Nathalie Kay “Tippi” Hedren is an American actress and former fashion model with a career spanning six decades. She is primarily known for her roles in two Alfred Hitchcock films, The Birds and Marnie, and her extensive efforts in animal rescue at Shambala Preserve, an wildlife habitat which she founded in 1983.
Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith, and they share credits on several productions, notably Pacific Heights. Hedren was born in New Ulm, Minnesota, the daughter of Dorothea Henrietta and Bernard Carl Hedren. Her paternal grandparents were immigrants from Sweden, and her maternal ancestry was German and Norwegian. Her father ran a small general store in the small town of Lafayette, Minnesota and gave her the nickname “Tippi.” “My father thought Nathalie was a little bit much for a brand new baby,” Hedren explained at a 2004 screening of The Birds.
As a teenager, Hedren took part in department store fashion shows. Her parents relocated to California while she was still a high school student. When she reached her 18th birthday, she bought a ticket to New York and began a professional modeling career. Within a year she made her film debut as a Petty Girl model in The Petty Girl musical comedy, although in interviews she refers to The Birds as her first film.