Tippi Hedren, born Nathalie Kay Hedren, launched her career as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous blonds. She made her feature film debut starring as Melanie Daniels in the director’s 1963 thriller “The Birds,” and she moved with Hitchcock onto his next project, 1964’s “Marnie,” appearing in the title role as a psychologically troubled young woman.
Although the venerable filmmaker had placed her under personal contract, Hedren was next cast by Charlie Chaplin to star opposite Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren in 1967’s “The Countess from Hong Kong.” She performed in other memorable films including 1968’s “Tiger by the Tail” and 1973’s “The Harrad Experiment.”
Hedren has continued to act, but since founding the Acton, Calif.-based Shambala Preserve, a facility devoted to rescuing abandoned exotic animals, in 1983, she has devoted a majority of her time to wildlife preservation. She cowrote the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which bans interstate commerce in exotic cats for the pet industry. Both houses of Congress passed the measure unanimously in 2003, and President George W. Bush signed it into law a week after a 10-year-old boy in North Carolina was mauled by his aunt's pet tiger.
Her daughter is actress Melanie Griffith.