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Hitchcock starlet Tippi Hedren talks about kissing Sean Connery

21-Apr-2013 • Actor News

Classic movies fans gathered in their hundreds earlier this month to the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor for an evening with "The Birds" and "Marnie" star Tippi Hedren and a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock films. It was the 8th stop on a nationwide tour promoted by Turner Classic Movies. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz moderated a nearly one hour on-stage conversation with Hedren to kick off the evening.

Seated in armchairs, the two discussed Hedren’s start in show business; how she met Hitchcock; her work in his films, and his subsequent obsession with her; and her passion for animal advocacy (specifically, in regard to tigers and lions).

Although Hitchcock had hoped to lure Grace Kelly back to film by way of "Marnie," the man-hating, thieving nature of the female lead role caused the Princess of Monaco to say no, leaving Hitchcock to consider other options - like Hedren, whom he approached about "Marnie" while shooting the sand dunes scene in "The Birds."

"Marnie" came with a raise - from $500 a week for “The Birds” to $600 a week (“You know what? It’s all gone,” quipped Hedren) - and an easy-on-the-eyes leading man; but Hitchcock had initially struggled to cast the lead male role.

Hedren recalled that “after a month of so, he came into the office and said, ‘I’ve found your Mark Rutland, and I said, ‘Oh, great, who is it?’ He said, ‘Sean Connery,’ and I went, ‘Sean Connery, the Sean Connery … who is right now on the cover of Newsweek magazine as the sexiest man in the world? The Sean Connery who could melt the iciest of blonds? How am I supposed to deal with this character?’ And he said, ‘It’s called acting, dear.’”

But during the filming of “Marnie,” Hitchcock became so controlling, monitoring Hedren all the time, that she decided she needed to get out of her contract with him, though it was only the second year of a 7 year contract.

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