Best Local Legend (2012)

Steve Sipek

He swam across Lake Ontario, played a mutant killer turkey in a movie called Blood Freak, and made national headlines when authorities raided his Loxahatchee home earlier this year to remove two tigers and a leopard. But the legend of Steve Sipek is rooted in the myth-like relationship he forged with a lion named Samson. Here's the CliffsNotes version based on interviews Sipek has given in past years: While filming one of his Tarzan films in Africa, Sipek saved a lion cub from being strangled by a large snake. He adopted the cub, named it Samson, and went on to star in several films with it. A few years later, while filming another movie, a special-effects mishap left Sipek engulfed in flames. All the humans on set ran away, but Samson somehow managed to drag the actor's severely charred body from the inferno, saving his life. And people wonder why the guy prefers the company of big cats over fellow humans.


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