BETWEEN THE LIONS
I am not good at being married. I had three marriages and never again … I always knew when it was time to leave and I was out.
Being a parent was important. I only had Melanie, but I was really happy with her. Being a mother had a lot to do with instinct. I hope I encouraged her independence and self-belief.
My acting career wasn’t planned. It just happened. I never set out to start a dynasty. I’m extremely proud of what Melanie and Dakota have accomplished on their own. When we meet, we rarely discuss work. Sometimes I watch their films. Dakota asked me not to watch Fifty Shades of Grey, so I haven’t.
I am pretty good at looking after myself emotionally. I acted with some handsome men — you bet I did. Rod Taylor, Sean Connery, Marlon Brando, John Saxon. There was never any romance there, though. Big cats have held a fascination for me since 1969, when I was in Zimbabwe filming Satan’s Harvest. My husband at the time, Noel Marshall, and I were entranced by lions. In order to make a film, Roar, we acquired some cubs, and I learned how to bring them up and work around their unpredictable nature. After several troubled years in the making, Roar was released. It was a dangerous project. Many people got hurt. Out of that project came my big-cat sanctuary. The set became a home for the animals we’d collected. It costs me $US1 million a year to run. by Tippi Hedren is out now, published by Harper Collins. Hitchcock actress
86, has been married three times, has one daughter, actress Melanie Griffith, and Dakota Johnson is one of her three grandchildren. She lives on a big-cat sanctuary in California. This is her story, in her own words
Tippi Hedren with her pet lion Neil in 1971; below, with director Alfred Hitchcock and at Shambala in California