Isn’t that interesting?”

Would they work together? With the right script, maybe. “We could all be the whole life of a woman,” Griffith suggests. “That’s an interesting idea,” Johnson replies. Then Griffith laughs: “You just helped us come up with a great theme!”


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