Tippi Hedren, best known for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and “Marnie,” is emoting in another sort of suspense genre: She has joined the cast of CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful” as Helen Maclaine, a newspaper columnist.
“I’d always said ‘No’ to the soaps, but when my agent called about this one, I thought it might be kind of fun,” says Hedren.
Hitchcock discovered her on a Sego diet-drink commercial and signed her for his 1963 release, “The Birds.” After nearly 30 years and credits including “The Countess From Hong Kong” opposite Marlon Brando and various TV shows, the 55-year-old actress finds it “fabulous” that she is still strongly identified with her debut role. “You couldn’t ask for a better situation, to have been in a film so highly remembered and respected. Hitchcock had that ability to do films of lasting quality.”
Nowadays, with daughter Melanie Griffith (she had a cameo in Griffith’s “Pacific Heights”) and son-in-law Don Johnson, Hedren isn’t the only performer in the family. “I’m watching Melanie with such glee, because she’s not only a terrific mom, she’s a very talented actress, and she’s running three homes. And Don Johnson is a career all in himself! I see a lot of me in her that way, because I take on too many projects at one time too.”
Hedren’s own primary off-screen project is maintaining and raising funds for her Shambala Preserve, which she created in 1972 as a haven for wildlife born in captivity. It presents educational programs to local schools and is open to the public one weekend a month. While some of the animals are tame, they do have their moments.
“I was studying my ‘Bold and Beautiful’ script the other day, lying in a hammock, when one of my Siberian tigers walked up and grabbed it out of my hand--she wanted to play.”
Hedren picked up the script and turned to the appropriate page. “See--teeth marks!”