VOA Connect (04/06/2018) Tippi Hedren


((Executive Producer: Marsha James))

((Camera: Kaveh Rezaei))

((Map: United States / California / Shambala Preserve))

((Tippi Hedren, Actress, Model, Animal Rights Activist))

You know, I never, ever dreamed that I would become an actress. Never, never occurred to me. Never occurred to me that that would happen to me. So, I started doing commercials and there was one that was running very often. It was a storyline. So, then I received a phone call saying, Are you the girl in the seagull commercial? And I said, Yes, why? He said, Well, there’s someone who is interested in you and would like to meet with you. And that was (film director) Alfred Hitchcock. I was asked to go to Chasen’s, a restaurant, with Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock and (talent agent) Lew Wasserman. And there was this very beautifully wrapped package. I opened the box and it was a gold and seed pearl pin of three birds in flight. And I looked at it and I looked at Mr. Hitchcock and Mrs. Hitchcock. And Hitch said, We want you to play Melanie Daniels in The Birds.

Well, I’ll tell you I couldn’t have been more surprised or shocked about anything because I hadn’t had an acting background. I wasn’t known in Hollywood. I mean, I didn’t know whether to get up and run around the restaurant. I didn’t know what to do.

All of this that I have developed and preserved at the Shambala Preserve has just been a dream that came true.

I was married to a man who was a producer. He wanted to do a film about the animals in the wild. We chose the great cats to be our movie stars, which is, kind of, insane. I mean you are dealing with apex predators here. And we went to South Africa and I did two films there and I had the opportunity to go out into the veld and see the animals running free, and how absolutely thrilling it was to find one. And that is how the Shambala Preserve eventually came into being. We knew about this piece of property and it was owned by an animal trainer and he was the one who brought us the little lions. And so we called him and said, Can we board the little lions with you? And he said, Sure. Eventually, we had so many animals that we were bringing out here that the board bill was more than our mortgage, so we bought the place. I was, kind of, wondering why doesn’t our government have laws against breeding a predator and selling it to anyone who has the money. So, I put together a bill, took it to my own Congressman Buck McKeon, and the bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate and it’s made a huge difference.

I like being alone. I have a lot of wonderful memories to think about. I have future plans to make and I am a rather content woman.

Source: Voice of America