Pets

The Hollywood Pet Set: 12 A-Listers With Their Animal Companions

More bark than bite? At least at home, that's the rule for the industry's top dogs, from NBC's Robert Greenblatt to CAA's David O'Connor, as they reveal the bonds -- whether canine, feline or equine -- that bring indescribable bliss.
Photographed by Ramona Rosales on July 23 at Sutter's Bel-Air house
Ramona Rosales

From left: Lily Tomlin and Tippi Hedren with Shere Khan (mixed-breed tiger)
Photographed by Frank W. Ockenfels 3 on July 18 at Shambala Preserve in Acton, Calif.


Here's a strange piece of film trivia: Nearly all of the surviving "Hitchcock blondes" — the fair-haired actresses who peopled Alfred Hitchcock's classics — are great animal lovers. The Man Who Knew Too Much's Doris Day, 91, is a leading advocate for dogs and cats and lives with six and 10, respectively, in Carmel, Calif. Vertigo's Kim Novak, 80, married an equine veterinarian, adores horses and has owned as many as 20 llamas on their Oregon ranch. Rebecca and Suspicion's Joan Fontaine, 95, who also lives in Carmel, has four canine companions, all adopted from the SPCA. Then there's Tippi Hedren, 83, star of The Birds and Marnie, who literally lives on — and runs with longtime associate Chris Gallucci with help from friends like Oscar nominee Lily Tomlin — a big-cat sanctuary, the Shambala Preserve, in Acton, just an hour's drive from Los Angeles.

PHOTOS: Doggie Treats: 7 Ways to Pamper Your Pooch

Since Hedren first encountered a pride of lions in 1969 while working in Africa on the movie Satan's Harvest, she has been smitten with big cats. She, her then-husband, producer Noel Marshall, and her daughter, actress Melanie Griffith, made a film, 1981's Roar, to increase awareness of the endangered species.

Hedren also began acquiring lions that had been bred and raised throughout the U.S. as pets — often in despicable conditions — initially housing them in her former Sherman Oaks house. She eventually boarded them at what is now Shambala in some of the 40-plus compounds on its 72 acres. "Pretty soon, the board was more than the mortgage," she recalls, "so we bought the place." Hedren began living in a cottage on the property in 1976 and grew to love its inhabitants "more than my next breath." In 1983, she established the nonprofit Roar Foundation, and Shambala has been a center for big-cat care and research ever since, protecting animals that never could be returned to the wild and subsisting on gifts from private donors like herself (Hedren doesn't take a salary). "I have to raise $75,000 every month to keep the whole thing going," she says, confessing, "I really need help — it's close to dire." Hedren cites advisory board members Tomlin and Betty White as particularly supportive of Shambala's 43 residents of lions, leopards, bobcats and lynxes. "If they need a home, we take them," says Hedren. "Our endeavor is to give the animals the best life they could possibly have in captivity." — SCOTT FEINBERG

 

Robert Greenblatt with Redford (Doberman pinscher)
Photographed by Ramona Rosales on July 19 at Greenblatt's Hollywood Hills house

Television writers visiting NBC Entertainment chairman Greenblatt's office in Burbank might notice an occasional extra guest sitting in on pitch meetings. Redford, Greenblatt's 4-year-old, 65-pound brown-and-tan Doberman, has been known to accompany his owner around the studio lot on days he's not dropped off at Sam's Green Paw day care in Studio City.

PHOTOS: THR's Pets: 72 Adorable Photos of Our Furry (and Scaly) Best Friends

"The minute I saw him, I fell in love, though he was standoffish at first," says Greenblatt, 52, of his first encounter with Redford two years ago at a rescue facility in the San Fernando Valley. These days, their close bond — on a recent afternoon, Greenblatt expertly calmed Redford, who was a bit agitated by THR's camera crew — is being put to the test.

Redford — named for his auburn coat, not the actor, though the executive says he's a fan — was diagnosed this year with potentially fatal bladder cancer and underwent five rounds (and counting) of chemotherapy with Greenblatt at his side. The good news is that Redford isn't showing symptoms of the cancer and has plenty of energy, but Greenblatt knows the future for his furry friend is uncertain. "The doctors say he could live for years, or he might not," he says. "We just don't know." — MATTHEW BELLONI

 

David O'Connor and Lona Williams with (from left) Jodi (mixed breed), Otis (boxer) and Rosie (basset hound)
Photographed by Ramona Rosales on July 21 at O'Connor and Williams' Brentwood house

Otis, a large boxer, is licking and slobbering over David "Doc" O'Connor, managing partner at CAA, while Rosie, a mellow basset hound, and Jodi, part duck-tolling retriever and leader of the pack, nuzzle O'Connor's wife, screenwriter Lona Williams (2014's The Dunderheads) at their Brentwood house. All three are rescue dogs. Jodi was originally found wandering the streets of San Bernardino. And if Otis hadn't been adopted by the couple, he surely would have suffered the fate of euthanization at a kill shelter.

The boxer, who has three legs, is "inspiring because he never lives a day of his life like he's missing a leg," says O'Connor, 55. "We presume he got hit by a car and his owners didn't have the wherewithal to take him to a vet. They put him in an overnight drop box at a kill shelter in Idaho, where he was dragging his leg around." Staff at the Animal Adoption Center (AAC) in nearby Jackson, Wyo. (where the couple has a second home), got him out of the kill shelter. Williams — a longtime advocate for animals who serves on the board of the AAC — fell for Otis when she met him. And though the couple (who have a daughter, Lucy, 13, and son, Angus, 9) then had four dogs, and her husband was adamant he didn't want another, even O'Connor couldn't stand firm in the face of Otis' boundless affection.

STORY: The Top 10 Dog Breeds in Los Angeles

"David was on the phone on the couch, and Otis ran in the room, up on the couch and started licking, and it was game over," recalls Williams, 46, who also is on the board of the Humane Society of the United States. One of her top-line philanthropy goals is stopping dog and cat euthanasia in Los Angeles. She's a loyal supporter of the local chapter of Best Friends Animal Society, which has put together NKLA, a new coalition of more than 50 independent organizations working to make Los Angeles a no-kill city by 2017. Already, the initiative is making a serious impact, with 13,000 animals killed at shelters in 2012, down 4,000 from the previous year. An estimated 3.4 million animals are euthanized annually in the United States. "Once you know the number of adoptable healthy animals killed every year, once you know the horrors of puppy mills, where the mothers languish in cages their entire lives, never touching grass, you can't go back," she says, noting that 20 to 30 percent of the animals in shelters are purebreds.

One of the most important tools in reducing that number further is educating people that most animals aren't in shelters because of behavioral problems but because of lack of identification and owners' life changes such as divorces, deaths in families and economic problems. Says Williams, "These dogs are superstars." — DEGEN PENER

What do you think?

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement