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All the Animals From Your Favorite Childhood Movies Are Dead

Sam the Orangutan from 'Dunston Checks In'? He's dead. And the Taco Bell chihuahua? Also dead.
April 23, 2015, 4:00am

Paris Hilton's debutante dog Tinkerbell died yesterday. In her short 14 years, she managed to become a reality TV star and amass a bigger wardrobe than my ritzy grandma. It seems like only yesterday that she was being featured in Guess fashion ads and getting squeezed into human-like outfits. Tinkerbell's sudden demise was a reminder that, after all the designer collars and pet Xanax, pampered celebrity animals check out the same way their less famous counterparts do.


With Tinkerbell six-feet deep, I began to wonder what other animal celebs have bitten the dust. VICE's sister site Noisey recently revealed that most of the critters who appeared on the covers of albums from my youth are probably in pet heaven. But is it the same for the cute creatures who starred in movies and TV shows?

With fingers crossed, I looked up a few famous animal actors from my childhood. Unfortunately, the prognosis is grim. What follows is a round up of some celebrity animals you definitely remember who are also definitely, definitely dead.


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Buddy, a Golden Retriever, made his first TV appearance on America's Funniest Home Videos. His owner had trained him how to play various sports, including football, basketball, and hockey. These skills earned him a role in the 1997 film, Air Bud. Fun fact: he also starred as Comet in the sitcom Full House, known for launching the careers of the Olsen twins. In 1997, Buddy had his right hind leg amputated due to synovial cell sarcoma, a form of cancer. He died in his sleep in San Diego on February 10, 1998.

Babe from 'Babe' (1995)

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While no one pig played the titular babe of Babe, the average lifespan of a Yorkshire pig is about 10 years. To film this lovable classic, director Chris Noonan used 48 real Yorkshire pigs and an animatronic double. It's been 20 years. All of these pigs are likely dead.


Moose, a Jack Russell Terrier, was born December 24, 1990. He became famous for playing Eddie Crane, a dog on the TV show Frasier. Moose was so popular that he even appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly at one point. He died on June 22, 2006 at the age of 15. His son, Enzo, replaced him on the sitcom, and also starred in the 2001 film My Dog Skip, alongside Frankie Muniz. Enzo died on June 23, 2010.

The Orangutan from 'Dunston Checks In' (1996):

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In Dunston Checks In, the eponymous ape was played by primate-actor Sam the Orangutan. Sammy, as he was often called, was born on December 23, 1989. He was originally a tourist attraction in Miami before starring in commercials, movies, and even Baywatch. In 2004, he retired from show biz and was moved to the non-profit sanctuary, The Center for Great Apes. He died of heart failure on December 24, 2010.

Related: For more on pets, watch our doc 'Backyard Exotics'

Taco Bell Chihuahua/Bruiser from 'Legally Blonde':

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Gidget was born on February 7, 1994. She had an expansive career, including appearances in a number of Taco Bell commercials, GEICO ads, and the movie Legally Blonde. Her trainer, Sue Chipperton, wrote a book about the star chihuahua, titled A Famous Dog's Life. Gidget was euthanized on July 21, 2009 after suffering a stroke.


In this adventure movie, a Golden Retriever (Shadow), an American Bulldog (Chance), and a Himalayan cat (Sassy), travel on a cross-country voyage after being left a ranch while their owners are on vacation. According to Hollywood Paws, the crew used four Goldens, four bulldogs, and eight Himalayan cats to film all the action. Himalayan cats live an average of 15 years, while Goldens live to about 11, and American bulldogs commonly live between 10 and 15 years. This movie was made in 1993, 22 years ago. These animals are no longer alive.

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