Julie Andrews and Tippi Hedren both worked with famed horror director Alfred Hitchcock in the ’60s. While Hedren has been candid about his mistreatment and harassment, Andrews admits she got a totally different version of the filmmaker when she appeared in his film.
Tippi Hedren appeared in two of Alfred Hitchcock’s biggest films: ‘The Birds’ and ‘Marnie’
Hedren started her career as a model and was discovered by Hitchcock in late 1961. After signing a seven-year contract with the filmmaker, she appeared in his 1963 blockbuster, The Birds. Hitchcock, who was admittedly enamored by Hedren’s beauty, then cast her in his next film, Marnie, opposite Scottish actor Sean Connery.
Both films earned critical acclaim and did well at the box office. But in her autobiography, Tippi: A Memoir, Hedren reveals things weren’t so great behind the scenes.
Hedren, who is the mother and grandmother of actors Melanie Griffith and Dakota Johnson, claims that Hitchcock stalked her and made several inappropriate sexual advances, including trying to kiss and grope her. When she refused, he began mistreating her on set.
Eventually, Hedren asked to be released from her contract. But she claims Hitchcock retaliated by blacklisting her in the industry.
“He said, ‘Well, I’ll ruin your career,’ and he did,” Hedren said in an interview with NPR. “He just kept me under contract, paying me my salary. A lot of directors and producers wanted me for their film, but to get to me, they had to go through him.”
Julie Andrews’ experience with Alfred Hitchcock was totally different
Andrews rose to fame with her mega-hit Disney movie Mary Poppins in 1964. The following year she appeared in her second blockbuster, The Sound of Music. So, when she was cast in Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain in 1966, Andrews was one of Hollywood’s top stars.
But according to Andrews, her experience with Hitchcock was quite different from Hedren’s. She doesn’t recall any harassment by the filmmaker. And instead recalls how he helped her understand film work.
“He loved his leading ladies, and I had to be very blonde for his concept in the film. He taught me a great deal,” Andrews told Vanity Fair. “I said to him one day, ‘You know, I don’t know much about camera lenses and angles.’ He’d been speaking to the director of photography and, and wanted to do a close-up.”
“He said, ‘Come with me,’ and he sat me down and just proceeded to draw for me for about half an hour about how this lens would make my nose look much too long, and this other lens would be a good one,” she continued. “It was very dear of him.”
Andrews noted that she didn’t find Hitchcock demanding on set. And she felt he was more interested in surprising his audience than anything else. “He was slightly manipulative of audiences in that way,” she recalled. “But it was certainly a masterclass. He knew exactly what he wanted.”
Julie Andrews believes being married to her producer husband helped shield her from harassment
Andrews and Hedren recall two very different versions of Hitchcock. And while Andrews didn’t face sexual harassment from the filmmaker, she did know those types of situations were prevalent in the industry. “I was certainly aware — of tales about the casting couch,” she told The Guardian.
Andrews thinks she may have been shielded from that kind of predatory behavior because she was married to Blake Edwards, a well-respected Hollywood producer.
“I was so busy working and raising my kids and being married to Blake Edwards eventually, it was an extremely busy life, and to a certain extent that put a protective fence around me, I think,” she suggested.