‘Birds’ Actress Tippi Hedren Says Hitchcock Cost Her an Oscar Nomination


Promotional shot of Tippi Hedron for The BirdsA screening of Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds was held at New York’s Cinema Village last night after which star Tippi Hedren told interviewer Robert Milazzo, “Apparently I was up for a nomination for Marnie, and Hitchcock killed it.”

Hedren made only two films with Hitchcock — The Birds and Marnie — and according to the Village Voice‘s Michael Musto, writing about Hedren’s Cinema Village appearance, the reason it was only two films is because she tired of Hitch’s increasingly obsessive possessiveness and wanted out of any dealings with him.

As Hedren tells it, he then threatened to destroy her career, which included kibboshing the nomination and keeping her under contract for two more years so she couldn’t work. Hedren said she would later learn that during that time Francois Truffaut wanted her for Fahrenheit 451.

As far as The Birds is concerned, Hedren said she’d been promised she’d work with mechanical birds. Considering she was actually cut in the face by a bird in one shot for the film that clearly wasn’t the case. Hedren said Cary Grant stopped by the set once and told her, “I think you’re the bravest woman I’ve ever met.” She replied, “I don’t know if that was the right adjective for it.”

Also regarding The Birds, she asked Hitchcock why her character would go up the stairs alone, knowing about the bird problem. His reply: “Because I tell you to.”

Hedren also added a Charlie Chaplin story telling of how she landed a part in Chaplin’s final film, A Countess From Hong Kong, opposite Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. She says that once she arrived on set and found out her role in the film was tiny she asked Chaplin, “Why didn’t you tell me it was a cameo?” His reply: “Because I was afraid you wouldn’t come.”