Arts and Entertainment
Melanie Griffith grew up with a lion
Melanie Griffith’s childhood home was a lion’s den — literally.
The actress spent her teenage years living with a pet lion named Neil after her parents — Hitchcock muse Tippi Hedren and stepfather Noel Marshall — decided to make a film about the big cats.
A photo series taken by LIFE photographer Michael Rougier show that Neil was treated like another member of the family at their Sherman Oaks, Calif., home in the 1970s. The full-sized lion played in their outdoor pool, lounged around the house and even grabbed a bite to eat from the fridge.
In one photo, a maid was forced to take a particularly large step over a sleeping Neil, who was outstretched in the family kitchen for a cat nap.
Neil seemed to bond with the entire family, spending time with Marshall in his study and acting as a pillow while Hedren read the newspaper.
A few photos show a 14-year-old Griffith curling up in her bed with Neil, who has his own red blanket to cover up with.
A particularly jarring shot shows Griffith jumping into the pool and Neil’s mouth wide open and his paw outstretched to grab her leg.
The whole family starred in the film “Roar,” which took 11 years to make. It was a box- office flop that resulted in numerous cast and crew injuries, including Griffith getting 50 stitches after being bit by one of the furry felines.