He’s been retired for years, but last Saturday, he finally succumbed to kidney failure at the age of 80. Here’s the amazing story of this iconic figure from the golden days of Hollywood.
Cheetah, a chimpanzee who starred alongside Tarzan in the franchise films of the early 1930s, died Saturday. He had experienced kidney failure earlier that week, and was thought to be 80 years old.
Cheetah, also known as Cheetah-Mike, acted as Tarzan‘s comic sidekick “Cheeta” and was one of several chimpanzees who appeared in the films of 1932 to 1934, with Johnny Weissmuller in the starring role.
Around 1960, after living on Weissmuller‘s estate, Cheetah retired to Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Fla.
While at the sanctuary, Cheetah enjoyed watching sports on television, listening to nondenominational Christian music, and occasionally throwing poop when he was feeling disgruntled.
Actress Mia Farrow, whose mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, starred as Jane in the Tarzan films, took to Twitter to remember the animal.
“Cheetah the chimp in Tarzan movies died this week at 80,” she wrote: “My mom, who played Jane, invariably referred to Cheetah as ‘that bastard.'”