In 1963 Alfred Hitchcock was hot off his 1960 horror epic “Psycho,” a film that redefined horror as cinema lovers had known it. From the 1950s the trend had began changing from the original late 1920s and early 1930s “Frankenstein,” “The Werewolf,” “The Mummy” and the long line of “Dracula” films to films that really were about feeling pain in horror, not just dealing with emotional senses any longer. In “Psycho” Hitch made the brilliant move to cast Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins in the two most important roles of (Marion Crane) and (Norman Bates). So in 1961 when the Monterey Bay region of Northern California was hit by a deluge of seagulls that flew into homes, attacked people and scared the hell out of seaside dwellers near the once sleepy California coastal town, Hitchcock decided he’d make a film about the incident and do what he does best. Scare the heck out of movie goers.
He tapped film actress Tippi Hedren for the role, and she was absolutely astonishing in the film. So was Rod Taylor, who played her leading man in the film. Well, recently scientists in St. Louis, Missouri of all places, 2,000 miles from Monterey, Calif. decided that they would try to investigate what could have possibly caused the real life winged attacks on the people of the region that would set off a movie cult classic, which still remains on the short list of Hitchcock fans, as one of the best horror movies in the history of the silver screen. In the most recent study, which was conducted by Sibel Bargu, it was uncovered that for the apparent cause of a 1961 bird attack in the coastal region that plankton and algae discovered in the birds’ stomachs included a poison and toxin that managed to get into the bird’s food chain by leaking sewage systems from homes and businesses in the region.
So who would have thought that after 50-years we’d find out that it was just plain old fashion human waste/pollution that could cause such a furor in the bird world that left Hitchcock ready to scare the dickens out of us a couple years later. The film is still popular and is on Universal Studios DVD collection today.
As for the gorgeous leading lady, my dear friend, TIPPI HEDREN / The Birds/Marnie/CSI, the Shambala Preserve and subject of new Biopic starring – The recent disaster in Ohio has brought Ms. Hedren and her efforts in Congress to the forefront. From drama and terror to comedy, the career of actress Tippi Hedren has been meteoric, and eclectic. She is only actress to have worked under the direction of both Hitchcock and Chaplin. Having never been out of work since she made her film debut in “The Birds,” Tippi continues to work frequently in motion pictures, theatre, and episodic television. It was recently announced that Sienna Miller will star as Ms. Hedren in a harrowing new drama about film director Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession with Ms. Hedren – star of his classic The Birds and Marnie. Tippi has met with Sienna and is very impressed with the young actress, both on screen and off. Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2069716/Sienna-Miller-play-Tippi-Hedren-victim-Alfred-Hitchcocks-sexual-obsession.html.
Despite the interruption in her career, Tippi’s contributions to cinema have been honored with Life Achievement awards world-wide and she was honored as a “Woman of Vision” by Women of Film and Video in Washington, D.C., receiving the Presidential Medal for her work. 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 Film Festival. In 2009 and 2010, audiences and critics alike responded positively to her roles on 4400 as Lily Moor Tyler, on Fashion House as Doris Thompson or on CSI as Karen Rosenthal, for which she received EMMY consideration.
Tippi is founder and President of The Roar Foundation and resides at Shambala a refuge for abused and unwanted exotic cats. Ms. Hedren has not only had an extremely active acting career, but one as a political lobbyist as well. Her latest Bill is being presented to Congress (“Federal Ban on the Domestic Breeding of Exotic Felines Act”), to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to prohibit breeding of exotic big cat species, and for other purposes. Like many other sanctuaries across the country, Ms Hedren’s Shambala (www.Shambala.org) among those that are currently overflowing with abandoned and abused exotic felines.
Here are clips from Tippi’s recent Headline News interview, as well as her appearance on “Entertainment Tonight.”
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photograph is Courtesy: Universal Studios/Hitchcock Collection
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