Actress Tippi Hedren in memoir: Alfred Hitchcock groped me

Actress Tippi Hedren speaks during the HBO presentation at the Cable portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills.
Actress Tippi Hedren speaks during the HBO presentation at the Cable portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - American actress Tippi Hedren alleges in a new autobiography that Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted and intimidated her while they were working together in the 1960s, according to reports.

She has accused the director of sexual harassment on a number of previous occasions, notably in interviews around the 2012 release of the HBO movie The Girl, which depicts his alleged obsession with her.

But the publication of Tippi: A Memoir on Tuesday will mark the first time she has written about her treatment herself.

Hedren, plucked from obscurity by Hitchcock to star in his 1963 masterpiece The Birds, alleges that the director became obsessed with her shortly after signing her to a five-year contract.

He demanded that other cast members steer clear of her, and became upset if he saw her talking to other men, she writes, according to the New York Post and Daily Mail, which obtained access to the memoir.

She says Hitchcock once threw himself on top of her and tried to kiss her in the back of his limousine, the newspapers report.

She reportedly describes another incident when the director cornered her on set one day and asked her to touch him.

Whenever he caught her alone, "he'd find some way to express his obsession with me, as if I owed it to him to reciprocate somehow", Hedren, now 86, reportedly writes.

Hedren, whose daughter is actress Melanie Griffith, also claims Hitchcock used his driver to stalk her and had her handwriting analysed, according to the Mail.

They worked together on Marnie the following year, a film about a habitual thief with mental health problems who is raped by her husband on their wedding night.

Hedren says she was aware of a widespread belief that the scene of a man forcing himself on his "frigid, unattainable bride" was Hitchcock's personal fantasy about her.

The British film-maker, who died in 1980, expressed his love for her but became increasingly aggressive as she kept her distance, she reportedly said, describing one particularly traumatic attack.

"I've never gone into detail about this, and I never will. I'll simply say that he suddenly grabbed me and put his hands on me," she says.

"It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly." She wrote that she did not tell anyone about the incidents because at the time, "sexual harassment and stalking were terms that didn't exist," the Post reported.

Hitchcock grew frustrated by her resistance and allegedly warned her he would ruin her career, blocking Universal when it attempted to submit her performance for an Oscar.

"I've made it my mission ever since to see to it that while Hitchcock may have ruined my career, I never gave him the power to ruin my life," Hedren reportedly writes.