Cheeta, Tarzan’s mate

Have you ever watched the old classic Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmüller? The ones from the 1930s and 1940s. If so, you’ve seen his mate, Cheeta, the feisty chimpanzee. Apparently Cheeta was played by at least two different chimpanzees. Until just a few days ago, I had no idea that one of them, whose original name was Jiggs, is in fact *still* alive, and residing at a fancy mansion in Palm Springs USA. It is almost too amazing to be true.

Cheeta (Jiggs) was caught in Liberia in 1932, and later trained to appear in Hollywood movies. Chimpanzees normally don’t live past their 40s, but Cheeta is now in his late 70s, and thus the world’s oldest living chimp. He is also the sole surviving cast member from Weissmüller’s Tarzan movies.

During his career he played with an impressive number of Hollywood stars. You can read some details about his career, current life and his recently published autobiography "Me Cheeta" (ghost-written obviously) in this article from the Telegraph, in which it says that he

plays the piano, makes paintings in a style marketed as ‘apestract’ and loves to sit on the sofa in his living-room and watch the old Tarzan films on television, hooting and banging on the table when he sees himself on screen.

I wonder if he realises that it is himself he sees? Or if it’s just another ape to him?

He has also signed a record deal with iTunes and supplied some hooting noises on a remake of the old trucking classic Convoy.

Sounds like the old chimp is having a good time in California. They should give him an Oscar, or something.

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. J Ackles said,

    Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 16:02

    Johnny Sheffield is still alive. (Boy)

  2. jfmaho said,

    Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 22:14

    Oh my Gawd, you’re right. I had to look him up at Wikipedia. What an embarrasing oversight on my part.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: