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Old 04-11-07, 11:01 PM
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Hairyhandedgent Hairyhandedgent is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 306

Interesting story ... when Cheeta's long time handler was near death he was going to have Cheeta put down but the handler's nephew Dan Westfall stepped in and offered to give Cheeta a home for the rest of his days. Westfall founded C.H.E.E.T.A. (the committee to help the existence of endangered and threated apes) it's basically an entertainment industry retirement home for primates. Because they are highly intelligent and very mischievous primates are usually able to work only when they are very young then they get too independent. At that point they aren't able go to zoos or the like because they have not been socialized with their own species. Many formerly ended up in research labs or were put down, but now they have a place to go. What a shame it would have been for Cheeta to be put down. He was as big of an animal movie star as there ever was. He was actually in over 30 Tarzan films starring opposite Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, and Lex Barker as Tarzan and Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane. He has outlived them all. At one point Cheeta received more fan mail than Maureen O'Sullivan a fact that reported to have angered Miss O'Sullivan. Cheeta was able to work into his 40's with his last film being Dr. Dolittle in 1967. Other residents of the retirement home include the orangutans from "Every which way but loose". Cheeta paints abstract (apestract) pictures to support himself and the foundation. I'm proud and honored to say that one of Cheeta's paintings hangs in my Phoenix shop as part of our animal art gallery. I will post a picture of it in this thread tomorrow.

Last edited by Hairyhandedgent; 04-11-07 at 11:03 PM.
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