Dakota Johnson says grandma Tippi Hedren still lives with 13 big cats

Embed from Getty Images
Dakota Johnson redeemed herself from those awful 50 Shades movies by being one of the first celebrities to openly call out Ellen DeGeneres for being a phony, essentially. A lot of us respect her for that. Dakota’s nerve to call it like she sees it may be due to the fact that she comes from an old Hollywood family. Dakota’s parents are Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith and her grandmother is legendary actress Tippi Hedren (The Birds, Marnie). Tippi is now 90 years old and she looks amazing. I’ve included a recent Instagram photo that Melanie Griffith posted of Tippi. Tippi has been an advocate for animal rights, particularly big cats, for decades. There are photos of Tippi in the 1960s living with tigers that look like something out of Tiger King. In a new interview with Graham Norton, Dakota revealed that her grandmother still lives with about 13 big cats.

Does Tippi still live with the big cats?
Yes she has 13 or 14 lions and tigers. There used to be like 60 cats and now there’s just a couple.

Do you remember this from when you were little?
By the time I was born they were all in huge compounds and it was a lot safer. It wasn’t totally as psycho as when they first started.

[From Graham Norton via People]

Judging from the photos on Melanie’s Instagram and how Dakota described it, the lions and tigers have large outdoor spaces now and aren’t lying on the couch in her living room. I also bet she has a team of people taking care of them for her, and that she doesn’t spare expenses keeping them fed and housed. (I have to mention that after seeing Tiger King.) Tippi has the Shambala Preserve in Acton, California, which takes in circus animals including elephants and big cats which are dependent on humans. It’s maintained by Tippi’s non-profit, the Roar foundation. I would bet that’s what Dakota is referring to.

Here’s that interview clip. Do you think she’s in Chris Martin’s house? There are tons of sound panels and instruments around her.

View this post on Instagram

This is 90 ✨🖤✨

A post shared by Tippi Hedren (@tippihedrenofficial) on

View this post on Instagram

Happy Mother’s Day! 🖤

A post shared by Tippi Hedren (@tippihedrenofficial) on

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

22 Responses to “Dakota Johnson says grandma Tippi Hedren still lives with 13 big cats”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. FrenchGirl says:

    Tigers are not cats or even big cats .They are savage animals who must live in freedom.

    • Pose83 says:

      This isn’t always possible when they become dependant on humans. I think it’s a beautiful thing Tippi is doing. They don’t appear to used for entertainment, they’re just big pets.

      Now ‘taming’ them in the first place? That is a different story.

    • nic says:

      Those aren’t mutually exclusive terms.

    • Athyrmose says:

      “Big cat(s),” is a phrase used by people working with these animals. It’s used to classify the animals into a subgroup. It’s not a superficial term of endearment.

    • Jules says:

      Simple fact: tigers are cats. And they are big.

    • Bluepen says:

      They’re super social cats, to be distinguished from solitary tigers, who are harder to tame (questions of whether we should be taming big cats in the first place aside). Lions need social connections and can develop very strong relationships with people. Check out the Lion Whisperer / Kevin Richardson in SA. His cats all would have ended up in canned hunting. Given the loss of habitat, the ever-present threat of poachers, etc, adopting rescue lions is fine, I believe. Check out canned hunting videos if you don’t agree. And look up that awful dentist who paid to kill a beautiful lion in its prime and had people going, “Well, it helps the lion conservation industry to sacrifice a few of these.” What a sick take. No, setting up sanctuaries and monetising them like Kevin Richardson has is the only ethical choice.

  2. Julie Smith says:

    If they are rescued circus animals then good for her, but the old photos are awful – those beautiful creatures are not toys to be left lying around the house.

  3. Nievie says:

    See this doesn’t sit well with me- not the rescuing part, but the glamorizing of having them. Less capable people will look at this as an ‘oh yes I can keep a lion with my kids..’

    They are wild animals and unless you’ve got about 10,000 years of evolution and selective breeding on your side they will never be ‘pets’ or ‘domesticated’. Regardless of how familiar with humans these big cats are you have to respect the boundaries. I mean you can keep a moose as a pet but it still has the capability to kick your head clean off and probably will at some stage.

  4. So-called says:

    I agree the “she still keeps big cats” is different from “running a rescue sanctuary”. It’s not clear. Did granny’s PR turn the selfishness of “keeping” into “running a sanctuary?

    • pottymouth pup says:

      she, eventually, created a legit rescue but it started out as a friggen shitshow

  5. jferber says:

    Tippi Hedren is gorgeous!

  6. Allergy says:

    Tippi Hedren’s memoir was interesting read.

  7. Marjorie says:

    Tippi Hedren doesn’t have a cruel bone in her body. She’s never harmed an animal. She’s 90, it wasn’t always 2020 during her life.

    • manda says:

      omg thank you. Let’s criticize this old lady for photos taken 30, 40, 50 years ago

  8. ChillyWilly says:

    I can’t believe Tippi and Melanie didn’t get eaten by those lions. I love cats but hell no to that pic of Melanie in the pool!! You can never truly tame a wild animal.
    How did Tippi get so wealthy anyway? She only made a few movies. She looks fantastic!

    • lucy2 says:

      I just looked her up, she’s actually got a pretty long resume in film and tv.
      I hope her sanctuary really is that and is responsibly run now. It’s a wonderful thing to give a home to animals which can’t go back to the wild, but I hope it’s all safe and healthy for everyone.

  9. Jules says:

    I kinda love it how over it Dakota sounds in this interview, like she is annoyed by the questions, annoyed with Norton. Which makes me wonder, does she roll her eyes at Goop, too?

    • Storminsteacup says:

      I like her quiet, self-assured no BS personality. She strikes me as someone that does not suffer fools gladly (as seen on Ellen’s show) that was the end of the interview so she seemed bored of those lion questions. Norton is usually pretty funny when he’s got different guests together on the couch.

  10. Andrea says:

    I completely forgot about this! It would be great to hear Melanie’s thoughts on the big cats too.

  11. Amy says:

    I read her book, “The Cats of Shambala” after seeing ROAR for the first time several years ago. Tippi was breeding them at one time, which is how she ended up with a tigon, but later realized it was the wrong thing to do and now has this sanctuary. She had a big cat escape her Beverly Hills mansion once and run down the street. Luckily, she caught it fast, but she was once doing all of this in secret! She also took in Anton LaVey’s old lion, which was very abused all his life and quite vicious when she first got him. Fascinating book — I highly recommend it.

    I think she’s done a lot for animals but she was definitely naive about all of this stuff in the beginning. Seeing those pics of young Melanie in bed with a lion just makes you cringe. They’re VERY lucky to have survived all that.