Hitchcock and Chaplin to Ed Wood, Jr., and from drama
and terror to droll comedy, the career of actress Tippi
Hedren has been meteoric, and eclectic.
a few weeks of filming The Birds with Rod Taylor,
director Alfred Hitchcock told Associated Press reporter
Bob Thomas, "Tippi Hedren is really remarkable.
She's already reaching the lows and highs of terror".
The former New York fashion model was making her debut
as an actress in a starring role in The Birds, and
such high praise from the enigmatic master of cinema
shock and suspense was rare indeed. "Like a dormant
volcano we know one day is going to erupt," Hitchcock
described her. "Get a look at that girl, she's
going to be good. I gave her the leading part in The
Birds. It is a big part. I think Svengali Hitch rides
a cover article about The Birds in LOOK magazine (Dec.
4, 1962), Hitchcock continued to rave, "Tippi
has a faster tempo, city glibness, more humor [than
Grace Kelly]. She displayed jaunty assuredness, pertness,
an attractive throw of the head. And she memorized
and read lines extraordinarily well and is sharper
Although the critics were perplexed by the "end-less
ending" of The Birds, the movie, which premiered
at The Cannes Film Festival, was a sensation earning
over $11,000,000 in the first few months, and is now
a classic. Saturday Review's Arthur Knight wrote,
"Hitchcock's newest 'find', Tippi Hedren is a
decidedly lovely blonde." Her performance in
the film earned her a Golden Globe award.
Paglia, Professor of Humanities at the University of the Arts
in Philadelphia and author of several acclaimed books about
women in film, and The Birds (BFI Publishing, 1998), a critical
analysis of the film, wrote, "It's so unfair that Tippi
Hedren has never had the credit she deserves for the two films
she did with Hitchcock. I think the reason critics did not
take her seriously is because she is too fashionable and therefore
not 'serious'. The interplay between Hedren and [Suzanne]
Pleshette in The Birds tells me more about women than any
number of articles on feminist theory. Hitchcock captures
the subtleties of females warring with each other; all those
nuances of knives and guns conducted in looks and body language.
He sculpts the human body in space. And I love the way Hedren
handles cigarettes and a martini glass with such remarkable
sophistication. It is gesturalism raised to the level of choreography."
Countess From Hong Kong with Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren,
directed by Chaplin, in what was to be the "Little
Tramp's" final film.
three films, back to back, were an auspicious start for
the Minnesota girl of Scandinavian parentage. Between over
twenty films and numerous television appearances, she's
been involved in a wide variety of humanitarian and environmental
causes, almost overshadowing her screen work.
volunteer International Relief Coordinator for "FOOD
FOR THE HUNGRY", she traveled worldwide to set up relief
programs following earthquakes, hurricanes, famine and war.
She aided "boat people" in the South China Sea
from a "FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY" rescue ship. Lobbying
efforts on behalf of Asian refugees have taken her before
Congress and have earned her numerous awards including the
"Humanitarian Award" presented to her by the B'hai
Faith. She has been honored by the USO for entertaining
troops in Vietnam and by the CELEBRITY OUTREACH FOUNDATION
for her charitable work.
began her long love affair with wild animals in 1969 while
doing a film, Satan's Harvest, in Africa. She "met"
a mellow lion, and much of her life since then has been
devoted to the big cats.
involved with international conservation groups to save
wildlife, and an outspoken voice against cruelty to animals,
both wild and domestic, she's a board member of "The
Wildlife Safari", founded by her friend, Frank Hart,
in Winston, Oregon. She also served on the board of "The
Elsa Wild Animal Appeal" founded by her friend, the
late Joy Adamson. And currently, she is on the Board of
Directors of Earth Communications Office (ECO), and President
of the newly-formed "American Sanctuary Association."
Her other charity work includes serving on The Board of
Directors of The Women's Council of KCET (Channel 28), The
Minnesota Film Council, The American Heart Association,
The March of Dimes, Multiple Sclerosis, International Orphans,
Inc., and several AIDS causes. She has been honored with
"The Helen Woodward Animal Center's Annual Humane Award"
(1995), the prestigious Founder's Award from the American
Society or the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (1996) and
the "Lion and Lamb Award" from Wildhaven (1997)
for her work on behalf of animal rights and conservation.
Tippi Hedren's most unique endeavor is being "den
mother" and close friend to sixty-odd big cats
- lion, tiger, leopard, cougar, and serval at The Roar
Foundation's Shambala Preserve near Acton, California.
high desert animal preserve is home to the felines
and pachyderms and was first established as an African-type
set for the motion picture, Roar, which Tippi co-produced
and starred in with her daughter, film actress Melanie
Griffith. After the five year filming was completed,
it became the current, non-profit center for big cat
care and research.
keeping with her outlook on the environment and conservation,
many of Shambala's residents are cast-offs from private
owners, zoos and circuses. "They're living out
their lives in safety and comfort." The Preserve
is open to the public on a reservation basis. Tippi
is founder and President of The Roar Foundation and
resides at Shambala in a cottage surrounded by big
cat compounds. "I awaken to their roars."
The story of Tippi's life and the animals "dearest
to her heart" was told in Simon & Schuster's
The Cats of Shambala (1985).
documentaries have been produced about the Shambala Preserve
including, Lions: Kings of the Serengeti by the Richard
Diercks Co, Inc. which won the Telly Award in 1995 for outstanding
video documentary; and Life With Big Cats (1998), produced
for Animal Planet, which won the Genesis Award for best
documentary in 1999.
continues to work frequently in motion pictures, theatre,
episodic and cable television, and her contributions to
world cinema have been honored with Life Achievement awards
in France at The Beauvais Film Festival Cinemalia 1994,
and in Spain by The Fundacion Municipal De Cine in 1995.
In 1999, Tippi was honored as "Woman of Vision"
by Women of Film and Video in Washington, D.C., and received
the Presidential Medal for her work in film from Hofstra
University. And in 2000, Tippi was honored as "Best
Actress in a Comedy Short" in the film "Mulligans!"
at the Method Fest, Independent Film Festival, and in 2002,
Tippi won "best Actress" for the short film "Tea
With Grandma" from the New York International Independent
Tippi was presented with an Honorary MFA degree in Acting for
film from the New York Film Academy in
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