Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chimp from 'Tarzan' movies in 1930s dies

I should know that primates live long lives, but I was still surprised to read this morning that Cheetah, the chimpanzee sidekick from the Johnny Weismuller "Tarzan" movies from the 1930s, died recently at the age of 80. That's a long life, even for a chimp!

AP Photo
Cheetah, with Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane and
Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan.
Cheetah died on Christmas Eve of kidney failure, the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Fla., announced.

Here's the rest of the Associated Press story:

Sanctuary outreach director Debbie Cobb on Wednesday told The Tampa Tribune ( ) that Cheetah 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.

Cheetah was the comic relief in the Tarzan films that starred American Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller. Cobb says Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller's estate sometime around 1960.

Cobb says Cheetah 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.

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