Dakota Johnson: Grandma Tippi still has ‘psycho’ tigers after bloody attacks
May 25, 2020 | 9:36am | Updated May 25, 2020 | 11:05am
Before “Tiger King” scratched his way into household name status — there was a tiger queen.
Actress Dakota Johnson has revealed that her 90-year-old grandmother, Tippi Hedren, still has “13 or 14 lions and tigers,” having downsized from her original 60 or so.
Yes, “The Birds” star is also a big cat collector. The Hitchcock blonde even co-starred with her lions and tigers in then-husband Noel Marshall’s infamous indie film “Roar,” which resulted in 70 on-set injuries, including a scalped cinematographer and a savagely mauled leading lady.
During an interview Friday on the UK’s “The Graham Norton Show,” the host displayed a classic 1971 Life magazine photo of Johnson’s mom, actress Melanie Griffith, taking a dip in the family pool with a massive lion named Neil.
“It is what it is,” said Dakota Johnson, 30, reassuring Norton’s viewers that her mom “didn’t lose the leg.”
Melanie Griffith takes a dip with Neil the lion at home in Sherman Oaks, California, in 1971. The LIFE Picture Collection via
Big cat lady Tippi Hedren and her actress granddaughter Dakota Johnson. Getty Images
The 2015 re-release poster for the 1981 film “Roar.” Everett Collection
Hedren reads a newspaper as she leans against her pet lion Neil. The LIFE Picture Collection via
Hedren snuggles with Neil in 1971. The LIFE Picture Collection via
It appears Neil is ready to be fed by Hedren. The LIFE Picture Collection via
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Still, Hedren and Marshall’s menagerie is an infamously bloody part of cinematic legend. “Roar,” co-starring Hedren, Marshall and Griffith, has been described as a “suicide mission” and “the most disaster-plagued film in the history of Hollywood.”
Hedren recounted in her 1988 memoir how Griffith did leave the film at one point, saying, “Mother, I don’t want to come out of this with half a face.” However, Griffith eventually returned to set — only to be mauled by a cat so severely she required reconstructive plastic surgery.
Hedren, who divorced Noel Marshall in 1982, later admitted “it was amazing no one was killed.” Still, her enduring interest in big cat advocacy led her to found the Roar Foundation in 1983, which maintains the Shambala Preseve for exotic animals in Acton, California.
“Dad was a f - - king a - - hole to do that to his family,” Hedren’s former stepson, Dakota Johnson Marshall, told The Post in 2015. As a teen, John agreed to star with his dad, stepmom and stepsister in the bizarre project that dragged on for 11 years. “It seemed like a really cool idea at the beginning — but it was dangerous.”
“Fifty Shades” franchise star Dakota Johnson, however, downplays the danger.
“By the time I was born, they were all in huge compounds and it was a lot safer — and it wasn’t as total psycho as it was when they first started,” she told Norton in their virtual chat. “You weren’t just lion bait by the pool?” the host responded with a chuckle. “Mmmm, a baby, delicious!”