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This Family Lived With A Real Lion Back In 1971
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Animals7 years ago

This Family Lived With A Real Lion Back In 1971

This series of intimate photographs from the 1970s of Neil the lion carries a chilling backstory that should remind us all that, no matter how much we might love them or feel close to them, we will never truly understand the mind of a wild animal.

After a trip to Africa, actress Tippi Hedren, her husband Noel Marshall, and their actress daughter Melanie Griffith, wanted to make a movie about lions. At the advice of Ron Oxley, an animal trainer who said that “to get to know about lions, you’ve got to live with them for a while,” they had Neil the lion live with them. Their life was documented by LIFE photographer Michael Rougier.

Their life with Neil seems to have been nice, but their movie, Roar, didn’t go quite so well. Melanie required 50 stitches after being attacked by a lioness that was part of the film, and cinematographer Jan de Bont had to have his scalp sewn back on. 70 people wound up being injured by the movie’s cast of 150 large predatory cats. The movie cost more than 17.5 million and made 2 million.

(h/t: mashable, guardian)

Neil the lion sleeping with Melanie Griffith in their home in Sherman Oaks, California, 1971

Melanie in a swimming pool with Neil (left) and a child playing with Neil (right)

Tippi Hedren resting her back on Neil while reading a newspaper

A housekeeper steps over Neil

Noel Marshall tries to work in his study with Neil on his desk

Tippi wrestling with Neil

Tippi raids the fridge and reads a newspaper with Neil

Melanie jumping into a swimming pool while Neil grabs her leg

Tippi playing with Neil

Neil in bed with Melanie

“Tiger Attack” from the movie “Roar

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Usagi
Community Member
7 years ago

It is cruel.... It is a WILD lion and a lion must live with a pack of lions not with humans like a kitten!

AďoMúdry
Community Member
7 years ago

cats were wild, dogs(wolves) were wild, hamster, rabbits, birds were wild... that lion seems to be happy, so whats your point

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MichaMaydogBoden
Community Member
7 years ago

Really brave!

RachidiAnas
Community Member
7 years ago

thhat's not brave that's foolish

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Aysi
Community Member
7 years ago

I wish i had a pet lion too ! and also tiger would be nice :D

RachidiAnas
Community Member
7 years ago

Lions are not pets, end of discussion

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Usagi
Community Member
7 years ago

It is cruel.... It is a WILD lion and a lion must live with a pack of lions not with humans like a kitten!

AďoMúdry
Community Member
7 years ago

cats were wild, dogs(wolves) were wild, hamster, rabbits, birds were wild... that lion seems to be happy, so whats your point

Load More Replies...
MichaMaydogBoden
Community Member
7 years ago

Really brave!

RachidiAnas
Community Member
7 years ago

thhat's not brave that's foolish

Load More Replies...
Aysi
Community Member
7 years ago

I wish i had a pet lion too ! and also tiger would be nice :D

RachidiAnas
Community Member
7 years ago

Lions are not pets, end of discussion

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