Togar the Lion

Since I was a little girl–I’ve always been fascinated by lions. My favorite books were Higglety Pigglety Pop! and Pierre (actually, one of my nicknames when I was very young was “Pierre” because I was constantly acting underwhelmed while sighing and saying “I don’t care.”). I also had a seasonal boyfriend from the time I was about 5–7 who was the lion tamer’s son for a big, traveling circus (we used to hold hands and watch the trapeze artists practice!). Big lion love 4 ever.

Anyways, I knew about Tippi Hedren’s work with big cats and that she and her family had lived with one, but I’d never seen the photographs until now. WHAT!!!?? It is so wild to see. I have unbridled lion envy… if that is possible. Can’t I just take a nap with one like young Melanie Griffith?? Can I just read for a few hours with a lion head pillow? Can I gleek pool water into a lion’s mouth? WHAT?

Even more strange to note is that Togar the Lion originally belonged to and lived with Anton LaVey. Because cohabitation with a giant lion just isn’t strange enough.

Images courtesy of LIFE. Photography by Michael Rougier.

30 Responses to “Togar the Lion”
  1. AnDee says:

    So amazing…Oh to be filthy rich…You can have the fancy car, I’ll take a lion, donkey, elephant…
    Just a thought. This guy could eat a whole shoe collection, at once, instead of ruining a pair…
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. petra says:

    wow, that’s all I can say. I want a lion, too!!!

  3. sheila says:

    want. lion. now.

  4. Kandace says:

    Wait, what! I want to hear more about the seasonal circus boyfriend….

  5. ronitphoto says:

    Lions are such magnificent creatures! These photos are amazing. Have you read Christian the Lion? If you love lions – you must!

  6. Oh my gosh, I thought it wasn’t a real lion at first then went to the computer to see it bigger and it’s huge…AND REAL! I love these photos so much, they are amazing and I have lion envy like crazy now!

  7. Kathleen says:

    This is completely insane. And pretty awesome. I’m also fairly sure it’s my toddler’s dream come true.

  8. april says:


  9. These photos made me gasp! And I now completely understand the envy.

    And I haven’t thought about Pierre in years and years and years. “I’ll let you fold the folding chair?” “I don’t care”. Oh Pierre and your ennui.

  10. Jess says:

    Get out of town!!! The lion in the bed killed me!

  11. Wwwhat!?! This is nuts, and all so beautiful. The shot of Tippi reading and leaning her head against that massive and gorgeous lion’s head is so… amazing. I mean, I’ve watched the hour long Animal Planet special about Christian the lion, but it still blows my mind to see images like this.

  12. Chuck says:

    I love this so much! It makes me happy. Thanks for posting. x

  13. Betty says:

    I have a lion waiting for me in heaven. His name is “Prince”.

  14. Samantha says:

    “In 1983 Tippi Hendren established the Shambala Preserve in California’s Mojave Desert, a wildlife sanctuary for lions and tigers. This lions name is Togar. He was brought to the sanctuary but had never been around any other lions. He had to live with humans or be put down. His teeth were pulled before he was brought to the sanctuary. This family took him in and loved him and he never hurt anyone.”