Art doll

Dakota Johnson says Alfred Hitchcock sent Melanie Griffith a doll of her mother Tippi Hedren in a coffin

Dakota Johnson; Melanie Griffith; Teepee Hedren

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images; Matt Baron/EIB/Shutterstock

Dakota Johnson shares a chilling story allegedly involving Alfred Hitchcock that feels like a twist on one of his famous movies.

The 32-year-old actress opened up about the legendary director’s unsettling obsession with her grandmother Tippi Hedren for the July issue of vanity lounge (which Johnson covers) and how it derailed Hedren’s career decades ago.

“What happened with my grandmother was awful because Hitchcock was a bully,” said the Fifty shades of Grey the star told the magazine, in an interview published on Tuesday. “He was talented and prolific – and important in terms of art – but power can poison people.”

The legendary director, who died in 1980 aged 80, worked with Hedren, 92, in the 1963 film The birds as well as 1964 Marnie. After the actress avoided his advances, he reportedly threatened to destroy her career.

In an alarming anecdote, Johnson said that Hitchcock once sent his mother Melanie Griffith a small doll of Hedren in a coffin as a Christmas present when Griffith was a child.

“It’s alarming and dark and really, really sad for this little girl,” Johnson said. “Really scary.”

Alfred Hitchcock (1899 - 1980) directs American actor Tippi Hedren as she sits in front of a typewriter on the set of his film

Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980) directs American actor Tippi Hedren as she sits in front of a typewriter on the set of his film ‘Marnie’.

Archives Hulton/Getty Images

RELATED: Melanie Griffith Celebrates Mom Tippi Hedren’s 92nd Birthday

The high note the actress also recalled attending a screening of the 2012 HBO film the girl, in which Sienna Miller portrays her grandmother. The film focused on Hitchcock’s relationship with Hedren – which was difficult for the family to watch.

“We sat down at HBO, my family, and watched this movie together,” Johnson said. “It was one of those times when you were like, ‘How could you not tell us?’ We’re in a room with executives. Maybe that warranted a little chat beforehand?”

During the viewing, she said she looked at her grandmother and saw “a woman who just remembered everything she went through, and it was heartbreaking.”

“She was an incredible actress and [Hitchcock] prevented her from having a career,” Johnson said.

Dakota Johnson, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith

Dakota Johnson, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Reps for Hedren, Johnson and Griffith did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Johnson echoed similar sentiments on The Hollywood Reporterit is Awards Speech podcast in November 2021, claiming that Hitchcock “ruined” Hedren’s career. However, her grandmother was always supportive when she started pursuing her own acting career.

RELATED: Tippi Hedren’s Allegations Against Alfred Hitchcock Resurface

“She was always very honest and tough in standing up for herself. That’s what she did. Hitchcock ruined her career because she didn’t want to sleep with him, and he terrorized her. He didn’t never been held responsible,” the star said last. year.

In his 2016 memoir titled Teepee, Hedren claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Hitchcock on several occasions during the filming of both films. She also recalled the allegedly inhumane conditions she endured (which Hitchcock insisted on) while filming the climactic scene of the 1963 horror thriller.

Hedren claimed Hitchcock would drive his driver past her house and once asked him to ‘touch him’ while they were working on The birds. She also said he once tried to force her to kiss him in the back of a limo, writing in her book, “It was a horrible, horrible moment.”

She explained that she didn’t tell anyone about the assault because “sexual harassment and bullying were terms that didn’t exist” in the early 1960s.

Alfred Hitchcock;  Teepee Hedren

Alfred Hitchcock; Teepee Hedren

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The actress recalled that things got out of hand when she worked with the filmmaker on Marnie, writing an instance where he showed up in his dressing room and “got his hands on me”. Hedren wrote, “It was sexual, it was kinky.”

Speaking to NPR in 2016, Hedren again pointed out that Hitchcock was openly threatening his career — and followed through on his statement.

“It became such a problem for me that I demanded to terminate the contract. And he said, ‘Well, you can’t, you have your daughter to support and your parents are getting old. And I said, ‘They wouldn’t want me in a situation where I’m not happy,'” she recalled at the time. “And he said, ‘Well, I’m going to ruin your career. And he did.”

“He just kept me under contract, paying me my salary, a lot of directors and producers wanted me for their film, but to get me, they had to go through him,” she explained.

On what she taught her daughter Griffith, 64, and granddaughter Johnson about Hollywood, “I think they just learned living with me. And actually, my experiences with Hollywood have been really wonderful, other than that, so I’m very happy and very busy.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to