Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In Memorium: Cheeta the Chimp

A Florida animal sanctuary says Cheeta the chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the early 1930s has died at age 80. The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor announced that Cheeta died Dec. 24 of kidney failure. Sanctuary outreach director Debbie Cobb told The Tampa Tribune on Wednesday that Cheeta was outgoing, loved finger painting and liked to see people laugh. She says he seemed to be tuned into human feelings.

Based on the works of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Tarzan stories, which have spawned scores of books and films over the years, chronicle the adventures of a man who was raised by apes in Africa. Cheeta was the comic relief in the Tarzan film series that starred American Olympic gold-medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller. Cobb says Cheeta came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller's own estate sometime around 1960. Cobb says Cheeta wasn't a troublemaker. Still, sanctuary volunteer Ron Priest says that when the chimp didn't like what was going on, he would throw feces. That is hilarious (and so in character from his famous films). I'm glad that Cheeta lived to a ripe old age, and like many of you saddened to hear of his passing.


Eddie said...

Good for Cheeta for living to ripe old age and more impressive, good for Cheeta for throwing feces. And on an added note, I think I was an adult before I realized when people speak of a Cheeta they generally were not referring to Tarzan's little buddy.

Kid said...

He did well, outlasting most (if not all) of his co-stars. Good Cheeta.

Daniel [] said...

The claims for this chimpanzee, in terms of age and personal history, are strongly disputed. I'd love to think that he really were the actor who played Cheeta, but it seems not.

Chuck Wells said...

Yes, I'm aware of "disputed" aspects, but neither of us knows the "real" truth, so our famous monkey pal earns his memorial (regardless) and the benefit of the doubt.

ralph60 said...

I rmember seeing Cheeta on a television interview a few years back on one of those magazine shows.

Cheeta's care giver said that Cheeta drank two six packs of beer and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day

he enjoyed a having cigar with his glass of scotch.

while holding a glass of scotch and smoking a cigar, it looked as if Cheeta was sharing a good joke with the interviewer.