Alfred Hitchcock’s reluctant muse and living screen legend Tippi Hedren was in Newbridge Sliverware last Friday.
She officially launched the newly extended Museum of Style Icons and was reunited with one of her outfits from the Hitchcock 1963 thriller The Birds. She also took time out to meet with local fans on Saturday afternoon, after an appearance on the Late Late Show the night before.
“The Birds took on a life of its own after it was released,” said Ms Hedren, speaking to the Leinster Leader.
“Seeing the outfit today after so many years is very odd but now it feels comfortable - it is an amazing feeling and I am very excited. I had about six different costumes and green was chosen as the colour as it is very easy on the eye. Hitchcock was very careful with colours as they are so important in films.
“I had birds thrown at me for a week [during the filming] so you can see the marks on the shoulder [of the outfit]. The original birds were tied to the outfit, which was very warm to wear. I also got a scratch with a bird which was way to close to my eye. It was a surprise to me that real birds were used as I was told mechanical birds would be used instead. They didn’t tell me that until my first day of shooting.”
The actress, whose daughter is Hollywood star Melanie Griffith, wore the brooch that the late director Alfred Hitchcock gave her after she won the lead role in the movie during her Newbridge visit.
“This pin I’m wearing was sent by Alfred Hitchcock to confirm that I had the role,” she said. “I had never acted in a movie before, only in commercials so I was amazed when I got the part. I had a gold necklace in the movie and I still have that.”
The blonde beauty, who still resonates glamour and sophistication, then recalled her troubled relationship with the talented Hitchcock, describing it as “passive obsessive” on his part. Like many of Hitchcock’s leading ladies, she was under contract to the famous director.
“He wanted to control my life, he had me followed and my handwriting analysed. He wanted to tell me what to do and I had to get out of the contract after two pictures. He said he would ruin my career and he did. I never regretted it - it was a remarkable time and I have nothing to do with the way he was as a person. I don’t think there will ever be anyone else like him. His work was amazing. To be an actress and to have him break down a script and explain the scene was fantastic. Marnie [her second and last film with Hitchcock] is still my favourite film - now that was a real character.”
Ms Hedren, who was once a friend of Marylin Monroe’s, is also known for her extensive efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre wildlife habitat about an hour outside LA which she founded in 1983. She currently lives there with “lions and tigers”.
She shares credits on several productions with her famous daughter who is married to Hollywood actor Antonio Banderas, most notably Pacific Heights (1990).
“My favourite film of Melanie’s is Working Girl.I am very proud of her. Melanie’s first cat when she was two was called Puss in Boots. After she married Antonio [who is the voice of Shrek’s Puss in Boots], I said Melanie I didn’t expect you to marry him, ”she laughed.
And the 1960s screen icon’s secret to staying young and looking so good boils down to having a healthy ambition.
“Have a goal in your life that you want to accomplish and the rest will follow.”