Stars I've Met — Tippi Hedren Tippi Hedren

In January 1991,

my partner Gerry and I took two friends, Mark and Charlotte, to Tippi Hedren's wild animal sanctuary Shamballa.

Tippi herself put in an appearance that day, showing off her latest rescue: a lion cub that someone had decided they couldn't keep as a pet. It was fun watching her wrastle the large kitty, seeing those furry baby paws almost as big as her hand, knowing that time would soon transform the kitten into a cat too dangerous to touch again.

The other notable experience that day: the other lions. Tourists like me walk a wide path between very tall chain link fences that keep in lions and the tourists apart.

Not appreciating just how wild many of the lions were, I made my way to within a few feet of one of the fences where a lioness was waiting several feet away. With a single lunge and deafening roar, she threw me back onto the correct path, literally.

I'll never forget how deeply into my chest the powerful lion's roar reached.

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