Weird History
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Alfred Hitchcock Had A Complicated Relationship With Tippi Hedren While Filming 'The Birds'

Updated December 12, 2019 40.6k views10 items

The year 2017 has seen an awakening of sorts, as Hollywood and the fans that support it have become suddenly aware of the horrific acts of sexual assault that have been occurring behind the scenes for years at the hands of monsters like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., and others. Most believe these revelations have been a long time coming, but that timeframe may be even longer than many would assume, because Hollywood abuse goes at least as far back as Alfred Hitchcock and The Birds. This collaboration with star Tippi Hedren is renowned as one of the best Alfred Hitchcock movies and one of the scariest films of its time - but it turns out the director’s behavior on that set, and subsequently on the set of the film Marnie, may have been the real horror story.

Although Tippi Hedren has been open in the past about everything she endured while filming The Birds, the behind-the-scenes details are just now coming to light. Emboldened by a newly-woke entertainment industry, Hedren wants her story known, in hopes that the truth will encourage others to share their harrowing tales.

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  • Hedren Had To Get A Doctor To Order That Hitchcock Leave Her Alone

    Tippi Hedren sought the advice of a doctor, who found her to be suffering from exhaustion, among other things. The doctor ordered a week’s rest, but Hitchcock reportedly balked at the request, reasoning that he needed Hedren for some of the film’s final scenes. It was only when the doctor asked, “Are you trying to kill her?” that the famous director acquiesced, granting Hedren a week off before she returned to the set to finish the movie.

  • Despite This Horrific Treatment, Hitchcock Obsessed Over Hedren

    Despite the horrific treatment to which Alfred Hitchcock subjected his newfound star, it soon became apparent that he had built up a dangerous obsession with Hedren. She reportedly noticed that Hitchcock began treating her coldly and was “petulant” whenever he spotted her conversing with any males other than him on set. He later warned male cast and crew members to stay away from Hedren, and he had a habit of staring at her on set, making it clear that he wanted her all for himself.

  • Photo: Marnie / Universal Pictures

    The Set Of Their Next Film, 'Marnie,' Proved What A Monster Hitchcock Was

    Hitchcock snapped Hedren up for his next production, Marnie, in which she’d co-star with Sean Connery. The set of that film quickly proved to Hedren what a monster Hitchcock really was. She reportedly soon noticed that Hitchcock had created a secret door between his office and her private dressing room, something he would use to his horrific advantage as his obsession with Hedren became more and more aggressive. At the time, Hedren did not feel the atmosphere was conducive to her reporting this behavior to anyone; after all, she was still under contract.

  • Hitchcock Even Went So Far As To Make A Life Mask Of Hedren’s Face

    One of the creepiest details of Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession with Tippi Hedren is that she claims he had a “life mask,” essentially a cast of her face, created for his personal collection. In short, Hitchcock made no secret about the fact that he was dangerously obsessed with Hedren, and that he cared little about her opinion on the matter.