Incredible photos of Neil, the pet lion of Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith, 1971

These photos are not staged and show Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, with her husband, Noel Marshall, their daughter, actress Melanie Griffith, and their lion, Neil.

In 1969, Hedren and Marshall were filming in Africa and came across an abandoned house inhabited by lions. The visuals inspired the couple to make a film that would help promote the conservation of this beautiful endangered species.

Marshall based his experience on writing a script titled Lions, Lions and More Lions; It was named Roar and focused on a family's misadventure in a research park filled with lions, tigers and other wild cats.

Animal trainer Ron Oxley advised him that "to learn anything about lions, you just have to be with them for a while." That's when the family moved in with Neil, a 400-pound (180 kg) mature lion.

The strange living conditions were documented in Life magazine in 1971. Photographs taken by Michael Rogier show how Neil enjoyed co-existence with Hayden's family, occasionally sharing a bed with them or hanging out by the pool.

Hedren later wrote a memoir in 1988 and admitted that allowing big cats to roam around the house was "foolish beyond belief".

Following complaints from their neighbors, Hayden and Marshall purchased a ranch in Acton outside Los Angeles that would serve as the set for Roar. They got permission to rescue and raise many lions, tigers, African elephants and other exotic cats there.

Filming began in 1974 and photography took just five years to complete. Every scene involving lions was improvised and shot with four or sometimes eight cameras.

Over 100 people worked on the film, as well as over 150 untrained lions, tigers, leopards and cheetahs. During production, no animals were hurt, but more than 70 members of the cast and crew were killed.

Hedren fractured her leg and also sustained wounds on her skull, when an elephant bit her from her back while she was riding. His neck was also bitten by a lion and he had to get 38 stitches; This incident can be seen in the film.

Melanie Griffith was also attacked, receiving 50 stitches on her face; It was feared that she would lose one eye, but she recovered and was not deformed.

Marshall was attacked so many times that he was eventually diagnosed with gangrene. In one of those incidents, he was pawed by a cheetah while protecting animals during a bush fire in 1979.

All the animals were decapitated, and he needed several years to recover from his injuries. In 1978, a flood destroyed the film's set and killed three lions.

The project was put back several years. Hedren said they were all determined to finish the film: "We were so sure that the film would be a success that we thought everything (financing the farm and the lions, etc.) would take care of itself."

Roar was released worldwide in 1981, with the exception of the United States, because, according to Hedren, "United States distributors wanted the lion's share of the profits, and we thought it would go to the beautiful animals who made the film." should go."

The film cost $17 million and grossed only $2 million, but it was a turning point in Hayden's life.

The film founded the 1983 non-profit organization The Roar Foundation and Hedren's Shambala Preserve, located on the edge of the Mojave Desert in Acton, California, between Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley, 40 miles (64 km) north- is situated in the east. Los Angeles. There are about 70 animals in Shambala.

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