BETWEEN THE LIONS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Profile - Tippi: a Mem­oir

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

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