In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock had a huge amount of power in Hollywood. That’s when he plucked actress Tippi Hedren from relative obscurity to star in his new movie, The Birds. It was a big break for Hedren.
But she says that over the course of making that film — and another movie, Marnie — Hitchcock repeatedly harassed her. She writes in her memoir Tippi that he tormented her; he would drive by her house at all hours, stare at her, and send her baskets of food when he worried she was losing weight. He threatened to ruin her career, keeping her under contract and refusing to let her work.
“Nobody had any real answer for how I was going to solve the problem,” Hedren says. “Alma, his wife, she said ‘I’m so sorry you have to have to go through this. I said, ‘Well, can’t you stop it?’ I was angry, and I was hurt that I had nobody to say OK, we’ll help you.”
In the weeks since sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein were first made public, the entertainment industry — along with several other industries — has been reflecting on how the power dynamic between men at the top and the women they work with has been playing out. Actresses like Hedren have pointed out that this is nothing new in Hollywood; it’s only now just coming to light.
So NPR’s All Things Considered brought all three of them together, to talk about their experiences in the industry and discuss how being a woman in Hollywood has — and hasn’t — changed across the generations.
Read more and listen at NPR.