Tippi Hedren: Oh, Don’t Mind Our Pet Lion

Tippi Hedren, an extraordinarily talented actress, perhaps  most memorable from her role is in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds once had a pet lion named Neil.

Neil, a 400 pound, fit male lion walked around the house like any kitty would. Here, we explore the images that attest to his freedom to roam the kitchen, living room and of-course lounge around by the pool.

But her role as an animal-rights activist and conservationist might well be Hedren’s most lasting legacy. For decades, her Roar Foundation and the animal sanctuary, Shambala Preserve, in California have advocated for big (and not so big) cats from lions and leopards to bobcats and servals and she’s been honored with a host of humanitarian and conservation awards through the decades.

Tippi and Neil
neil the lion playing
melanie griffith and neil the lion

Tippi Hedren has since revealed that she finds these images humiliating and should have never taken those risks. This is merely a trip to the 70’s and should not be taken as a go ahead to pet a lion.

neil the lion by swimming pool
the kids playing with neil the lion
Neil the Lion
Tippi Hedren and neil

Words by Khumoetsile Seamogano

Images by LIFE Magazine

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