A chance encounter with a tiger or a lion is most people's worst nightmare, but not Dakota Johnson's grandma, Tippi Hedren, whose love for the big felines borders on obsession.
Dubbed the "Tiger Queen of Hollywood," Tippi Hedren not only loves big cats but lives with 12-15 of them at a time at her home in Beverly Hills.
Hedren's unusual love for the big cats began while she was shooting a movie in Africa, back in 1969. While there, she visited a wildlife preserve and got her inspiration to make the 1981 movie "Roar."
Actress Tipi Hedren, mother of Melanie Griffiths stands on a hill overlooking her Saugus Animal reserve with a full grown male lion. November 16, 1983 on he mountainside in Saugus, California. | Source: Getty Images
She would have to raise the cubs for the movie herself, and this was the beginning of a lifelong love story between the now 90-year-old and her big cats.
But this adventure was not without its shortcomings. In the filming of the movie that would come to be dubbed as "the most dangerous film ever made," 70 crew members, including Hedren's then-husband Noel Marshall, were harmed.
Actress Tippi Hedren and her actress daughter Melanie Griffith posing with the lions at London Zoo, to promote the movie 'Roar', March 29th 1982.| Source: Getty Images
In 1971, she was featured in LIFE Magazine, which showed photos of the felines roaming her home in Beverly Hills. What seemed to her and her husband as unbeatable ideas back then now make her cringe. The Daily Mail reports her to have written in her memoir:
'I didn't learn until many years later how naive and stupid we were."
Even though it is reported that 70 people were hurt during the making of the movie, Hedren refutes the claims saying only about seven people sustained severe injuries.
Actress Tippi Hedren, mother of Melanie Griffiths, star of the Alfred Hitchcock horror film The Birds sits astride an Elephant at her Saugus Animal reserve November 17, 1983 at a table in Saugus, California. | Source: Getty Images
She says that her then-husband was in the hospital so many times, but not from anything fatal. The disaster, however, did not spare even her beloved daughter Melanie Griffith.
Griffith was clawed across the face, just close to her eye, by a young lion and had to undergo reconstructive surgery.
Hedren herself sustained a fractured leg and deep scalp wounds, while de Bont, their cinematographer, had to get 220 stitches on his head after a lion scalped him.
Tippi Hedren during The 18th Annual Genesis Awards and 50th Anniversary of the Humane Society of the United States - Pressroom at Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
She is back on the modeling scenes and this time she's modeling for Gucci's automatic watches and new jewels.
Despite the damage, Hedren did not forego her love for big cats, and today she lives on the animal sanctuary she established -Shambala Preserve in California.
Hedren's famous actress granddaughter Dakota Johnson confirmed that her grandmother still lives with her cats and though not as many as they used to be, there is still quite a number.
Tippi Hedren during 34th Annual AFI Lifetime Achievement Award: A Tribute to Sean Connery - Arrivals at Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
She says by the time she was born, they had reduced in number, and it was much safer than it was when they first started. Town and Country magazine reports Johnson to have said:
“She has 13 or 14. There used to be like 60 cats, and now there’s just a couple.”
Tippi Hedren during ROAR for Wildlife Global Conference at The Shambala Preserve in Acton, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
Hedren, who spend over a decade featuring on the covers of magazines like Life and Glamour, took a 6-decade hiatus from modeling to focus on films.
She is back on the modeling scenes, and this time she's modeling for Gucci's automatic watches and new jewels. These she showcases as she shows off her prowess in palmistry and crystal-ball reading.
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