Tippi: a Memoir by Tippi Hedren


If you do not know the name Tippi, you probably know her face. Tippi Hedren starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s,The Birds, playing the character Melanie Daniels. The role was Hedren’s film debut in 1963. Previously, she had modeled and starred in commercials. It was a television commercial that caught the eye of the famous director. Hitchcock told his staff to find the girl in the advertisement and they did what they were told. Tippi received a phone call letting her know that, “a famous director was interested in her”. No one would tell her who the famous director was but she was thrilled to find out that it was Alfred Hitchcock. Tippi signed a contract with him and starred in two of his films: The Birds and Marnie.

You may have heard that Tippi Hedren has said that Hitchcock sexually harassed her. And that he sexually assaulted her. While Tippi goes into some detail about the harassment, she will not reveal the full story of the assault. So if that is your only interest in the book, then you will be disappointed. There is a movie about Tippi and Hitchcock working together and there are scenes where Hitchcock is being inappropriate. The Girl (which was Hitchcock’s nickname for Tippi) was a HBO movie that is now on DVD. And if you don’t subscribe to HBO, you are in luck. You can check it out from the library. I watched the movie before I read the book ( I know, I know. Bad librarian!) and it made me interested to learn more about Tippi Hedren. Hence, that is why I read the book and why I am now writing this blog.

So even though Tippi went through a difficult time being an actress for Alfred Hitchcock, she continued to work in other films. But the big story in Tippi is that she ended up being the caretaker of several large cats. I do not want to tell the entire story, or how Tippi and her husband, Noel Marshall, thought it would be a great idea to have their own pride of lions to make a film about. The stories about her adventures in raising lion cubs are quite funny (and sometimes scary). Tippi also had tigers, cheetahs and leopards. There was also a Liger. Eventually they were forced to move out of Hollywood so they could live somewhere large enough to take care of all the big cats. They even acquired an elephant. Now the place is called Shambala. You can learn more about the place and the ROAR foundation at Shambala. Or read the book, Tippi: a Memoir.

The Birds
The Girl




A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall

Perhaps I thought about this blogging assignment a bit less conventionally, because the pet I read about is, if you didn’t guess it from the title, a lion.   A Lion Called Christian by Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall tells the story of how the two men bought a male lion cub named Christian from a department store in London back in the ’70s (who knew they sold lions?!) and cared for him for several months.  For the bulk of this time, the guys and their lion lived above a furniture store, where Christian got to play and interact with the customers.  Ace and John learned how to train Christian, feed him, and play with him in a safe way.  As Christian got older and more restless, the two men knew that something had to change and found a way to move him to Africa after being “rehabilitated” and learning how to survive in the wild with a pride.

This book was very interesting and I learned a lot about lions from it.  Even though I’m sure Christian’s story is unusual, it was fun to hear about how lion cubs play and interact.  The end was very inspiring; it was clear that Ace and John had nothing but Christian’s best interests at heart.  Though I hate to spoil the ending of the book for you, I simply must direct you to this YouTube video.  It’s actually how I originally heard Christian’s story, and it’s really heartwarming.