What the Hell Happened to Melanie Griffith?
Melanie Griffith is the daughter of Hollywood icon, Tippi Hedren, an Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner. She rose to the A-list in the 80s working with directors like Brian De Palma, Mike Nichols and Jonathan Demme. But after a promising decade, she stumbled and fell off the a-List in the 90s.
What the hell happened?
Griffith was born into show business. Her mother, Tippi Hedren, is best known for the films she made with Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds and Marnie. Hedren suffered numerous indignities at the hands of the legendary director. Griffith was a child at the time and remembers a strange gift from Hitchcock.
“It was, like, a coffin box… and I opened it up and in it was a doll of my mother from The Birds… It was, like, made by the studio. Can you imagine the psychological effect (of that)… He was a very weird guy.”
That’s for sure. Although, Hitchcock probably never slept with a lion.
Yes, Griffith grew up with a lion named Neil for a pet.
Hedron later regretted allowing a full-grown lion to sleep in her daughter’s bed and hang out by the pool. “We were stupid beyond belief to have that lion in our house,” she admitted. I’m guessing she feels the same way about Don Johnson.
Griffith’s biological father, Peter Griffith, was also in “the biz” as an actor and producer. Her parents divorced when she was only four years old. Her father re-married a model/actress and her mother re-married agent/producer, Noel Marshall. Given this upbringing, it is no surprise that Griffith started doing commercials at nine moths old. At the age of 12, Griffith made her movie debut with an uncredited role in the Glenn Ford movie, Smith.
At age 14, Griffith had another uncredited role in her mother’s movie, The Harrad Experiment. James Whitmore starred as a college professor who oversees a bizarre and controversial social experiment at Harrad College. The experiment involves pairing up incompatible members of the opposite sex to make them confront their sexuality. Hedren played Whitmore’s wife who helps oversee the shenanigans.
Don Johnson, who was 22 years old at the time, played one of the horny college co-eds in the movie. Despite a seven-year age difference, Griffith and Johnson began dating. Three years later, they were married. According to Griffith, their relationship was failing and they decided to tie the knot out of desperation. “We thought if we were married and it still didn’t work, we’d divorce.” Six moths later, that’s exactly what happened.
In 1975, Griffith graduated to credited roles. In The Drowning Pool, Griffith (who was seventeen at the time) played a promiscuous whose mother is caught up in a blackmail scheme. Her mother was played by Joanne Woodward who in real life was married to the movie’s star, Paul Newman. Newman reprised his role from the 1966 film, Harper, in which he played a detective. The sequel was not as successful as the original.
Later that year, Griffith played a beauty pageant contestant in Michael Ritchie’s satirical comedy, Smile. Bruce Dern starred in the movie which was adapted into a musical by Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman in the eighties.
Next: Night Moves and Joyride
Posted on January 5, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged Antonio Banderas, brian de palma, don jonson, melanie griffith, Something Wild, tippi hedren, working girl. Bookmark the permalink. 190 Comments.