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Non-Human Hollywood Stars: From Loyal Dogs to Chimpanzee Sidekicks, These Animals Have Made Their Marks in Hollywood

Human actors aside, some of the best cinematic characters swam in the ocean or walked on four legs. These celebrity animals have starred in great Hollywood movies, entertaining us with their intelligent acting. While some are known for their loyalty and cool demeanor, others are liked for being total badasses.

Orangey the Cat

Between the 1950s and the 1960s, Orangey the Cat was so famous that he won two PATSY (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year) Awards. Hollywood handler Frank Inn owned the feline.

Courtesy: IMDb

Orangey the Cat’s most popular role was when he played a homeless cat in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961). The cat won the audience’s hearts with his carefree attitude. Orangey also starred in movies like “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (1957) and “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1959). 

Toto the Cairn Terrier

We can never forget Toto from “The Wizard of Oz.” Toto’s character was played by a female cairn terrier named Terry. However, after the canine played Dorothy’s lovely companion, the dog’s name was formally changed to Toto in 1942.

Courtesy: Granger/Rex

Before its “Wizard of Oz” role in 1939, Toto had appeared in movies like “Bright Eyes” and “Ready for Love.” Aside from her cute face, Toto did stunts! During the 11 years of her life, she starred in 23 films.

Cheetah the Chimpanzee

As much as we idolize the Lord of the Jungle in the 1930s and 1940s Tarzan films, we can’t imagine him without his non-human sidekick, Cheetah. Cheetah wasn’t a cheetah but a chimpanzee.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

In 1932’s “Tarzan the Ape Man,” Jiggs the chimpanzee started playing the role of Cheetah. However, shortly after filming, Jiggs died of pneumonia and was replaced by several chimps over the years.

Keiko the Killer Whale

Captured from the wild in 1979, Keiko lived under harsh conditions from one aquarium to another. Keiko later became the original star of the 1993 blockbuster “Free Willy.” The film series was about an orca who became friends with a young boy. Keiko played the role of Willy in the series.

Courtesy: Portland Monthly

When he was later released into the wild, he found it hard to integrate into a pod and eventually died of pneumonia. His health struggles helped increase support of humane practices in aquariums.

Trigger the Horse

Owned by Roy Rogers, Trigger was undoubtedly the most famous horse in Hollywood between the 1930s and 1960s. The beautiful palomino worked alongside Roy in a series for over 100 episodes; the equine also appeared in over 80 films.

Courtesy: IMDb

Roy initially planned to rent Trigger but decided to buy him because he was impressed with his intelligence. According to Roy, Trigger became the smartest Hollywood horse; he could walk on his hind legs and understood at least 150 different trick cues.

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