Tippi Hedren, actress & animal advocate

Tippi Hedren—the actress and longtime animal advocate, who recently published her memoir, “Tippi: A Memoir”—discusses Shambala Preserve, her sanctuary for rescued lions, tigers and other big cats that she established in 1972, and where Hedren, now 86 years old, still lives. y648She addresses the background and experiences animals of the who live there, and how the animal population of Shambala has evolved to where it now houses only big cats—in the past, two African elephants lived there. Curiously, despite the ongoing need for homes for tigers and other big cats that are the product of tiger cub photo/petting businesses, roadside zoos and various black market animal enterprises, Hedren notes that she is never contacted about taking in such animals at Shambala. She touches on the making of “Roar”—a cinematic undertaking that spanned more than a decade (and occupied a substantial portion of the memoir), beset with a long string of disasters, including escaped lions, numerous injuries to cast and crew, fires, floods and more; “Roar” was long ago called “the most dangerous movie everthis-one-49-roar-production-large_transuov8qdqatg5f-rc30df4dq6qexoqopcfkxqtcsqtxvk made,” and when given the chance in this interview, Hedren chooses not to dispute that description. While the section about the misadventures of “Roar,” constitutes by far the largest section of “Tippi,” yet nearly every review and story about the book has focused part she devoted to discussing her work and relationship with Alfred Hitchcock—understandable, given Hitchcock’s stature and, especially, that she alleges that director sexually assaulted her. Yet, when I bring that up in our interview, she laughs it off, dismissing its importance each time I try to follow-up on. We talk about other topics, including legislation to protect big cats, and her thoughts on how to respond to Ringling Bros., which has suspended the use of elephants in its circus, but still presents other animals, including tigers and lions. (www.shambala.org)


ALSO: I spoke with Joe Waltman, co-founder of VetPronto, a relatively new company that offers house-call veterinary services for dogs and cats. VetPronto was launched in San Francisco, and is now expanding to seven new cities, including New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Tampa. (www.vetpronto.com)

COMEDY CORNER: Nate Bergatze’s “Thinking About Buying A Home Security System? Consider A Tiger” (www.natebargatze.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Van Morrison’s “The Lion This Time,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: The Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)”


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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