Growing up we were excited to have a pet cat or dog… or even a fish… to take under our wing but childhood for Melanie Griffiths was a little bit different.

Although with actress Tippi Hedren as a mother and producer Noel Marshall as a  step-father, that isn’t particularly surprising. Instead of a lovable Labrador or purring Persian, Griffiths had a pet lion in her teen years and the photos of the family pet are impressive. 

The sheer stature and mane of the big cat definitely indicate that Neil was anything but a regular pet. 

But why a lion you ask? It was ultimately research for the families’ own movie titled ‘Roar’ after they were inspired by the kings of the jungle while working in Africa. 

The movie had a hefty budget, however, with Hedren and Marshall using 150 big cats to film the movie – costing over $17.5 million to produce. 

The above photos were taken in 1971 in their family home in California. Melanie was 19 at the time. 

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