He made her a star but actress Tippi Hedren says in her new memoir director Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted and harassed her while filming "The Birds," reports the New York Post.
In "Tippi: A Memoir," the 86-year-old recounts the constant sexual harassment and bullying she received from the famous director during the six-month shoot for the 1963 film. This is the first time Hedren has written about her experiences, although she has spoken in the past about his treatment of her, which inspired the HBO film "The Girl."
Tippi Hedren, star of the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds," poses with a prop bird on August 1, 2012 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
The book, which is being released on Tuesday, states that Hedren's castmates were told not to socialize with her or "touch The Girl." According to Hedren, who also went on to star in Hitchcock's "Marnie," whenever the director saw her laughing or talking with a man, he would become "petulent" and "icy" and would look at her with an "expressionless, unwavering stare... even if he was talking to a group of people on the other side of the soundstage."
Hedren also writes that Hitchcock threw himself on top of her and attempted to forcibly kiss her while they were in his limo. Although she writes it was "an awful, awful moment," she felt she couldn't do anything about his assault because "sexual harassment and stalking were terms that didn’t exist" at the time and she knew that the director was more important to the movie studio than she was.
The day after the assault, the actress writes that the mechanical birds used in the film broke the shatterproof glass, shards of which hit her in the face. She was also told the mechanical birds didn't work and so live ones were used. After a bird almost pecked her eye out, she says she broke down and spent the rest of the week in bed. Hedren writes she suspects that Hitchcock was trying to punish her for refusing his advances.
Director Alfred Hitchcock and actress Tippi Hedren arrive at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France for the presentation of their film "The Birds" at the Festival Palace, May 9, 1963.
“I just sat there on the floor, unable to move, and began sobbing from sheer exhaustion,” she writes.
She went on to win a Global Globe but her treatment on Hitchcock's next film "Marnie" didn't get any better.
According to Hedren, Hitchcock installed a secret door between his office and her dressing room. One day, the director went into her room and "put his hands on me. It was sexual, it was perverse... the harder I fought him, the more aggressive he became," she writes.
In the more than 50 years since she experienced Hitchcock's abuse of power, she says she has "made it my mission ever since to see to it that while Hitchcock may have ruined my career, I never gave him the power to ruin my life."
Although Hedren was under contract for two more years with the director, she did not make another film with him after "Marnie."