Give them a Pawscar right now!
Luckily, the award for best animal-acting performance exists, and that it is called the PATSY Award. How great is that! We have to admit that some of these animals’ performances were so realistically amazing that they definitely outdid their costar humans. They did their roles so exceptionally well that they deserve to be rewarded with infinite treats and cuddles, even that would not be enough.
Today we have gathered the background stories of actors from the animal kingdom that you would love to know more about, their stories are so inspirational. Keep on scrolling down to read them…
1. Joey. Movie: War Horse.
War Horse is a movie in which the leading character is a 4 legged horse named Joey. He used to be a racehorse but was not successful at that so he turned to acting. As a film veteran, he has starred in movies like Legend Of Zorro, Did You Hear About The Morgans, Unstoppable and the American TV crime series CSI Miami and his most recent work was on Netflix’s Walk. Ride. Rodeo. Bobby Lovgren met Finder on the War Horse set and he bought him from the producers. Living their life on Bobby’s range in California, they have been inseparable ever since.
2. The Monkey. Movie: Night at the Museum.
Crystal the Monkey is actually a well-known pet actress born in 1994. The female capuchin monkey started her acting career in 1997 with the movie George of the Jungle. She has made several appearances in Hollywood movies ever since then with her best shots being the role of Dexter in Night at the Museum beside Robin Williams, and that of a thieving monkey in Hangover Part II.
3. Molly the Beagle. Movie: A Dog’s Journey.
Molly is the name of one of the dog characters in the movie A Dog’s Journey. It is played by a beagle named Lemy. Her trainer Bonnie Judd reveals that the most difficult scene was to teach her how to bite the leg of the villain. Lemy and the young actor playing Young CJ, Abby Ryder Fortson became best friends during filming. Fortson said in an interview that it was challenging to work with Lemy because of all the funny things she did. “My favorite part is when she knocked me down and started licking my face”, the actress said.
4. Hachi the Akita. Movie: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.
There is no doubt that Hachi: a Dog’s Tale is probably one of the saddest pet movies ever. It is based on a true story, starring Forrest the Akita and Richard Gere as professor Parker Wilson. The role was actually played with 3 different Akitas, Chico, Layla, and Forrest, but the last one was the main star. The famous dog actor was born in 2004 and passed in 2017 living the life of a superstar. Forrest also appeared in an episode of Animal Planet’s Dogs 101- Akita, as his owner Joey Capaldi says, along with a cameo in a TV commercial for a local Delaware finance company.
5. Hooch the Dog. Movie: Turner & Hooch.
Beasley the dog was a French Mastiff. In the 1989 movie Turner & Hooch starring Tom Hanks, he played the role of Hooch. Beasley only starred in this one movie and became famous for his police-dog-drinking-beer character. Beasley, along with 3 other mastiffs that stunted him in some scenes, were so loved by the cast. Tom Hanks says in an interview when asked about Hooch: “All the dogs who played Hooch — all 4 of them — went to dog heaven.” This fluffy buddy was born in 1978 and died in 1992, living a full life of 14 years. The average life expectancy of his breed is only 5 to 8 years.
6. Lion cub. Movie: The Zookeeper’s Wife.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is a movie based on the true story of Antonina Zabinska and Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo in Poland. Jessica Chastain, who plays Antonina in the movie, said that she loved acting with her co-star lions and all the animals in the film. In an interview, she was asked if she was afraid of them, she said, “…if I were to ever get hurt in this movie, it’s because I’m doing something wrong. It’s not the animals’ fault — it’s my fault.” The lions were really well behaved and “It wasn’t that we were leading them, they were leading us,” she added.
7. Buddy. Movie: A Dog’s Journey.
The mixed-breed Great Pyrenees Mountain dog that plays Buddy in the movie A Dog’s Journey is Odin. That character was actually portrayed by 3 different dogs but Odin is the main star. Everyone adored him, the director stated, “Odin is a sweetheart.” His trainer Bonnie Judds revealed that Odin was not in for treats instead “he would do almost anything for a big bear hug!” Bonnie also said, “The scene where he had to jump off of Dennis’ back and catch a ball was done by Odin’s sister, who’s much smaller.”
8. Lady the Dire-wolf. Series: Game of Thrones.
The adorable wolf named Lady that accompanied Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones was Zunni. She was a Northern Inuit, a giant breed. The actress, Sophie Turner, who played Sansa actually adopted Zunni in real life. In an interview, she says, “Growing up I always wanted a dog, but my parents never wanted one. We kind of fell in love with my character’s dire wolf, Lady, on set.” She revealed that because of Lady’s death in the series, the producers wanted to re-home her but her mom literally persuaded them to let us adopt her. Unfortunately, Zunni died a few years later.
Aww, these stories are really so heartwarming! All of these animals are super cute and undoubtedly talented, they all have performed perfectly. I had no idea Sophie Turner actually adopted her pet from the series in real life but that is so beautiful. Keep on scrolling down to read more of these inspirational stories…
9. Jack the Parsons Russell Terrier. Movie: The Artist.
Uggie was the adorable Parsons Russell Terrier known for his role in the silent movie The Artist, as Jack, for which he was even awarded the Cannes Film Festival Palm Dog Award. He has starred in several movies like Wassup Rockers, Water for Elephants, and his last one, Holiday Road Trip. His performance in this movie was actually so incredibly done that people even created a campaign on Facebook called “Consider Uggie”. On that page, they tried to gain recognition for Uggie’s performance in contrast with Hollywood stars. Uggie was born in 2002 and sadly, died in 2015 at the age of 13 years old. There was even a memoir that was published under the title Uggie, My Story.
10. Lassie the Rough Collie. Movie: Lassie.
Probably one of the most famous animal-roles ever played was by Lassie. Pal was a male Rough Collie that was trained by Rudd Weatherwax to portray the role of the female dog, Lassie. He lived happy 18 years of life. Howard Peck, his first owner, brought Pal to Rudd because of his continuous barking and chasing of motorbikes. Rudd gave him to a friend even though he got the barking under control but the chasing after motorbikes was never fixed.
Rudd bought Pal back from his friend for $10, when the novel Lassie Come-Home was published, believing that the dog could possibly become a movie star. During the filming of that movie, a female dog was already cast but Rudd took a chance and decided to show up at the filming area with Pal in order to show the producers his talent. When the female collie refused to get in the water to do a scene in the river, Pal stepped in and performed so exceptionally that the director had “tears in his eyes” and he hired him right away. Everyone fell in love with Pal which is perfectly portrayed in a dedicated documentary on Lassie’s life with the title The Story of Lassie, as an episode of the series Hollywood Biography.
11. Benji the Dog. Movie: Benji.
Higgins The dog was the star of the very popular 70s family film, Benji, he played the role of the main character in that movie. He was found in 1960, Los Angeles, by his about-to-be life partner and trainer Frank Inn in an animal shelter. His first role was “the dog” in the series Petticoat Junction. He also won a Patsy Award for his performance in 1967. Inn stated that Higgins was the smartest dog he knew, and was able to learn one new trick or routine per week. With his co-star, Edgar Buchanan, Higgins had a very deep and affectionate connection in both the series and in Benji. Higgins lived a full and happy life from 1957 to 1975 when he passed away at the age of 17. Higgins’ daughter Benjean played his role as Benji in the sequel of the movie series, For the Love of Benji in 1977, after he died.
12. Bruiser. Movie: Legally Blonde.
Moonie the Chihuahua was a very famous dog actor known for his role as Bruiser in the Legally Blonde movies beside Reese Witherspoon, who played Elle Woods. As a puppy, Moonie was found by Hollywood animal trainer Sue Chipperton who trained him to be a superstar. He also starred in 2 TV series, Three Sisters and Providence, in several commercials aside from his role as Bruiser. He even appeared by Cher’s side in one of the singer’s music videos. In March 2016, when he died of old age, Reese Witherspoon posted on her personal Instagram account about the saddening news mentioning that, “He was a sweet little Chihuahua who was very loved. I will never forget all the days we spent together … I’m sure his tail is wagging in the sky.”
Image Credit: reesewitherspoon
13. Marcel the Monkey. Series: Friends.
A brief role in the most popular show of the 90s, Friends, was given to Marcel the monkey who was actually a female monkey named Katie. She also starred in NBC’s TV show 30Rock along with taking roles in numerous commercials and photoshoots. Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey in the show was asked during an interview about his relationship with Marcel and he confessed that he liked her a lot, “the monkey was really cool.” However, David Schwimmer who played the role of Ross in the show was not so fond of the monkey. He used to say, “Not again with the monkey,” as LeBlanc recalls.
Image Credit: © Friends / NBC
14. Jerry Lee the police dog. Movie: K-9.
The German Shepherd, Koton, was the dog that played Jerry Lee in the 1989 movie K-9. Koton was an actual police dog who worked with the Kansas City Police Department. His actual life is similar to the tragic plot of the movie he starred in. That is, in his career as a police dog, he had many achievements. However, he was shot and killed during his attempt to apprehend a suspect for the murder of a police officer. Jim Belushi played detective Michael Dooley and Koton’s owner said during an interview that it was a pleasant experience working with such a good dog.
Image Credit: © East News
15. Daisy. Movie: John Wick
In the movie John Wick Part I, Andy who plays the role of Daisy is actually a male beagle and not a female despite the role he portrays. The trainer of Andy, says in an interview, “There’s this thing about them, they’re just cute. They’re not overly large or small. They’re just a cuddly breed with those big sad eyes.”
The hardest part was that of Omer Barnea’s role where he has to mistreat the dog, the trainer recalls. It is said that the actor was really having a hard time performing that scene, “Every time the director yelled cut, Omer just picked up the dog and cuddled him.”
16. Willy the Orca. Movie: Free Willy.
One of the most famous animal actors in Hollywood starring as Willy in the family movie Free Willy in 1993 was Keiko the Orca, born in 1978, was a charming male whale. His life story took many turns as he was sold off from place to place. Firstly sold to the Icelandic aquarium in Hafnarfjörður. Later sold to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. There he was bullied by the other orcas and eventually, he was sent to an amusement park in Mexico City.
In 1995, Warner Bros made him a superstar. They actually founded the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation. They raised money to actually free Keiko into the wild. In 2002, Keiko was finally released into the ocean in Iceland. Sadly, he didn’t make it in the wild environment of the ocean because he was not able to adapt to it. Unfortunately, he was found dead in Norway’s fjords, hit by pneumonia in 2003.
All of these background stories of these superstar animals are so inspiring. Which one is your favorite from the movies mentioned above? Let us know in the comments down below…