- Tippi Hedren is an iconic Hollywood actress most famous for 1963’s ‘The Birds’
- The Minnesota native reportedly had a tumultuous working relationship with Alfred Hitchcock
- She is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith and the grandmother of Dakota Johnson
With her striking beauty, talent, and enigmatic charm, Tippi Hedren emerged as an iconic actress during Hollywood’s Golden Age. But beyond the glitz and glamour of the silver screen, her life has been a fascinating rollercoaster ride, marked by resilience, compassion, and a deep commitment to wildlife conservation.
Born Nathalie Kay Hedren on January 19, 1930, in New Ulm, Minnesota, she would later earn the moniker “Tippi” from her father. Blessed with an ethereal beauty and poise, Tippi’s modeling career quickly soared, capturing the attention of the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.
In 1963, Hitchcock cast her in the lead role of Melanie Daniels in his timeless thriller The Birds. The film catapulted her to stardom, but it was her professional and personal relationship with the renowned director that would forever alter the course of her life.
While The Birds brought accolades, it was during the filming of Marnie (1964) that Tippi’s relationship with Hitchcock soured. Reportedly, he became obsessed with her, and the emotional toll of working with the director took a heavy toll on her mental well-being, per The New Yorker.
Despite the tumultuous times, Tippi continued to work in films and television, earning respect for her versatility and dedication. She shone in projects like A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) alongside Marlon Brando and Foxes (1980) with Jodie Foster.
Beyond her acting career, Tippi’s life took an unexpected turn when she discovered her true passion – wildlife conservation. In 1983, Tippi founded the Roar Foundation and the Shambala Preserve, a haven for rescued big cats. Tippi’s activism and advocacy for wildlife conservation, which she touts on her Instagram, earned her prestigious awards, including the prestigious Genesis Award.
Her romantic life has also been marked by highs and lows. She has been married thrice, and each union had its own unique impact on her life journey. “My marriages were all good — until they weren’t. But I got something good out of each of them,” she told Express in 2016. “I’d love to have a man in my life and to go on dates but I’ll never marry again. I like living alone. I’m vain and I’m also selfish. Who would want that in a woman?” Meet the three gentlemen she called husband, below.
Her first marriage was to advertising executive Peter Griffith, whom she wed in 1952. The couple welcomed their daughter Melanie Griffith in 1957, who would later become a successful actress in her own right, including winning a Best Actress Oscar in 1989 for Working Girl. Melanie would later welcome daughter Dakota Johnson with her ex husband, Don Johnson.
Tippi and Peter’s marriage lasted until 1961 when they decided to part ways amicably. Despite the divorce, Tippi and Peter remained on good terms for the sake of their daughter, establishing a supportive co-parenting relationship. Peter would go on to marry four more times.
On Sept. 27, 1964, Tippi married her second husband, businessman and producer Noel Marshall. During her marriage to Noel, the couple worked together on the ambitious film project Roar (1981), which involved living with and filming numerous wild animals. The production faced numerous challenges, including injuries to both cast and crew, and financial troubles. Despite its critical failure at the time, Roar later gained a cult following and became a testament to Tippi’s passion for wildlife conservation.
In 1982, Hedren filed for divorce from Marshall, accused him of physical abuse and got a restraining order against him prohibiting him from coming within 20 feet of her or her home, per People.
Tippi found herself walking down the aisle once again on Feb. 15, 1985 when she wed married businessman Luis Barrenechea. The marriage to the retired steel manufacturer lasted nine years; she filed for divorce in 1994. “I shouldn’t be married,” she told the Los Angeles Times that year.