I couldn’t let the month end without sending belated birthday wishes out to a very special neighbor of ours.
This woman, like many good neighbors, works a lot around the house, does a ton of volunteer work, as is famous for loving her cats.
But in her case, the house she putters around is called the Shambala Preserve, and much of her volunteer work goes towards housing and feeding her cats – some which weigh hundreds of pounds!
You see, this special neighbor happens to be movie legend Tippi Hedren, who rescues lions, leopards, ligers, tigers, and bobcats at her preserve near Acton, California.
Tippi’s Shambala Preserve, which is maintained by the Roar Foundation, grew out of a film that she starred in and produced in the early 80s called Roar, which was filmed at Shambala’s current home on Soledad Canyon Road.
She began rescuing exotic cats a short time later, and today Shambala houses over 70 exotic wild animals, including Michael Jackson’s Bengal tigers which she acquired when Neverland Ranch closed.
Working around wild animals is a cakewalk compared to the stress Tippi must have felt making her film debut in 1963 for legendary director Alfred Hitchcock in The Birds.
Before this, Tippi worked as a model. Hitchcock was first captivated by her striking Nordic beauty after seeing her in a television commercial. She was directed by Hitchcock again the following year in Marnie.
While her days with Hitchcock are well documented, most people forget that she also appeared in Charlie Chaplin’s final film in 1967, called A Countess From Hong Kong. In all likelihood, Tippi is the only person to have ever worked for both of the two knighted English film masters.
Countess was filmed in London after Chaplin was exiled from the United States. Tippi co-starred in the film with Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, and Chaplin’s own son Sydney.
Tippi, who celebrated a birthday on January 19, works tirelessly to support Shambala, to get laws passed that prevent the breeding of exotic cats as pets, and somehow still finds time to appear in the occasional film and television role.
Tippi will be at ChaplinFest this weekend to help us honor the 75th anniversary of the release of Chaplin’s landmark silent comedy Modern Times, which had its final scene filmed just a few miles from the Shambala Preserve. ChaplinFest kicks off the evening of Friday, February 4, and continues all day Saturday, February 5 at the William S. Hart Park.
We will be placing a monument honoring the final scene inside the park on Saturday at 3 PM, and later that evening, Tippi will be interviewed by Leonard Maltin before a dinner and a special screening of Modern Times inside Hart Hall.
Tickets are still available! For information, please check here.
And speaking of ChaplinFest, did you happen to catch our article on the cover of AOLNEWS.COM yesterday? You can read it here. Here is a picture from the home page yesterday.