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July 29, 2015

Amazing Photos of Fearless Fagan, the Incredible Lion Who Became a Hollywood Star in the Early 1950s

The lion was owned by Private Floyd C. Humeston, who raised Fagan from a cub. He brushed its teeth, combed its fur and, LIFE claimed, had “evolved an English-German gibberish that Fagan not only understands but answers with growls and gurgles which his master understands.”

In the early 1950s, Humeston was drafted into the Army and couldn’t find a suitable caretaker for his pet lion. Humeston first raised suspicions when he requested an emergency 14-day furlough to take care of his giant pet. Without a permanent home for Fagan, Humeston then asked to bring his pet with him to training at California’s Fort Ord. The request denied, Fagan lived briefly at the Monterey Humane Society before being placed in a circus.

From a chauffer-driven convertible Fagan trades glances with fellow MGM star Esther Williams.

Fagan the lion on an MGM set, 1951.

Fagan the lion on the MGM lot, 1951.

Floyd Humeston and Fagan the lion outside the Thalberg Building, Hollywood, 1951.

Fagan the lion, ready for his makeup, 1951.

Fagan the lion in his "dressing room" in 1951.

Fagan the lion with movie producer Sidney Franklin, 1951.

Owner Floyd Humeston leads Fagan the lion to the camera department for a posing test, 1951.

Fagan the lion on the MGM lot, 1951.

Fagan the lion on the MGM lot, 1951.

A photographer shoots publicity photos of Fagan the lion, 1951.

(Photos by Loomis Dean—TIME & LIFE Pictures/Getty Images)



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