Dakota Johnson Says Her Famous Grandmother Was “Terrorized” in Hollywood

Johnson says her grandmother Tippi Hedren, star of the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds, had her career “ruined” after fighting off the director’s sexual advances.

dakota johnson
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dakota Johnson comes from a line of Hollywood royalty: Her father, Don Johnson, and her mother, Melanie Griffiths, are both famed actors, while Griffiths’ mother, Tippi Hedren, was a silver screen star in the 1950s and 1960s. But in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Johnson spoke out for the first time about the negative experiences her grandmother had as a working actress.

Hedren is most known for her role as the lead in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror classic The Birds, in which the actress is relentlessly attacked by the titular villainous avians. But behind the scenes, Hedren was fending off a very different kind of attack: The relentless abuse of the film’s director. Hedren, now 91, wrote about being sexually assaulted by the director in her 2016 memoir, according to People—an experience that Johnson said left her grandmother with some important insight into working in Hollywood that she shared with her family.

dakota johnson tippi hedren and family

Johnson, Hedren, Griffiths, and Johnson’s half-sister Stella Banderas.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“I think the thing that she's been so amazing for me and with my mother [with] is [she’s] just like, ‘No you do not put up with that shit from anybody’," Johnson said, adding that Hedren has “always been really honest and firm about standing up for yourself.” She explained, “Hitchcock ruined her career because she didn't want to sleep with him, and he terrorized her. He was never held accountable."

Johnson teared up as she recounted how Hedren's experiences affect her view of Hollywood. "It's completely unacceptable for people in a position of power to wield that power over someone in a weaker position, no matter the industry," she said. "It's hard to talk about because she's my grandmother. You don't want to imagine somebody taking advantage of your grandmother."

So if you've admired Johnson’s ability to fearlessly call people out on their B.S., turns out it’s a family trait.