Tippi (or Nathalia Kay) Hedren was born in New Ulm, Minnesota on January 19, 1930 to parents of German, Norwegian and Swedish heritage. Her father, Bernard Carl Hedren, who called her "Tippi," a Swedish nickname for 'Little Girl', ran a general store in the small town of Lafayette, where she spent six years. At age 13, Hedren was chosen as a teen fashion model for Donaldson’s Department Store and she attended West High School in Minneapolis until the family moved to San Diego, California in her junior year. From 1952 to 1960, Hedren lived in New York and worked as a fashion model with the Eileen Ford agency.
She was discovered by Hitchcock on a Today Show commercial when he was seeking an actress with the sophistication and cool-blonde sex appeal of Grace Kelly. Hitchcock cast her in two psychological thrillers, “The Birds,” which earned her a Golden Globe award, and his next film, ”Marnie” (1964), opposite Sean Connery. She later parted ways with Hitchcock, and made more than 40 films between 1967 and 2006. These include Charles Chaplin’s “A Countess from Hong Kong” (1967) with Marlon Brando, and more recently “Pacific Heights,” “Citizen Ruth,” “Sixth Sense” and “I Heart Huckabees.” Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith and the founder of the Roar Foundation, a charitable cause for animals, and Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre wildlife refuge in California.