Tippi Hedren, the Hollywood star who recorded among crows “takes eyes” and huge lions changed her life

Hitchcock spotted Tippi in a commercial (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Hitchcock spotted Tippi in a commercial (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most recognized film directors throughout the history of Hollywood and one of his most emblematic films was Birds, which premiered in 1963 and became a benchmark for the horror genre. Although it was also a great challenge for the leading actress Nathalie Tippi Hedren, mother of Melanie Griffith and grandmother of Dakota Johnson

And it is that, for those followers of the seventh art, it could be difficult to forget the emblematic scene at the end of the feature film where the blonde actress it is fiercely attacked by various kinds of birds.

Thus, although over the years some secrets have been revealed about the abuses that Hedren experienced by the director, something that might not be so well known is that the artist, who considers herself a fervent animal rights activist, had to record that part of the film with real birds.

The actress has told several times how difficult it was to record the scene of "birds" (Photo: Bettmann Archive)
The actress has told several times how difficult it was to record the scene of “The birds” (Photo: Bettmann Archive)

According to the records we have, birds 3 thousand 200 were used real birds. The rest was painted cardboard and brass. In 1968, the director revealed in the The Dick Carvett Show, that the most intelligent were the ravens; while the seagulls were the most vicious.

In an interview that Tippi awarded in 2017 for the program Studio 10, the actress He confessed that he had no knowledge that the iconic moment of the attack would be recorded with real animals.

That was one of the surprises of the shoot and I don’t know why they didn’t tell meI don’t know why they thought I wouldn’t. After dealing with the birds (…) it was shocking to me. How it took almost five days to record it, every time I woke up I was like, ‘Oh no, I have to deal with this again,'” he said.

Regarding whether there was mistreatment of animals in the recordings, Tippi He stated his opinion about it openly: “They don’t treat animals badly, they do treat us, that’s the difference. No one cares about us (actors).”

It was during an interview with Larry King Now for the american channel Pray TV where Hedren narrated the difficulties she experienced in order to achieve the scene requested by Hitchcock.

“Yes (they were real birds). Back then we didn’t have computer generated images, so we had to use real images.”he is heard saying.

In this way, Tippi He resumed that the scene of the attack was not easy because the recording lasted for a long period of time.

Tippi Hedren is dedicated to defending animals (Photo: Wikipedia)
Tippi Hedren is dedicated to defending animals (Photo: Wikipedia)

“It could have been done very easily, in about a day, shooting with me. And then, he goes to the lab. But it was a full week… Our poor prop man with crows, seagulls and boxes alternately thrown at me for four days. four, five days”, he counted.

When asked by the interviewer about the implications of filming in this way, Hedren added that it seemed excessive.

“In the end. She was so exhausted that they just… I mean, they didn’t really need five days of that. That was cruel, something bad”, he sentenced.

Alfred Hitchcock discovered to Tippi Hedren in 1961, when he saw her in a commercial for a diet drink called Sego. From then on, he would seek to communicate with her and – upon achieving it – offered her a seven-year contract.

Hedren’s film debut was in birds (1963), but, according to the testimony of the actress for Closser Weeklythe harassment he suffered from the director meant that he no longer wanted work with him again after the premiere of Marnie in 1964.

The actress denounced Hitchcock (Photo: Wikipedia)
The actress denounced Hitchcock (Photo: Wikipedia)

This would set a precedent for her, since Hitchcock would take this action against her and “punish” her by making her fulfill the contract she had and preventing her from working elsewhere during the time the agreement was in force.

It ruined my career, but it didn’t ruin my life.“, said Tippi for that medium.

Already focused on other aspects, it was in the movie Roar (1981) where the life of the actress took a radical change, because not only did she work with big cats during filming, but also There he became aware of the disturbing business of selling exotic animals as pets.

“We acquired all these animals to make the film. Hollywood trainers who had big cats would not let their cat work with another cat because of the possibility that they could fight and hurt or even kill each other. When we wanted to use animals that acted in Hollywood to make the film, (the trainers) said: ‘I will not let my big cat work with another cat. Get your own animals to make the movie!‘” he recounted in 2017 Tippi for FoxNews.

Tippi is a defender of animals (Photo: Ig tippihedrenofficial)
Tippi is a defender of animals (Photo: Ig tippihedrenofficial)

The artist mentioned that this was the key point to become what it is now, because it seemed wrong to her that wild animals were marketed as pets.

“That’s how it happened. And we discovered that so many lions and tigers were being bred to be sold as pets, which is an unconscionable act, these are top predators. For someone to sell a baby lion or tiger to a family to become their pet is… is one of the most dangerous things that could have happened. Everything grew from that”, he pointed out at the time.

Hedren also prepared a bill to curb the sale of exotic animals as pets and took it to her congressman. Later, she went to Washington to present it and, although several of the politicians did not believe in her proposal, the actress told the same medium that it was not only approved unanimously in the House and the Senate, but it was launched in 2003.

The life of the actress moved away from the acclaimed film director (Photo: Actress Tippi Hedren Photo: Wikipedia)
The life of the actress moved away from the acclaimed film director (Photo: Actress Tippi Hedren Photo: Wikipedia)

“Its titled Law for the Protection of Big Cats and Public Safety. It was a long time before we started to see the results of the bill, but it still works. I am delighted because these animals No They are pets,” he said.

It was until 1983, when the actress created the Roar Foundation, an organization that helps the Shambala Reserve in California. Thus, in 2020, Hedren pointed out in another interview for foxnews that one of his greatest passions is helping in the conservation of felines.

“I just look out the window at the beauty of the Shambala Reserve … There is nothing as beautiful as the view from my dining room window of Mona, a magnificent Bengal tiger, walking through her enclosure,” he said.


Killer birds, pecked out eyes and an injured actress: the secrets of The Birds, Hitchcock’s shocking film
The incredible life of Melanie Griffith’s mother, the woman who survived brutal sexual harassment and the claws of 132 cats
Actress Tippi Hedren revealed the torture she experienced with Alfred Hitchcock: “It was sexual, perverse”
120 years of Alfred Hitchcock, the genius of fear and suspense in cinema

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