Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vintage Tippi Hedren Interview

This vintage interview was featured in The Sunday New York News Coloroto Magazine, August 23, 1964. I figured it would be appropriate to post it on the day that "The Girl," the very 'creative' HBO movie based on supposed events that occurred between Tippi Hedren & Alfred Hitchcock during the filming of "The Birds" and "Marnie." This article comes off as a bit wacky (Tippi buying cement mixers as an investment?!?), but is quite fun to read in retrospect. Keep in mind this came out one month AFTER "Marnie" was released, and one month before her marriage to Hollywood agent Noel Marshall (which makes it even more bizarre, since the thrust of the article is about how independent she is). The photo seen above is the same one used on the cover of the magazine, and was shot by Harry Warnecke and William Klein on the set of "Marnie." Here goes...

'I'm too independent'

New movie star Tippi Hedren tells why she relies on no one but herself.


On a hot summer's day, a chat with a cool-eyed blonde named Tippi Hedren turned out to be as refreshing as a cup of lemon ice. Tippi achieved instant stardom last year in her first film, "The Birds," a scary produced by Alfred Hitchcock, under whose wing her movie career was hatched. Now Tipi was in town on behalf of her second Hitchcock starter, "Marnie," in which she is teamed with Sean Connery, he being between James Bond adventures.

Where did she get the name, Tippi? (The record books in Lafayette, Minn., where she was born on Jan. 19, 1935, list her as Nathalie Hedren.) She explained: "My father gave me the name when I weighed six pounds, seven ounces. It comes from Tupsa, a Swedish term for 'little girl.'"

Was there any truth to the story that pixie producer Hitchcock offered Tippi a 7-year contract after seeing her do a one-minute canned milk commercial on TV…through his agent and without meeting her?

"It's the absolute truth," said Tippi. "I was so stunned when I found out who the producer was, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I had started modeling at the age of 13 back home in Minnesota, but I didn't think about becoming an actress then or later, when I was modeling in New York and doing TV commercials.

"The road to acting is a very tough one, and being a starving would-be actress was not for me. I chose modeling because it was very lucrative. Being a model certainly isn't as mentally stimulating as acting, but it's a marvelous way for a girl to make a living—it's slightly glamorous and you meet exciting people—and I was terribly happy doing it.

"I was very lucky. I arrived in New York on a Friday in 1953 and on Monday morning I went to a model agency. I worked for the first person they sent me to that afternoon,a nd I worked from then on.

"I wasn't sophisticated when I came to New York. But there are situations that you live through…you survive…I was married in 1954, and divorced five years later. I have a daughter, Melanie, who's 6 now…she's the light of my life. I worked very hard at my marriage, and when I came to the realization of divorce, it was kind of the end of the rope. Everything leaves its mark. I gained strength through it, but I absolutely believe it's the wrong kind of strength.

"I'm too independent…much too much so. I think women can get into a lot of trouble by being this independent. Because you rely on no one but yourself. You say to yourself, 'I don't need anybody,' and every man reads in your eyes, 'I don't need you.' I think a woman should absolutely feel that she needs someone to take care of her.

"When you're thrown into a position of having to take care of a child…run a house smoothly…and you see that you can do these things yourself, and you're reasonably happy doing them yourself…well, this scares men off. I don't meet many men who are as capable of doing these things as I am. That's the problem…and I recognize it as a problem. When I meet the man that I look forward to marrying some day, I think I'm going to have to fake a certain amount of dependence.

"Meanwhile, I find myself being a sort of a strange character. I am not a lonely person. I can be alone and live alone…without a husband, I mean. I work very hard at being an actress…at learning my craft. But I found that I need other outlets, so I started thinking about what I could do with the months I'm not involved in pictures. First I produced some rock 'n' roll records, but the 'singers' are a temperamental, kookie group, so I gave that up. Then I bought two cement pumps—huge mechanical monsters that are used in the construction of high rise buildings and tunnels. They're very expensive new—about $25,000 apiece—I bought mine secondhand. I rent them out, and it's quite profitable. I'm in the process of buying two more.

"This wasn't enough, so I started buying houses. I own two in Sherman Oaks, Calif.—one I live in with Melanie and our housekeeper, the other I rent out. Then I bought two more that had been vandalized—you know, broken into and only the bare walls left. I had them fixed up and they're for sale. Now I'm looking for more to buy.

"I enjoy the money I'm making in pictures because it gives me the opportunity to do these things. And I need things to keep me busy or else I'll end up hanging around the pool all day.

"Being interviewed time and again doesn't bore me—I try to make a game of it. I try to change things as much as I can without changing the story or the truth. All the questions I get asked—just thinking of truthful answers helps me get to know myself better.

"I've learned several important things about myself: one is that I don't run scared. Another is that I have to think very hard to find a real big problem in my life."

To find out more about the hailstorm surrounding the content of "The Girl," visit, which has daily updates with those who worked with Hitch on "The Birds" and "Marnie." Very interesting stuff!

See more Tippi Hedren and Shambala photos on my Tippi Hedren/Shambala web page.

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter and view my most recent photos on Flickr.


Rich T. said...

Very interesting interview. Model, actress, single mom, house-flipping, record-producing, cement pump rental manager! Even without the Hitchcock element, she sounds like a fascinating person.

I wonder who those temperamental "kookie" singers were...

Janey said...

This was delightful to read! Thank you for sharing!