An amazing series of photographs from 1971 show a 14-year-old Griffith at her Sherman Oaks, California home with Neil the lion.
In the shots, originally published in Life Magazine, Griffith plays, swims and even shares the same bed with the lion, forming an incredible bond.
The story of how Neil came to live with Griffith's family is just as amazing. Melanie's mother, actress Tippi Hedren, adopted the lion from Anton Lavey, High Priest of the Church of Satan, after he was told that he could no longer keep Neil in his San Francisco apartment, the Daily Mail reports.
According to the news source, prior to adopting the unusual pet, the family had taken a trip to Africa, which influenced them to make a movie about lions called Roar. The film reportedly took 11 years to complete due to lion-related injuries, but was a box office flop.
While she looks carefree in the photos, the Daily Mail reports that Griffith required 50 stitches at one point while filming Roar after one of the cats bit her.
Watch the video below for a look at a few stars with more traditional pets.