Tag Archives: marlon brando

Quite A Lady

Tippi Hedren.

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.

The Completion of the Conquest

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land and they took it.” – Anonymous Native American – Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown

120 years ago today, the final sad chapter in the government- and pulpit-sanctioned greed-justifying saga known as “Manifest Destiny” was written near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota.

It was on this date in 1890 that 150 (some reports say 300) Lakota Sioux men, women, and children were massacred by the U.S. 7th Cavalry in the final slaughter of the Plains Indian Wars.

The Lakota, who had seen their nomadic lifestyle decimated in armed conflicts with white settlers and the U.S. Army, had been forced onto reservations by the U.S. government and left beholden to corrupt and inefficient Indian Agents who failed to provide adequately for the tribes.

At this time an Indian holy man named Wovoka claimed he saw a vision that Jesus Christ would return as a Native American and bring back all the murdered Indians and buffalo while banishing whites from Indian lands. This, he preached, would only come about if Indians everywhere performed a “Ghost Dance.”

Ghost Dancing spread throughout the Plains, and after an attempt to stop the “messiah craze” led to the death of Chief Sitting Bull, a group of Indians left their reservation to find protection with Chief Red Cloud at the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The group was intercepted by the 7th Cavalry and led to the banks of Wounded Knee Creek to camp. When the army tried to disarm the Indians, a shot rang out, and they responded by opening fire from their Hotchkiss guns from the hills overlooking the encampment. When the shooting stopped, hundreds of Indians were dead, along with 31 soldiers, most of whom were cut down by friendly fire.

Eighty years after the massacre, historian Dee Brown’s best-selling book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee brought fame to the incident. The book has never gone out of print in the 40 years since it was first published, having sold over 4 million copies.

In 1973, a 71-day standoff at Wounded Knee between the FBI and activists from the American Indian Movement (AIM) became the talk of Hollywood. In the midst of the conflict, actor Marlon Brando, who supported AIM, refused to accept his Oscar for The Godfather at the 45th Academy Awards presentation because of the “poor treatment of Native Americans in the film industry.” His refusal was delivered by a Native American woman dressed in Apache clothing.

Today, the Pine Ridge Reservation is still one of the most miserable places on the continent. Its 28,000 residents are plagued with 85% unemployment, four times the national average for youth suicides, and one of the shortest life expectancies for any group in the Western Hemisphere.