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'Hitchcock put me in a mental prison'

(TELEGRAPH) — A new BBC film tells the story of director Alfred Hitchcock’s crazed obsession with one of his ice-cool blonde leading ladies, Tippi Hedren. But she wouldn’t be broken, she tells John Hiscock.

The two films Alfred Hitchcock made after Psycho – The Birds and Marnie – cemented his reputation as the master of suspense and made a star out of Tippi Hedren, who had never acted until the director spotted her in a television commercial and put her under contract.

But she says that the price she had to pay for her stardom was a steep and painful one. Hitchcock developed an almost-crazed obsession with her, and when she rejected his advances, he made her life a living hell both on and off the movie sets, the former model says. He bombarded her with crude sexual overtures and ruthlessly tried to control every aspect of her life.

“I had to get out of there,” she recalls. “I was dealing with one of the most powerful men in motion pictures and it was difficult, embarrassing and insulting. He said, ‘If you leave, I’ll ruin your career.’ And he did.”