Tom Cruise Takes on Eye of the Tiger

Tom Cruise — Eye of the Tiger

7/5/2011 5:45 AM PDT by TMZ Staff

Tom Cruise celebrated his 49th birthday in Miami this weekend by temporarily turning into a Thundercat.

Cruise and his daughter Suri (not the little girl in the center of the photo) got their faces painted the day before Katie Holmes hosted a surprise birthday dinner for the actor at the Soho Beach House.

According to the NY Post, Tom rocked out with 40 of his closest friends … while dining on Italian food … jamming to Cuban music … and blowing out candles on a massive chocolate cake.

No word if he still had his face paint on for that.

Thriller Memorabilia Sold to Support Michael Jackson’s Tigers

Tigers Playing At Big Cat Rescue

Tigers Playing At Big Cat Rescue

Since Julien’s Auction house announced that they would be auctioning a piece of music history belonging famed singing sensation Michael Jackson, fans of the late legend have been following the preparations to sell the one and only “Thriller” jacket. The celebrated red jacket that Jackson wore in the groundbreaking video will be offered to the highest bidder starting on June 25, 2011 at Julien’s Beverly Hills gallery along with many of Michael’s other possessions. Portions of the proceeds from the auction of the jacket worn in the record breaking 1982 “Thriller” video and album will be donated to “The Roar Foundation,” which was founded in 1983 by Golden Globe winning actress, Tippi Hedren, and is the financial 501 (C) 3 support arm for the Shambala Preserve. The preserve made a home for Jackson’s tiger’s Thriller and Sabu, currently living in a 22,000 sq. ft. compound on the shore of the Shambala Lake, after he left Neverland Ranch. “They compliment each other perfectly,” says Ms. Hedren, adding, “Thriller is a thrill! She’s independent, feisty and lets all of us know when she wants to be left alone. Sabu knows all of her moods and highly respects each one of them!” Fans can come to Shambala during one of the scheduled “Afternoon Safari’s” to meet them, or possibly stay overnight in one of their two authentic African Safari tents located nearby the magnificent Thriller and the very patient Sabu. Learn more by visiting


The Roar Foundation was thrilled with the decision by Julien’s Auctions to benefit the preserve. The only actress to have worked with both directors Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin, Hedren who has worked tirelessly as a national advocate on behalf of the rights of all wildlife, with a focus on exotic felines says, “It costs $75,000 every single month to keep Shambala operational. This includes the compound upkeep, the best food, expert animal care, the best medical care for all of the wild ones including Thriller and Sabu. The Julien offer couldn’t have come at a better time and we are extremely grateful.” The Shambala Preserve has been rescuing big cats bred and born in captivity right here in the United States to be sold as pets or to be used for financial gain in “traditional” circuses, night club acts and roadside zoos. A legislative Bill that Hedren has co-authored, that will be presenting to Congress soon, would ban the domestic breeding of exotic felines and hopefully halt the purchasing of apex predators as pets and the inhumane abuse that occurs both before and after sales.

Julien’s is known for specializing in entertainment memorabilia, Beatles memorabilia and rock memorabilia and is now the premier auction house in high-profile celebrity and entertainment auctions. The Thrillerù jacket is estimated to be worth between $200,000 to $400,000, but with recent auction successes such as Marilyn Monroe’s “Seven Year Itch” dress and Audrey Hepburn’s gown from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” going for millions over the estimated values, hopes ran high at the public unveiling of the “Thriller” jacket on June 22nd. Just like Monroe and Hepburn, Jackson’s iconic jacket has become a piece of pop culture that left an indelible image in the minds of music fans worldwide.

Entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Slimmer Silhouette, Meggie Hale, who was among those in attendance at the unveiling remarked, “The event was an amazing sight to see, and served as a gorgeous tribute to such a brilliant man. The fact that proceeds are going to such a deserving cause, is just icing on an already enticing cake. I think Michael would be pleased to know that Thriller and Sabu are so well looked-after.” Adding “I was just honored to be in attendance and excited to see such a good turnout. I look forward to being present on Sunday, and witnessing history when the actual jacket is auctioned off. Whomever purchases the Thriller jacket will certainly own a true piece of Americana.”

For information on the auction or to place a bid on the “Thriller Jacket,” you can go to

See some great photos of Tippi and the tigers by Bill Dow here:

News Broadcaster Sue Zelenko

News Broadcaster, Sue Zelenko


Sue Zelenko with Big Cat Rescue Mascot

Local News Broadcaster, Sue Zelenko with Lionell our Lion Mascot at the St. Francis Walk A Thon to raise money for spaying and neutering dogs and cats.  Big Cat Rescue is more than just a big cat rescue mission.

We do our part in the community to provide a better life for all animals.

Mary Ann Reed is dressed in the  costume here and she does most of our mascot’s appearances.  By day she cleans cages and gives tours.

County Commissioners Approve Zoning

County Commissioners Visit the Cats After Zoning Approval


As noted briefly in our last issue because it happened just as we went to press, in February the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners approved our application for rezoning to a Planned Development. The new zoning is a huge event for the sanctuary. First, it clears up any ambiguity there may have been about our right to have the sanctuary at its current location and conduct the necessary activities required to run it into perpetuity. Second, it grants approval, subject to certain conditions, to add buildings that would let us better care for the cats, provide an enhanced experience for visitors, expand our education program, and generate funds to support the cats.


This year long process could not have been affordable or have happened without the generous donation of time by professionals and supporters that deserve far more acknowledgement than we can give here. Among them were:


Alex Petrilak and Stan Geda who were heavily involved in the initial planning and advised along the way. Dick Callahan and Kevin Atkins of Biological Research Associates who advised on environmental issues. Bruce Kaschyk and Kevin Mineer of Genesis Group who donated many of the long hours it took to prepare the application, guide it through the process, and represent us at the hearings. Ted Taub of the law firm Schumaker, Loop & Kendrick, who took us on as a pro bono client, advising on the process and representing us advised along the way and then represented us at the County Commission Hearing. And last but by no means least are the over 200 supporters who either wrote letters on our behalf or took hours out of their busy schedules to attend the two hearings and show support for our cause. On behalf of the cats we thank all of you more than we can possibly convey in words!


Subsequent to the approval we have been honored by having three of the Commissioners tour the sanctuary on separate occasions to get better acquainted with the cause they have helped so much. On April 26 Commissioner Hagan arrived around feeding time and jumped right in. In the photo, he feeds China Doll as Shere Khan wonders why his plate is empty. When asked for his reaction after seeing for himself the work of the sanctuary, he said “In my opinion, Big Cat Rescue is one of the best kept secrets in Hillsborough County. It is such a unique attraction, and I am very impressed with and proud of the work they are doing.”


Commissioner Norman came by on May 4 with his wife Mearline. In the photo, the Commissioner poses with our largest lioness, Sarabi, who seems to be imitating him (or is it the other way around?). In a note after the visit, the Commissioner wrote “Big Cat Rescue is one the most unique places in Hillsborough County that children and families have an opportunity to visit. Right in the middle of our community you can visit a collection of some of the most beautiful and majestic animals in the world that can’t be matched by anyone, established by a family that has a love for animals. I highly recommend that everyone visit this wonderful place.”


And Commissioner Kathy Castor (now Congresswoman Castor) came out with her family as well.


We hope the remaining Commissioners will honor us with a visit sometime in the future. In the meantime, we thank them and all of those mentioned above for their wonderful support!


2012 Rezoning Win is 7-0



This will enable us to build a 50 bed dorm and add 6 acres of cage expansion!  Thanks everyone!