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With Shambala, Tippi Hedren goes from 'Birds' to big cats

From TODAY correspondent Jill RappaportIt was the movie that changed the way we looked at "Birds" forever, and she was the star. Tippi Hedren was Hollywood's golden girl, and was discovered by the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. In 1981, Hedren produced "Roar," an 11-year project she starred in alongside her daughter, Melanie Griffith and several lions -- and it changed her carreer and life

From TODAY correspondent Jill Rappaport

It was the movie that changed the way we looked at "Birds" forever, and she was the star. Tippi Hedren was Hollywood's golden girl, and was discovered by the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. In 1981, Hedren produced "Roar," an 11-year project she starred in alongside her daughter, Melanie Griffith and several lions -- and it changed her carreer and life forever.

Since then, Hedren has devoted her life to taking care of exotic animals. And if you think she resides in a Beverly Hills mansion -- think again! Her digs are in the Mojave Desert on a 72- acre preserve called Shambala. It is home to approximately 65-70 big cats. Even two of Michael Jackson's tigers, Thriller and Sabu, call this magical sanctuary home.

Shambala is a non-profit facility and relies solely on donations. Hedren and her small but incredible staff work 24/7 to ensure these majestic creatures have the best quality of life. The effort, the finances and the time required to make this place as wonderful and peaceful as it is would be an exausting feat for anyone, let alone someone who just turned 80 years old!

That's right, you read it right, she is 80! Still so vibrant, with a heart as big as her preserve, and Hedren credits her vitality to all the animals that have made her life as beautiful as she is...

For more on The Shambala Preserve, click here.  

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