Leo the Lion is the mascot for the legendary Hollywood
film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Since 1924 (when the
studio was formed), there has been around five different
lions used for the iconic MGM production logo, which was
also first used in 1924.
Tanner was the third MGM lion, used on all Technicolor
films and MGM cartoons. This was the second longest
serving lion, having being used for 18 years. The current
lion, which does not have a large mane, has been in use
since 1957; when the MGM animation department closed in
1958, it re-opened with new Tom and Jerry shorts in 1963
that did not use the current lion for the opening sequence,
The 1927 recording of the roar of Leo the Lion, which
would become the trademark of all Metro Goldwyn Meyer
Hollywood's premier animal trainer Volney Phifer never
thought that he would become inseparable with the cub he
found in Port Sudan, Africa. Leo, the MGM lion, that led
an amazing life was the straggliest lion Phifer had ever laid
Leo never let me down, said Phifer.
While touring the globe for MGM sstudios, Leo earned a
reputation of being a cat with nine lives: he survived two
train wrecks, a flood in Mississippi, an earthquake in
California, a fire and a plane crash.
Samuel Goldwyn selected Leo to represent Goldwyn
Company as its trademark when he saw the cub developed
into a handsome animal. It was then when Leo retired
from his acting career.
Leo died at the age of twenty-three, an old age for a lion,
leaving many descendants. His body rests on Phifer's farm
in Gillette, New Jersey.
LEO THE LION
Greta Garbo cautiously posing with "Jackie" Leo the Lion
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