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The Crazy Family Who Lived With A Lion And The Tragic End

By Karly Carpena
March 18, 2016

Tippi Hedren, Noel Marshall and their daughter Melanie Griffith are not just a unique family for having made significant contributions to the movie industry (Tippi was the star of the movie “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock, and Marshall was executive producer of “The Exorcist”).

In fact, the family spent much of their life living on a farm in California where they shared not only the garden, but the living room and even the bed with a real lion. This crazy experiment was undertaken in order to film the catastrophic movie that was ‘Roar’ (1981). It was in production for 11 years and cost $17 million.

During a trip to Africa in the 70’s, the family came across an abandoned house that had been overtaken by lions. This was, ultimately, the exact moment they decided they wanted to create a movie based on this scene. The main idea of the movie was to educate the world about the danger of the extinction of lions, tigers and many other wild beasts. But first, they needed to learn how to live with them.


The photo below shows beautiful Neil, the lion who was part of the routine of the house for many years. As we can see, he appears to be participating in common activities just like any other pet.






In the story of Roar, a researcher lived in his house with 150 beasts including lions and tigers. In the scene in which his family came to visit him, total carnage commenced. The only problem is that the predatory instincts of beasts occurred not only in the movie, but in real life, too.


In total, more than 70 crew members were injured, including Melanie, their youngest daughter, who had to get 50 stitches on her face as a result. Not only this, but the film maker, Jan de Bont, had his scalp ripped off.


What was supposed to be a way to prevent the extinction of lions in Africa almost became a way to extinguish the cast of the film, instead.


After all the money spent on the production of the movie and all members of the crew injured, ‘Roar’ cost $17.5 million to make and earned only $2 million at the box offices. The producers lost a whopping $15 million for, well, nothing, really.


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