EXCLUSIVE: ‘Call me Hitch…without the c**k!’ How director Alfred Hitchcock taunted his bombshell leading ladies Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren – who he terrorized by attaching live BIRDS to her body for film, book reveals
- Upcoming book, Hitchcock’s Blondes, reveals the tumultuous relationships between Alfred Hitchcock and his A-lister leading ladies
- Actresses Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, and Janet Leigh could handle Hitchcock’s crude persona, the author writes
- But Tippi Hedren and Kim Novak suffered under his direction after he ‘terrorized’ and belittled them on set, the book claims
Famed director Alfred Hitchcock had twisted, tyrannical and raunchy relationships with his beautiful, blond leading ladies, an upcoming biography reveals.
The unorthodox relationships began with his racy introduction to the women on set. ‘Call me Hitch,’ he’d declare, ‘without the c**k,’ according to Hitchcock’s Blondes: The Unforgettable Women Behind the Director’s Dark Obsession, by Lawrence Leamer, due to be published October 10.
Hitchcock’s sultry female stars in his box office hits included Grace Kelly in 1953 film Dial M for Murder, Ingrid Bergman in 1945’s Spellbound, Kim Novak in 1958’s Vertigo, Janet Leigh in the 1960 classic Psycho, and Tippi Hedren in 1963 thriller The Birds.
Kelly, Bergman, and Leigh could handle Hitchcock’s crude persona, but Hedren and Novak suffered under his direction, which negatively influenced their lives, the author writes.
And while he never consummated a relationship with any of the actresses, he was obsessed with sex.
Upcoming book, Hitchcock’s Blondes, reveals the tumultuous relationships between Alfred Hitchcock and his A-lister leading ladies
Grace Kelly was Hitchcock’s ‘ideal woman,’ writes the author. ‘An ice princess who melted with the most fervid sexuality and he was a voyeur who enjoyed watching her’
Hitchcock became ‘obsessed’ with the five-foot-nine Ingrid Bergman, who he viewed as ‘a goddess’ when he first saw her in producer David Selznick’s office
Unlike the others, Hitchcock was gracious to Janet Leigh and felt no need to impress her with his artwork or his cultured life at their first meeting
In Hitchcock’s film The Birds, he used real trained birds to attack Tippi Hedren and peck closely to her eyes. The actress was subjected to a barrage of Hitchcock’s dirtiest jokes
In The Birds – the frightening film where killer birds attack a small town – Hitchcock devilishly used real trained birds to attack Hedren, who was isolated on set.
He attached birds to her body with rubber bands. The birds squawked crazily and pecked away close to Hedren’s eyes, the book claims.
Hitchcock’s Blondes: The Unforgettable Women Behind the Director’s Dark Obsession, by Lawrence Leamer, is out October 10
To add to her hellish experience, the actress was subjected to a barrage of Hitchcock’s dirtiest jokes, which was supposedly in order to get more out of her acting.
Still, according to the author, ‘Hitchcock was an anomaly in Hollywood where actresses had to perform on the casting couch.
‘He apparently never consummated a relationship with any of the actresses in his films, yet he was obsessed with sex.
‘He sought love all his life and never found it, not in the way he wanted it,’ the author writes.
Mostly, Hitchcock, who died on April 29, 1980, at age 80, was a voyeur, and once admitted he might have become a ‘poof’ had he not married Alma Reveille, a screenwriter and film editor who often collaborated with him.
Hitchcock believed he was also saved from becoming a homosexual because of his Catholic religion.
His sexual hang-ups began in childhood with Hitchcock’s ‘imperious mother,’ Emma Jane Hitchcock, the author believes.
Leamer recounts how she’d make little Alfred stand at the foot of her bed every night and recount his day to her before she doled out a modicum of love, leaving her ‘little lamb,’ as she called him, hungering for more of her attention.
‘Her silence,’ the author asserts, ‘was the judgement of the gods’ to her son, the youngest of three children.
While his mother saw him as a little lamb, as an adult Hitchcock was known for his girth, having ballooned to as much as 300lbs.
His unrequited desire for sex and love was compounded even more by his gluttonous desire for food. He was known at dinner to scarf down three big steaks, topped off with a big order of ice cream for dessert.
The master of film suspense, Hitchcock made more than 50 films in six decades.
But it was the females who were cast in his films that has attracted Leamer and others to write about Hitch’s sexual issues and often bizarre relationships with the beauties on his movie sets.
Hitchcock was a voyeur and once admitted he might have become a ‘poof’ had he not married Alma Reveille, a screenwriter and film editor who often collaborated with him. Hitchcock, his wife Alma and daughter Patricia are pictured in 1942
Hitchcock was born in London in 1899 and died on April 29, 1980, at age 80
He viewed blondes – from Grace Kelly to Tippi Hedren – as the epitome of female beauty and saw them as superior beings.
Consumed by a tortured attitude towards women, he took great pleasure in making them suffer in roles as murderers, thieves, adulteresses, sluts and vapid socialites.
As he once declared, ‘Until I have launched them, they belong to me and they better face that fact.’
His favorite was Kelly, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful Philadelphia contractor, who would go on to become a real-life princess, marrying Monaco’s Prince Rainier III. She later died tragically in a car accident.
According to Leamer, ‘Sex was her great adventure and she was the fully realized model of Hitchcock’s fantasy woman.’ The director once fantasized, ”Anything could happen to you with a woman like that in the back of a cab.”’
By the time she worked with Hitchcock, Kelly had rid herself of her local working-class Philadelphia accent.
Instead, however, she adopted ‘a strange, crypto, upper-class British accent unlike anything ever heard in England,’ according to the author.
Kelly also had a reputation as a man eater and was said to have had affairs with the Shah of Iran, Gary Cooper, who was once her co-star, Clark Gable, and her co-star in Dial M for Murder, Ray Milland.
She was Hitchcock’s ‘ideal woman,’ writes Leamer, ‘An ice princess who melted with the most fervid sexuality and he was a voyeur who enjoyed watching her.
‘He treated her with a deference that he had shown to none of his other actresses.
‘He subjected her to the same dirty jokes – some so foul they would have turned a cloistered nun to stone but nothing bothered Kelly. She was endlessly amused or pretended to be.’
The author writes that Hitchcock tried to make Kim Novak feel inferior so that ‘she would let him do his job without a peep’. Novak and Hitchcock are seen on the set of Vertigo
While filming The Birds, Tippi Hedren was unimpressed with the director’s dirty jokes and raunchy limericks
Hitchcock’s favorite was Grace Kelly, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful Philadelphia contractor, who would go on to become a real-life princess, marrying Monaco’s Prince Rainier III
Ingrid Bergman was contracted to star in Spellbound with Gregory Peck. She is seen on the set of Spellbound with Hitchcock
When Kim Novak, ‘a small-time model utterly lacking acting experience,’ according to the author, argued with costume designer, Edith Head, against wearing a mundane grey suit and pedestrian black shoes for scenes in Vertigo, Hitch was inspired to break her down and control her.
‘He wanted to grind a sense of social inferiority into Novak so deep that she would let him do his job without a peep,’ writes Leamer.
To make her feel even more inferior, he’d take her to dinner and talk about subjects she knew nothing about and he ‘succeeded in making her feel ignorant and untutored.’
As a practical joke, he once hung a plucked chicken – presumably representing how badly he had made her feel about herself – from the mirror in her dressing room.
Tippi Hedren – a top New York model when Hitchcock signed her to a seven-year contract – was unimpressed with the director’s dirty jokes and raunchy limericks, which made him even more anxious to ‘remake everything about her’ and make her a star, the author writes.
The director even began sending her memos on what to do and how to act off the set, and she began to blame him for everything negative in her life.
Infuriated, she once exploded calling him ‘a fat pig.’ They never worked together again.
Hitchcock became ‘obsessed’ with the five-foot-nine Ingrid Bergman, who he viewed as ‘a goddess’ when he first saw her in producer David Selznick’s office.
Bergman was contracted to star in Spellbound with Gregory Peck and was promoted as a ‘glorious, ethereal Swedish star,’ but, in fact, her mother was German and her family supported Hitler and his anti-Semitism.
A passionate affair with her co-star maddened Hitchcock who attempted to exert his superiority over Peck who possessed the woman he so desired.
The director had planned to star Bergman in Dial M for Murder after Spellbound, but Bergman was too busy moving from lover to another. She had left Peck and her husband, Peter Lindstrom and flew to Rome to be with Italian film director, Roberto Rossellini.
Hitch never worked with Bergman again.
Janet Leigh was a Hollywood veteran, having been in some 32 films when Hitch chose her for Psycho
Hitchcock was gracious to Leigh and felt no need to impress her with his artwork or his cultured life at their first meeting
Unlike some of Hitchcock’s other female stars, Janet Leigh was a Hollywood veteran, having been in some 32 films when Hitch chose her for Psycho.
This film was his version of a low-budget horror film and he wanted to make Psycho for one scene – ‘the suddenness of the murder in the shower coming as it were out of the blue,’ according to the director.
Janet Leigh would be in the film for twenty minutes before you saw her blood shockingly run down the shower drain.
Unlike the women he treated miserably and crudely, Hitchcock was gracious to Leigh and felt no need to impress her with his artwork or his cultured life at their first meeting. He still peppered her with ribald limericks and raunchy jokes until she blushed.
‘I am not offended by jokes that would have turned a nun to stone,’ Leigh commented.
The movie set was like a sanctuary for Leigh while going through a troubled marriage to Tony Curtis and she took the director’s blue humor and bossy style in stride.
If there ever was a Hollywood ending for the tough and often mean-spirited Alfred Hitchcock, it was working happily with Leigh.
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