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Tippi Hedren is the Cat’s Meow

Entertainment Tonight, Friday, February 26, 2010, 12:02am (PST)

It will surely be a special mother-daughter bonding moment when Melanie Griffith presents her mother, Tippi Hedren, with The 24th Genesis Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tippi is a spokesperson for wild animals in captivity. She first developed a passion for large cats in the late 1960s while filming in Africa. Sharing the screen with her daughter, she later starred alongside 50 lions in 1981's 'Roar.' This experience made her grow concerned for the animals' welfare by being held captive, especially those animals that are bought and sold as exotic pets.

"She started speaking out against the commercial breeding and private ownership of big cats years before it became a widely recognized problem," acknowledged Beverly Kaskey, a senior director from The Humane Society of the United States and executive producer of the awards gala.

The actress took steps to shine light on the subject by founding The Roar Foundation's Shambala Preserve in 1983. The California refuge offers a safe haven to 68 felines who were sent away from circuses, zoos, and private residences. Tippi also influenced the passing of The Captive Wildlife Safety Act through Congress in 2003.

This top honor from The Humane Society of the United States will be presented to the actress on Saturday, March 20 at the Beverly Hilton. Tippi also shared her opinion with ET about the orca whale that killed his trainer this week at Sea World.

Related stories: Antonio Banderas on Melanie's Return to Rehab: I Am Very Proud of Her 

 Melanie Griffith Undergoes Cancer Surgery 
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