December 28, 2011 in Nation/World

Chimp from Tarzan movies dies

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Cheetah the chimpanzee with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan in 1932.
(Full-size photo)

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – A Florida animal sanctuary says Cheetah the chimpanzee from the Tarzan movies of the early 1930s has died at age 80.

The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor announced that Cheetah died Dec. 24 of kidney failure.

Sanctuary outreach director Debbie Cobb told the Tampa Tribune that Cheetah was outgoing, loved finger painting and liked to see people laugh. She said he seemed to be tuned into human feelings.

Cheetah was the comic relief in the Tarzan series starring American Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller. Cobb said Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller’s estate sometime around 1960.

Cobb said Cheetah wasn’t a troublemaker.

“He was very compassionate,” Cobb said. “He could tell if I was having a good day or a bad day. He was very in tune to human feelings.”

Cheetah performed in the 1932-’34 Tarzan movies, Cobb said. Movies filmed during that time frame included “Tarzan and His Mate” and “Tarzan the Ape Man.”

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