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Famous Animal Actors
While they will not be on the cover of People Magazine, animal actors have been gracing the silver screen since silent movies. They might not be able to convey the spoken word (besides the terrible attempts like Beverly Hills Chihuahua) but they can still convey immense amounts of emotions. What guy can honestly say he did not cry at the end of Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows? Animal actors have been capturing our hearts and imaginations for years, and these are some of the most prominent.
Arguably the most well known animal character of the television era, Lassie has been saving boys from wells since the 1940s. While Lassie is a female character, every dog playing the role has been male. This is due to the fact that male collies look better on television due to their thicker coat. Pal was the first Lassie, and appeared in the first movies, television shows, and toured the country as the role. Since Pals time, every portrayal of Lassie has been a descendent of Pal until recent years.
The talking pig who dreamed of being a sheep dog was an instant hit the world over. The movie grossed over 250 million dollars worldwide after being filmed and released in Australia. The soft spoken, shy, and endearing pig and his can do attitude won the hearts of critics and audience members alike, and the film has been ranked in the top 100 inspirational movies. Babe is voiced by Christine Cavanaugh who also provided voices for the popular cartoon Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, and The Wild Thornberrys to name a few. Other than the famous pig, Babe s leading actor is James Cromwell who plays Farmer Arthur, Babes owner and savior.
One of the most iconic of the talking animals, Mr. Ed ran for 145 episodes that featured the mischievous horse. Before legally changing the name, the gelding was named Bamboo Forester and he lived to be around thirty years old (there are discrepancies about the actual death of Bamboo Forester). It was common knowledge for many years that the director used peanut butter to get Mr. Ed to talk, but it has since been revealed that a wire was used, but Mr. Ed actually became trained to move his lips when his co-star, Alan Young, stopped talking. After Mr. Ed, Alan Young had some movie appearances in The Time Machine but he primarily focused on voices for cartoons.
Besides the big stars like, Lassie, Babe, Mr. Ed, Flipper, Air Bud (only slightly kidding), Toto, Benji, and a host of others stars who have their own shows or films
based around them, many animal actors go largely unnoticed. The biggest medium for them seems to be commercials for pet food or medication, and while these are basic there is still a lot of training and time involved with the animals. More exotic creatures are featured in action films, comedies, and dramas where they often play the bad guy or some such role.
ZacK Mandell is a freelance writer for
Famous Animal Actors