Neil, the Lion

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These pictures, taken in 1971 by LIFE photographer Michael Rougier, show how Hitchcock’s “The Birds” star and animal rights activist Tippi Hedren, her daughter actress Melanie Griffith, and her husband Noel Marshall lived day-to-day together with Neil the lion. In 1969, Hedren and Marshall were filming in Africa and came across an abandoned house inhabited by lions. The scenery made the couple want to make a film that would help promote the preservation of this beautiful endangered species. Animal trainer Ron Oxley advised them to live with a lion for a while to get to know what they are really like. That’s when the family moved to a remote ranch in California to live with their lion.

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