As I am only five-years-old, I never watched any Tarzan movies, but my pet, Jimmy, did and he has filled me in on Cheeta's mischievous antics playing second-banana to Tarzan (Olympic swimming champion turned actor, Johnny Weissmuller) and Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan). Cheeta's later credits include the 1951 comedy Bedtime for Bonzo, costarring Ronald Reagan, 1952's Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.
Born in Liberia in 1932, Cheeta was brought to the United States and purchased by Westfall's uncle, Tom gentry. Originally named Jiggs, he made his first appearance on screen in the 1934 film Tarzan and His Mate, riding on the back of an older chimp who was then playing the role of Cheeta. Although the role of Cheeta was played by many chimpanzees, Jiggs is considered the premier of the group.
Cheeta used to be a bit of a carouser (like some people I know), drinking beer and smoking cigars. Since developing diabetes, he has toned down his intake to include soda pop, corn chips and peanut butter sandwiches.
Cheeta's agent has been trying for eight years to get Cheeta a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With the likes of my heroes, Garfield, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and other animal stars having their own stars on the Hollywood Walk, I believe a Hollywood star for Cheeta is long overdue. I'd sure like to see him get a star before those yapping Beverly Hills Chihuahua's do, but that's just me!
Stray Tuned !