Is Dakota Johnson extremely mellow about the sheer number of big cats owned by her grandmother, The Birds and Marnie star Tippi Hedren, because she’s so used to being around lions and tigers, or is that just Dakota Johnson’s whole vibe? Maybe she learned her mellowness from a lifetime of being around lions and tigers, because, as the actress told Graham Norton on The Graham Norton Show, Hedren is currently down to a reasonable “13 or 14 lions and tigers” from her original sixty.
“It is what it is,” jokes Johnson, reassuring viewers “she didn’t loose the leg” when Norton displayed a classic 1971 Life photo of her mother Melanie Griffith, then a teenager, roughhousing by Hedren’s pool with a full grown lion named Neil. (Please check out the entire photo gallery here; Joe Exotic would be sick with envy.)
Hedren’s interest in big cat advocacy lead her to found the Roar Foundation in 1983, which maintains the Shambala Preseve for exotic animals in Acton, California. She also later admitted it was “stupid beyond belief” to let nature’s grandest land predator chill by the pool with her child. Says Johnson, “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.”