Archive for January, 2018

Remembering Joy Adamson

Friday, January 19th, 2018

“January 20th 1910. It is hard to believe that 118 years have passed since Joy Adamson was born. To some of us, memories of this unique, passionate, forceful and extraordinary woman have not faded with time. And those memories, of course, are indisputably linked with a lioness called Elsa.

From a tiny cub, until her death in 1961, aged only five years old, Elsa was the centre of Joy’s life. The books she wrote about this unique animal – describing how she and her husband George shared their life with her- remain as fascinating today as they did then.

My husband Bill and I were extremely lucky to have been chosen to play the Adamsons in the film “Born Free”, based on Joy’s best- selling book. I always thought it must have been hard for her to watch an English actress, with no knowledge of lions or the African bush “being Joy”. But she was unfailingly generous with her advice and we became friends. In fact, when filming ended, she invited me to go to Meru with her, where the real Elsa story had taken place, and I saw a soft and vulnerable side to her that was deeply touching.

Joy will always be remembered as a person who aroused strong feelings and opinions. But she was unique. She inspired people to develop a more sensitive attitude to wild creatures and, for me, she – together with our very special friend George – showed Bill and myself a new path to follow in our life. One we never left.”

- Virginia McKenna OBE, Co-Founder of Born Free