Carole Baskin, born on June 6, 1961, caught the attention of the world as the co-subject of Netflix’s wildly popular 2020 documentary, “Tiger King.” The film centered on Baskin’s feud with Joe Exotic, a private zoo owner. Baskins, as the CEO and founder of Big Cat Rescue, a non–profit animal sanctuary, is passionate about the care and rehabilitation of captive big cats. We’ll help you celebrate her special day.
Carole Baskin gained international notoriety for her appearance in Netflix’s 2020 global sensation true crime documentary series, “Tiger King,” showcasing the ongoing feud between her and former private zoo owner, Joe Exotic. Praised for her advocacy for the plight of big cats but ridiculed for her dubious past, Baskin is now a firm part of the post-pandemic zeitgeist.
Baskin was born on June 6, 1961, in Bexar County, Texas. Her zodiac sign is Gemini and her ethnicity is Caucasian. She is the daughter of conservative Christian parents, Vernon and Mary Stairs. She showed a keen interest in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine as a young child but became an activist for animal rights instead.
After running away from home as a teenager, being homeless, and escaping an abusive marriage with her only child Jamie, all before the age of 20; Baskin married her second husband Don Lewis. With him by her side, the couple founded the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in 1992.
Her determination to improve the lives of the animals she rescued set her on a collision course with the now incarcerated Joe Exotic and their toxic battle became the subject of the sensational show “Tiger King” in 2020.
While Baskin has continued to live and work quietly since her unlikely rise to fame, she has been the subject of much speculation and ridicule, especially concerning the disappearance of her ex-husband Don Lewis.
In the 1980s, Baskin would buy large plots of land and let her llamas loose on them to eat as a type of lawn mowing process.
In partnership with her second husband Don Lewis, Baskin founded the then-Wildlife on Easy Street Animal Sanctuary for Big Cats but renamed the sanctuary Big Cat Rescue after Don’s disappearance.
At the onset of the worldwide pandemic, Netflix released its controversial true crime documentary series “Tiger King” in which Baskin is portrayed as the villain of private zoo owner Joe Exotic’s unlikely hero.
Taking to the dancefloor and determined to put the “Tiger King” furor behind her, Baskin performed a much-panned paso doble with her partner to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”
After a long feud with the producers of “Tiger King”, Baskin tried to stop the broadcasting of the second season of the series with a lawsuit.
Why We Love Carole Baskin
She is a big animal lover
In addition to now being the CEO of an animal sanctuary, Baskin wanted to be a veterinarian as a child. She gave up that dream when she learned vets have to euthanize the animals.
She may be worth millions now but that wasn’t always the case. In her youth, Baskin’s scraped by founding a lawn mowing business and using llamas to mow the grass.
Despite the bad press and constant haranguing of Joe Exotic’s supporters, she hasn’t let that stop her. She used that press as a springboard for launching her social media sites and further bringing awareness to the Big Cat cause.
5 Surprising Facts
Baskin is a multimedia star
Podcasts, T.V. shows, YouTube channels, you name it, Baskin has done it, and she also hosts her own podcast, “The Cat Chat.”
She was a teenage runaway
Baskin ran away from her conservative family when she was just 15-years-old before marrying her boss at 17.
She worked in real estate
Her second husband Don Lewis ran a real estate business and Baskin helped him with it when they were first married.
She owns Joe Exotic’s zoo
She sued Joe Exotic’s company The Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC, and was awarded ownership of his former private zoo in 2020.
She is allergic to cats
It may be hard to believe that this activist for the rights and plight of big cats is allergic to them.
Carole Baskin FAQs
Where is Carole Baskin today?
Baskin continues to serve as the CEO of Big Cat Rescue near Tampa, Florida, alongside her current husband.
What did Carole Baskin do to her husband?
Don Lewis, Baskin’s second husband, disappeared in 1997. While there has been much speculation about it, it has never been proven that Baskin had anything to do with his disappearance.
Does Carole Baskin have kids?
Baskin has one daughter, Jamie Murdock, whom she shares with her first husband.
Carole Baskin’s birthday dates