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The Guardian (14/May/2003) - Hitch's blonde: it's all so true

(c) The Guardian (14/May/2003)

Hitch's blonde: it's all so true

Even for a Hollywood legend, it cannot be all that comfortable sitting in the dark and watching your life dissected on stage.

But Tippi Hedren, star of The Birds and Marnie, and the leading lady on whom the director Alfred Hitchcock was most fixated, crossed the Atlantic to see Terry Johnson's play Hitchcock Blonde at the Royal Court in London.

Last night, Hedren, 72, last of the Hitchcock blondes, said: "I would like to see it again. It is exactly right in so many ways. It was scary and a bit creepy hearing Hitch's voice again. (The actor) William Hootkins has got him just so."

She said the play, in which Rosamund Pike plays a character loosely based on Janet Leigh, whom the master of suspense tormented during the making of Psycho, struck home.

The psychological thriller interweaves Hitchcock's obsession with his blonde actresses with the attempts of a middle-aged media lecturer to seduce one of his students, who is helping him restore a "lost" early Hitchcock film.

Hedren, too, was toyed with by the London-born film-maker, whose love of elaborate mind games extended to his private life.

"I recognise so much of what is in the play," she said. "Hitch was all about the chase with his blondes.

"I don't think he ever wanted to - how will I say? - culminate the chase."