Tarzan's chimp Cheetah dies aged 80

Wednesday December 28, 2011

A chimpanzee who apparently starred in Tarzan films in the 1930s has died at the age of 80, according to the zoo where he lived.

The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbour, Florida, announced on its website that 'Cheetah' died on December 24 of kidney failure.

The sanctuary director Debbie Cobb told the Tampa Tribune that Cheetah was outgoing, loved finger painting and liked to see people laugh.

Cheetah was the comic relief in the Tarzan series starring American Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller.

Ms Cobb said Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller's estate sometime around 1960.

The Florida 'Cheetah' isn't the only chimp who has been reported as Tarzan's companion.

A primate known as Cheeta who lives in California was for a long time claimed to be the chimp in the films, but the claim was since withdrawn.

It's possible that several different animals were used during filming.

Photo:©Getty

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