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Tippi Hedren

Nathalie Kay “Tippi” Hedren was born on January 19, 1930 in New Ulm, Minnesota. She is an actress, and former fashion model, a catalyst for the Vietnamese manicure industry in California, and an animal protection activist.

On her 18th birthday she traveled to New York and began a successful eleven year modeling career, appearing in magazines and television commercials. Alfred Hitchcock saw Tippi in a television commercial for Sego, a diet drink, and called her for a screen test. Her first Hitchcock film was The Birds (1963) in which she received a Golden Globe Award.  Next, she co-starred with Sean Connery in Marnie (1964). Hitchcock became infatuated with her during the filming of The Birds. Because she continued to refuse his sexual advances, Hitchcock did not give her any more work, but kept her under contract for almost two years.

In 1975, Tippi was an international relief coordinator with the organization Food for the Hungry. She visited with Vietnamese refugees at Hope Village outside Sacramento, California. When the women admired her nails, she flew her manicurist to the camp to teach 20 women to become manicurists. She then worked with a local beauty school to help them find jobs and train other refugees. The Vietnamese now dominate the manicure industry in California and are prominent throughout the United States.

In 1981, Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall, her husband at the time, produced and starred in Roar. The films was in production for 11 years, cost $17 million, and made only $2 million worldwide.  Tippi co-wrote the book “Cats of Shambala” in 1985 about her experience of filming Roar.

Roar led Tippi to the 1983 establishment of the non-profit Roar Foundation and Hedren’s Shambala Preserve, located at the edge of the Mojave Desert in Acton, California. Shambala currently houses approximately 70 animals, including African lions, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions and bobcats which were primarily bred to be pets, but became too much for their former owners to handle. Tippi lives on the preserve and conducts monthly tours for the public.

We interviewed Tippi Hedren at the annual fundraising event at The Tides Restaurant in Bodega Bay, California in September 2010, where she was raising money for the Roar Foundation to help cover the monthly cost of $75,000 to house and feed the animals at Shambala.