Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Simian superstar swings no more

North Koreans pay respect to the passing of two great icons
Cheetah, perhaps the most famous primate in history under a hundred feet tall, has quietly passed away from kidney failure. He was 80 at the time of his demise, making him quite an old chimpanzee indeed. The star of the early 'Tarzan' movies outlived both of his human co-stars, Maureen O'Sullivan, who played jungle beauty 'Jane' and Johnny Weissmuller, who played the titular role of Daniel 'Tarzan' Montgomery.
The lovable chimp who's full name was Cheetah-Mike, was one of many monkeys to play the character, but critics universally agreed that he was the
personification of the role.
"None of the other chimps ever approached the quality of his work," said New York Times film critic A.O. Scott. "He created the role and played it for all it was worth, always ready to mug for the camera or let loose with that delightful squeal of his. He did his own stunts, which is something that today's monkey's would never dream of. It's a shame that he never broke out of the ghetto of Tarzan movies - I would have given anything to see what he could do in a film like 'On the Waterfront'."
Cheetah spent his final days at Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Florida, where he spent his time fingerpainting, watching football, and for some disturbing reason, listening to Christian music.
Upon hearing of his death, O'Sullivan's daughter Mia Farrow affectionately tweeted that her mother always referred to Cheetah as 'that bastard', the first in what is sure to be a long series of moving tributes.

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