The Roar Foundation & Shambala Preserve
A Minnesota girl of Scandinavian parentage
With over twenty films and numerous television appearances, Tippi Hedren has been involved in a wide variety of humanitarian and environmental causes, almost overshadowing her screen work.
As volunteer International Relief Coordinator for "FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY", she traveled worldwide to set up relief programs following earthquakes, hurricanes, famine and war. She aided "boat people" in the South China Sea from a "FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY" rescue ship. Lobbying efforts on behalf of Asian refugees have taken her before Congress and have earned her numerous awards including the "Humanitarian Award" presented to her by the B'hai Faith. She has been honored by the USO for entertaining troops in Vietnam and by the CELEBRITY OUTREACH FOUNDATION for her charitable work.
She began her long love affair with wild animals in 1969 while doing a film, Satan's Harvest, in Africa. She "met" a mellow lion, and much of her life since then has been devoted to the big cats.
Deeply involved with international conservation groups to save wildlife, and an outspoken voice against cruelty to animals, both wild and domestic, she's a board member of "The Wildlife Safari", founded by her friend, Frank Hart, in Winston, Oregon. She also served on the board of "The Elsa Wild Animal Appeal" founded by her friend, the late Joy Adamson. And currently, she is on the Board of Directors of Earth Communications Office (ECO), and President of the newly-formed "American Sanctuary Association." Her other charity work includes serving on The Board of Directors of The Women's Council of KCET (Channel 28), The Minnesota Film Council, The American Heart Association, The March of Dimes, Multiple Sclerosis, International Orphans, Inc., and several AIDS causes. She has been honored with "The Helen Woodward Animal Center's Annual Humane Award" (1995), the prestigious Founder's Award from the American Society or the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (1996) and the "Lion and Lamb Award" from Wildhaven (1997) for her work on behalf of animal rights and conservation.
Perhaps Tippi Hedren's most unique endeavor is being "den mother" and close friend to sixty-odd big cats - lion, tiger, leopard, cougar, and serval at The Roar Foundation's Shambala Preserve near Acton, California.
The high desert animal preserve is home to the felines and pachyderms and was first established as an African-type set for the motion picture, Roar, which Tippi co-produced and starred in with her daughter, film actress Melanie Griffith. After the five year filming was completed, it became the current, non-profit center for big cat care and research.
In keeping with her outlook on the environment and conservation, many of Shambala's residents are cast-offs from private owners, zoos and circuses. "They're living out their lives in safety and comfort." The Preserve is open to the public on a reservation basis. Tippi is founder and President of The Roar Foundation and resides at Shambala in a cottage surrounded by big cat compounds. "I awaken to their roars." The story of Tippi's life and the animals "dearest to her heart" was told in Simon & Schuster's The Cats of Shambala (1985). An updated edition will soon be available in paperback.
Several documentaries have been produced about the Shambala Preserve including, Lions: Kings of the Serengeti by the Richard Diercks Co, Inc. which won the Telly Award in 1995 for outstanding video documentary; and Life With Big Cats (1998), produced for Animal Planet, which won the Genesis Award for best documentary in 1999.
Tippi continues to work frequently in motion pictures, theatre, episodic and cable television, and her contributions to world cinema have been honored with Life Achievement awards in France at The Beauvais Film Festival Cinemalia 1994, and in Spain by The Fundacion Municipal De Cine in 1995. In 1999, Tippi was honored as "Woman of Vision" by Women of Film and Video in Washington, D.C., and received the Presidential Medal for her work in film from Hofstra University. And in 2000, Tippi was honored as "Best Actress in a Comedy Short" in the film "Mulligans!" at the Method Fest, Independent Film Festival, and in 2002, Tippi won "best Actress" for the short film "Tea With Grandma" from the New York International Independent Film Festival.