By David Fantle and Tom Johnson
ALFRED HITCHCOCK, Audrey Hepburn
and John Wayne each in their own way epitomized a signature style that was unique and
well served in many classic films. They may
be gone, but the thrill and delight of their
larger-than-life screen characters will remain
a treasure for movie fans forever.
It’s no secret that master British director
Alfred Hitchcock liked his leading women
sleek and blonde. Cases in point: Grace Kelly
in Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To
Catch a Thief; Kim Novak in Vertigo; Janet
Leigh in Psycho; and Tippi Hedren in The
Birds and Marnie.
Before being cast as the ill-fated Marion
Crane in Psycho, Janet Leigh was known for
her voluptuous curves, likable performances
in some not-too-memorable films and her
marriage to actor/heartthrob Tony Curtis.
In a 1995 interview at her Beverly Hills
home, she said that she flew “solo” developing
her character in Hitchcock’s most disturbing
“Hitch had a hands-off policy unless you
were really blocked,” she said. “He was the
consummate shot-maker, and he trusted his
actors to come up with their own motivation.
I do remember that he didn’t feel there was
enough passion between John Gavin and I in
the opening hotel room scene, so he told us to
turn up the heat, which we did.”
Tippi Hedren found Hitchcock unsym-
bers sleeping for a solid week—against the
strenuous protests of Hitchcock, who wanted
to proceed with the filming.
Whether fending off berserk birds or psychotic motel managers, Leigh and Hedren
can attest to the fact that, in Hitch’s universe,
blondes didn’t always have more fun.
The essence of style
The silver screen loved Audrey Hepburn
almost as much as film audiences around the
world and through the decades still do.
One of the most naturally beautiful women
in history and with an impeccable eye for cou-
ture (she’s listed in the International Best
“Everything [in the film] culminated with
that last scene where I go up to the attic,” she
said in a 1995 interview from the Shambala
Preserve, her Southern California wildlife
sanctuary. “They had a cage built around the
attic door that I opened, and three prop men
were there wearing leather gauntlets with
huge cartons filled with ravens and seagulls,
which they began to hurl at me.
“By the last day of filming, they had me on
the floor of the attic, my dress torn to shreds
from the talons of the birds. One broke loose
and scratched me right under the eye. I freaked
and started to cry from sheer exhaustion.”
Hedren did suffer a sort of mini nervous
shutdown after that final scene and remem-
The thrill and
delight of their
will remain a
treasure for movie