Chimp from 1930s US ‘Tarzan’ films dead at 80

Washington: Cheetah, the chimpanzee that starred in the ‘Tarzan’ films of the 1930s, has passed away at the age of 80, according to the Florida sanctuary where he had lived for more than 50 years.

"It is with great sadness that the community has lost a dear friend and family member on December 24, 2011," the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Florida announced on its website.

Cheetah had performed in ‘Tarzan the Ape Man’ (1932) and ‘Tarzan and His Mate’ (1934), classic films about a man reared in the jungle starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O`Sullivan.

The chimpanzee -- who arrived at the sanctuary in 1960 -- loved finger-painting and watching football, and was soothed by Christian music, the sanctuary`s outreach director Debbie Cobb told the Tampa Tribune.

"He could tell if I was having a good day or a bad day. He was always trying to get me to laugh if he thought I was having a bad day. He was very in tune to human feelings," Cobb was quoted as saying.

Ron Priest, a sanctuary volunteer, told the Tribune that Cheetah stood out because he could walk upright with a straight back like a human, and that he was distinguished by other talents.

"When he didn`t like somebody or something that was going on, he would pick up some poop and throw it at them. He could get you at 30 feet with bars in between," Priest said.


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