He wasn't your typical houseguest. When Neil the lion came to live with Tippi Hedren, her whole life turned upside down.
In 1969, Neil moved in with The Birds star Tippi Hedren her husband, producer Noel Marshall and daughter, actress Melanie Griffith. Hedren and Marshall were inspired to write the film Roar while on set for another film in Africa, when they came across an abandoned house full of lions. Ron Oxley, Neil's trainer, suggested that they live with Neil for a while to get a sense of what they were like. So, Hedren moved the family to an isolated ranch in California to live with the big cat.
Although their experience with Neil was a good one one, Melanie, Tippi and Noel were all seriously injured by exotic animals during the 11-year filming of Roar. Melanie was mauled and received 50 stitches, and Tippi was bitten on the neck by a lion requiring 38 stitches.
In her memoir, Hedren remembers the sickening feeling in her stomach when she saw Neil sleeping next to Melanie in bed.
"One night I went down to find them both asleep, side by side...it was a sight some mothers might not relish."
For the scary night that Neil attacked click to the next page!