CHARGE (What was the author trying to say?): “I’ve been a wife, three times, I’m a mother and a grandmother. I’ve been a model and animal rights activist and a humanitarian. I have a lot to say. So, maybe, I’ve decided, inspired by all of the above, it’s about time I stop letting everyone else tell mu story and finally tell it myself.”
FACTS: Born in small-town Minnesota, at the beginning of the Great Depression in a home without indoor plumbing, Tippi (with no acting experience), was selected by Alfred Hitchcock to star in “The Birds.” She recounts his shameful treatment of her on the set, all occasioned by her refusal to return his unwanted attentions. Of this experience she said, “I’ve made it my mission to see that while Hitchcock may have ruined my career, I never gave him the power to ruin my life.” With her acting career in shambles, Hendren went on the begin to collect lions and tigers and other African game animals in hopes of filming her own movie about wildlife preservation. Her description of each individual big cat took up much of this section of the book, which became tedious at times. Perhaps Hendren should have directed more attention to her 15 year old daughter, Melanie Griffith, who took this opportunity to move in with her 23 year old boyfriend, Don Johnson. Hendren penned this memoir at the age of 86, still living on her animal preserve.
VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Guilty, as charged. Though it drags at time, this is a fascinating look at a non-Hollywood celebrity who told her own history in her own way.