Sad news from the Simian world … Cheetah of Tarzan fame has passed away at age 80.
When I first read this story this morning I had to do a double take. Cheetah, the simian Tarzan co-star died. I thought, surely Cheetah had died long ago, this must be another one. An 80 year old chimp is quite rare. Nope. Cheetah the chimpanzee, who acted in classic Tarzan movies in the early 1930s with Johnny Weissmuller, died of kidney failure at the age of 80 Saturday at Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Florida. The chimp was one of the original Cheeta’s who acted in a handful of Tarzan adventures from 1932 to 1934, among them the classics Tarzan and His Mate and Tarzan the Ape Man. Cheetah came to Suncoast around 1950 from Weissmuller’s estate in nearby Ocala and there he remained as one of its most famous residents.
Cheetah acted in the 1932-34 Tarzan movies, Cobb said. Movies filmed during that timeframe starred Johnny Weissmuller and include “Tarzan and His Mate” and “Tarzan the Ape Man,” according to the Internet Movie Database.
Sometime around 1960, Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller’s estate in Ocala, Cobb said.
In the wild, the average chimp survives 25 to 35 years and at zoos chimps typically live 35 to 45 years, she said.
Cheetah, the most famous of the sanctuary’s 15 chimpanzees, liked to see people laugh.
UPDATE I: Hmm, I really hope that this story is true and not a hoax. Some are questioning whether was the chimp who died really Cheetah from Tarzan movies?