RIP – CHEETAH


EXPIRED: 12/24/11  – Cheetah, 80, was “discovered” by an animal trainer on a trip to Liberia in 1932. The chimpanzee ended up in Hollywood with a 30 year film career, mostly in Tarzan movies, playing himself, stealing scenes from Olympic-medal-winner-turned-actor Johnny Weissmuller, who played the Apeman.

Cheetah died of kidney failure on Christmas Eve at The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbour, Florida, where he lived for over 60 years. In his final days he enjoyed spending time finger painting – his art has sold at auction for upwards of $2,000 apiece.

Despite his fondness for booze and cigars, vices he had to give up upon retirement, Cheetah was not a temperamental actor. Still, he wasn’t above hurling poop (his own) at anyone who caused him grief.

Captive chimps typically live about 35 years. Cheetah, at 80, holds the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest non-human primate. He even outlived both Tarzan co-stars, Weissmuller and actress Maureen O’Sullivan, who played Jane. O’Sullivan referred to Cheetah as ‘that bastard.” Despite his fondness for booze and cigars, vices he had to give up upon retirement, Cheetah was not a temperamental actor. Still, he wasn’t above hurling poop (his own) at anyone who caused him grief. Supposedly, his aim was pretty good. I’m assuming O’Sullivan was probably a regular target.

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