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|Also Known As:||Nathalie Kay Hedren||Died:|
|Born:||January 19, 1930||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||New Ulm, Minnesota, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor model|
rge Montgomery and appeared with daughter Melanie in "The Harrad Experiment" (1973), executive produced by husband Noel Marshall. While making the game preserve drama "Mr. Kingstreetâ¿¿s War" (1973) in Africa, Hedren became concerned with the plight of the exotic cats used in filming, prompting her to establish a wildlife habitat in Acton, CA in 1978. Hedren named the preserve Shambala, a Sanskrit word referring to a meeting place of peace and harmony for all creatures, and dedicated its foundation to preserving the life and lifestyle of exotic felines while discouraging private ownership of wild animals. In later years, Hedren would co-author the Captive Wildlife Safety Act and the Federal Ban on Breeding Exotic Cats for Personal Possession Act.
In 1981, Hedrenâ¿¿s personal project "Roar" was completed at a final cost of a then-unheard of $17 million. Inspired by both "The Birds" and "Born Free" (1966) and shot over a period of 11 years, the film was directed by Marshall and featured both Hedren and daughter Melanie in lead roles, supported by Marshall and his two sons from a previous marriage. Financed in part by the sale of the familyâ¿¿s Beverly Hills home and Marshallâ¿¿s profits as a producer of "The Exorcist" (1973), filming was beset by numerous calamities, including a 1978 flood that destroyed a large portion of the location and resulted in the death of several lions, a 1979 brush fire, and the on-camera mauling of several cast and crew members, including Hedren, Griffith, Hedrenâ¿¿s stepson John Marshall, assistant director Doron Kauper and cinematographer Jan de Bont, whose injuries required 120 stitches to close. Hedren also suffered a fractured leg when an elephant she was riding in the film threw her to the ground. "Roar" made back only a fraction of its cost and Hedren and Marshall were divorced in 1982.
In 1985, Hedren appeared in the pilot episode of the rebooted "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (NBC, 1985-89) and acted opposite her now movie star daughter in the San Francisco-set thriller "Pacific Heights" (1990). She participated in a made-for-television remake of Hitchcockâ¿¿s "Shadow of a Doubt" in 1991 and turned up in the ill-advised TV sequel "The Birds II: Landâ¿¿s End" (1994), in a role unrelated to the one she created in Hitchcockâ¿¿s original. One of Hedrenâ¿¿s better later-life performances was as a chic pro-choice activist in Alexander Payneâ¿¿s abortion satire "Citizen Ruth" (1996) and indie filmmaker David O. Russell made a place for her in the star-studded ensemble of "I Heart Huckabees" (2004). In 2002, Hedren received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was also the recipient of a host of international awards for her humanitarian efforts, including a Founderâ¿¿s Award from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a Jules Verne Nature Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Humane Society of the United States. Based on her Shambala Preserve and committed to supporting the 70 exotic animals entrusted to her care, Hedren continued to work exhaustively on screens large and small well after her 80th birthday and to make public appearances commemorating her better-known films.
By Richard Harland Smith Hitchcock. Preparing the suspense thriller "The Birds" (1963), Hitchcock was looking for a cool blonde in the Grace Kelly mold for his female lead. After meeting with Hitchcock, Hedren landed the part, beating out such candidates as Yvette Mimieux, Carol Lynley and Sandra Dee.
As was Hitchcockâ¿¿s wont with his prospective leading ladies, Hedren was run through a gamut of wardrobe fittings, cosmetic makeovers, camera tests and long lunches with the British-born filmmaker that occasionally segued into viewings of his favorite motion pictures. Hitchcock groomed Hedren by directing her in scenes from his earlier movies and shot a Technicolor screen test of her for "The Birds" with Martin Balsam, who had appeared in Hitchcockâ¿¿s "Psycho" (1960). Invited to dine with Hitchcock and his wife Alma, along with producer Lew Wasserman, at the New York night spot Chasens, Hedren was presented with a bejeweled pin of three birds in flight â¿¿ a token of affection from "Hitch" and a sign that she had been chosen to play Melanie Daniels, a fashionable magnet for avian aggression in "The Birds." In fact, scripting the film was then incomplete and Hedrenâ¿¿s character was referred to only as "the Girl." Hitchcock renamed the character Melanie, after Hedrenâ¿¿s then four-year-old daughter.
Hedrenâ¿¿s inexperience in front of the camera was a concern for several of the hands crafting "The Birds" â¿¿ particularly screenwriter Even Hunter, who voiced his doubts to Hitchcock. The director stuck by his discovery, inviting her to sit in on production meetings rarely attended by actors. Hand-picking her wardrobe and accessories and overseeing her styling, Hitchcock introduced the character of Melanie Daniels into "The Birds" in a direct nod to the diet drink commercial in which he had discovered her, coolly reacting to a manâ¿¿s wolf whistle as she crosses a busy urban thoroughfare. Though the production â¿¿ Hitchcockâ¿¿s costliest to date â¿¿ was rife with technical snafus, Hedren sailed through location photography with ease; it was during interior shoots at Universal that things took a turn for the worse. For a climactic scene in which Melanie falls prey to a bird attack, Hitchcock used live specimens. Shot over the course of a week, the scene was a traumatic experience for Hedren, who was pecked at repeatedly and nearly blinded, resulting in an on-set emotional breakdown.
Hitchcockâ¿¿s follow-up film, "Marnie" (1964), had been conceived as a comeback vehicle for Grace Kelly, who had retired from acting after her 1956 marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco. When Kelly withdrew from the project, Hitchcock offered the role to Hedren. For this nervy adaptation of the novel by Winston Graham, Hedren was paired with Sean Connery, then on a break from his duties as super-spy James Bond. Having attained a higher level of self-confidence during the shooting of "The Birds" and after being feted at publicity jaunts at home and overseas, Hedren began to bristle at Hitchcockâ¿¿s micromanagement during the shooting of "Marnie." When Hedren announced her engagement to her agent, Noel Marshall, Hitchcock reacted with anger and resentment, fearing he would lose another protÃ©gÃ© to marriage and home life. When Hitchcock refused to grant his leading lady a furlough from shooting so that she could accept an award in New York, Hedren flew into a rage, verbally abusing Hitchcock in front of the crew, and closing principal photography on an unfortunately acrimonious note.
The bad blood between Hedren and Hitchcock delayed her work in subsequent films. The actress claimed in interviews that French filmmaker Francois Truffaut had wanted her for a project but that Hitchcock maintained she was unavailable; Hitch would never again employ Hedren in a film, although he continued to pay her a weekly salary of $500 until he sold her contract to Universal. In 1965, Hedrenâ¿¿s professional ties to Alfred Hitchcock were severed and she appeared in an episode of "Run for Your Life" (NBC, 1965-68) with Ben Gazzara and on the anthology series "Kraft Suspense Theatre" (NBC, 1963-65) with Jeffrey Hunter. At the end of that year, she flew to London to play the other woman in Charlie Chaplinâ¿¿s comic romance "A Countess from Hong Kong" (1967), opposite Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren. During filming, Hedren enjoyed a reconciliatory tea with Alfred and Alma Hitchcock, but their master-pupil relationship was irrevocably shattered and Hedren continued her career as a rootless free agent.
Her time as an A-list Hollywood actress limited to only a couple of years in the mid-1960s, Hedren dove into a long run of rent-paying work through the next several decades. She traveled to Africa for a role in the anti-drug film "Satanâ¿¿s Harvest" (1970) opposite aging Hollywood leading man Geo
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