famous TV and movie animals

Famous TV and Movie Animals

List of Famous TV and Movie Animals

Few things bring back childhood memories so vividly as our favorite and all Famous TV And Movie Animals. Whether it’s Skippy bounding through the bush or Flipper flying over the waves, these animals really struck a chord with us. So take a trip down memory lane with our overview of all the most famous TV and movie animals plus a couple of special non-TV and film beasts like presidential pet Bo Obama!

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NameAnimalTV Series / FilmBroadcastCo-starringStory / Trivia
Asta
Dog: Wire Fox TerrierThe Thin Man1934-1941William Powell, Myrna LoyAsta was played by “Skippy” in several of The Thin Man detective comedy films between 1934 and 1941. He was the inquisitive pet dog of Nick and Nora Charles who behaved more like a Police dog, sniffing out trouble. Skippy also played Mr Smith in The Awful Truth (1937), George in Bringing Up Baby (1938) along with other appearances.
BabePig“Babe” followed by sequel “Babe: Pig in the City”1995 and 1998James Cromwell, Magda SzubanskiThe story of a pig wishing to be a sheepdog. Farmer, Arthur Hoggett, brings babe home where he is mothered by border collie Fly. After a lot of ups and downs Babe finally achieves his dream of winning a sheep-herding competition. In all around 50 48 pigs played Babe in the 1st movie in addition to animated pigs. The production company said that none of the cast were subsequently eaten.
BaltoDog: Half husky, half wolfBalto followed by “Balto II: Wolf Quest” and “Balto III: Wings of Change”1995, 2002, 2004Kevin Bacon (Balto), Bridget Fonda, Phil Collins, Bob HoskinsBased loosely on the true story of Balto who saved children from diphtheria by bringing serum to Nome, Alaska despite harsh winter conditions in 1925. While doing so, he survives a grizzly attack, cliff fall, and the attempts of his rival Steele for the affections of red husky Jenna to sabotage his efforts on the way. His superior senses from his wolf-half enable him to succeed and rescue human Rosy. Other supporting characters include snow goose Boris and polar bears, Muk and Luk.
BeethovenDog: Saint BernardBeethoven (film series)1992-2008Charles Grodin, Bonnie HuntBeethoven escapes from dog kidnappers who sell animals for clinical experiments and worms his way into the affections of the Newton family – apart from the father who doesn’t like him. Later Beethoven is again kidnapped and the father helps rescue him, realizing what a good mutt he is really. Played by “Chris” in the first 2 movies, a number of other dogs played in the following films.
BenjiDog: Mixed breed dog, partly terrierSeveral movies1974-2004Benji is a lovable dog who helps various people overcome problems. Played by various dogs, the original Benji was “Higgins,” and already famous from the TV series Petticoat Junction. He died in 1975. His offspring have also taken on the role since.
Bo ObamaDog: Portuguese Water DogWhite House pet, star of TV news coverage2008-todayPresident ObamaBo was born in 2008 and was given to the Obamas as a gift by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Hypoallergenic Bo (Obama’s daughter Malia has allergies) was joined by another dog, Sunny, of the same breed in 2013.
BoomerDog: Mixed breedMovie “A Christmas for Boomer” was the pilot for “Here’s Boomer”1979-1982Various inc. Michael J. Fox, Natalie SchaferTells the adventures of the stray dog, “Boomer” who traveled around helping people in trouble. Played by a four-year-old dog named Johnny, he also had a stunt dog who did some of the more difficult tricks for him. The series featured a different cast each week.
BuckDog: BriardMarried… with Children1987-1997Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, David FaustinoBuck was the family dog in the Bundy family TV comedy. In the final seasons he is reincarnated as “Lucky”. A briard is a herding dog from France.
ButtermilkHorseThe Roy Rogers Show, various westernsDale Evans1941–1972Buttermilk was a so called buckskin quarter horse on account of his hide color.
CheetaChimpanzeeFilms and TV series1932-1968Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’SullivanTarzan’s chimpanzee sidekick in many Tarzan movies. Played by over a dozen different animals, the original Cheeta is rumored to have died aged 80 in 2011 outliving his co-stars in the movies.
ClarenceLionClarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion, later “Daktari”1965-1969Marshall Thompson, Betsy Drake, Cheryl MillerDr. Marsh Tracy, director in an African animal hospital adopt Clarence – a cross-eyed lion who can’t hunt, so they adopt him as a household pet and name him Clarence. The film was so popular it was later continued with the TV series Daktari also starring a mischievous chimpanzee named Judy.
EddieDog: Jack Russell terrierFrasier1993-2004Kelsey Grammer, John MahoneyEddie is just his stage name. In truth the first dog was called Moose the Dog. He was replaced by his son, Enzo 10 years later. He’s a very smart dog who likes to out-stare Dr Frasier Crane.
FlickaHorse: ArabianMy Friend Flicka1956-1957Johnny Washbrook (Ken McLaughlin), Gene Evans (father Rob), Anita Louise (mother Nell) and Frank Ferguson (ranch hand Gus)The story of Flicka, an Arabian horse with a chestnut coat, raised by Ken McLaughlin, a devoted boy, on a ranch in Wyoming. Flicka’s real name was Wahana. Based on a 1941 novel “My Friend Flicka” by Mary O’Hara, made into a film in 1943 starring Roddy McDowall (Ken) and the very first 20th Century Fox TV series.
FlipperDolphinFlipper1964-1967Chuck Connors, Luke Halpin, Brian KellyFlipper was like an aquatic version of Lassie who was ever keen to rescue people together with his owner Porter Ricks, Ranger of Coral Key park, Florida.
FrancisMuleVarious films such as Francis Goes to the Races, Francis in the Navy and Francis in the Haunted House1950-1956Chill Wills provided Francis’ voiceFrancis the Talking Mule was actually a female as they are easier to handle.
FrankDog: PugMen in Black 1 and 21997 & 2002Will Smith, Tommy Lee JonesFrank looks like a normal dog but in truth he’s an alien in disguise. He was played by “Mushu”. He also appears as a cartoon version in the animated series of MIB (1997-2001).
FredBird: CockatooBaretta1975-1978Robert BlakeBaretta was a TV series starring Fred and detective Tony Baretta. Fred was played by 4 different cockatoos. He was an unpredictable performer just like these birds in real life. He was given the first ever award to an animal in 1975 – an Emmy for best actor.
HoochDog: French MastiffTurner and Hooch1989Tom HanksHooch – real name Beasley – is the only witness to a murder so is unwillingly adopted by Turner, a policeman who hopes he will help him find the killer. Turner later respects and even likes Hooch. Beasley died in 1992.
LaikaDog: Mixed breedTV coverage of the Space Race (USA-USSR)1957Sputnik 2Laika (Russian for Barker) was the first dog in space on board the Soviet satellite rocket Sputnik 2 in 1957. Various other animals had been launched before her, however. She was a “guinea pig” to test whether humans would be able to survive the launch and conditions up above. Laika – a stray from Moscow’s streets – was born in 1954 and died in space.
LassieDog: CollieLassie TV series1958-1974June Lockhart, Jon ProvostLassie was a very smart dog who could easily recognize danger. She then rescued hundreds of people. The original Lassie was actually a boy as were several younger collies who later took his part – five of them were even his own offspring. One of the most famous tv and movie animals.
Leo the LionLionMGM movies1917-todayMany Hollywood starsThe MGM lions are among the most famous TV and movie animals featuring as the logo on MGM movies. There have been seven Leo lions so far; Slats, Jackie, Telly, Coffee, Tanner, George, Leo and one unknown lion. The MGM lions have also starred in hundreds of movies.
MarcelMonkey: CapuchinFriends1994-2004David SchwimmerMarcel is Ross’s illegal pet in the series and regularly causes mayhem. His ears prick up whenever he hears “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Marcel is later stolen from the zoo where Ross took him and has a successful movie career.
MarleyDog: Labrador RetrieverMarley & Me, film2008Owen Wilson, Jennifer AnistonMarley is adopted by John and Jenny Grogan who want to see if they are ready for parenthood. He is hard to train and causes lots of trouble prompting his owners to consider giving him away. They soon realize he is an important member of the family and he lives with them happily ever after until he becomes ill and is euthanized. The film covers Marley’s life requiring many different dogs to play him.
Mr EdHorse: Golden PalominoMr Ed1958-1966Allan Lane (Mister Ed’s voice). Alan YoungMr. Ed, the speaking horse, was played by a golden palomino called Bamboo Harvester. He’s a troublemaker always doing his best to get his owner Wilbur Post (“WIL-burrrrr!” – the only person Ed will talk to) into trouble. One of the first famous tv and movie animals.
MurrayDog: mixed-breed Maui / CollieMad About You1992-1999Helen Hunt, Paul ReiserHelen Hunt and Paul Reiser’s dog is the catalyst for many of the qualms.
NeilDog: St. BernardTopper (film & TV series)1937 & 1953-1955Leo G. Carroll, Lee PatrickBoring banker Cosmo Topper and his wife Henrietta buy a house from a deceased couple who died with their dog, Neil, in an avalanche. The home is haunted by the couple as well as Neil, a mischievous dog fond of martinis.
NipperDog: Fox TerrierHMV (His Master’s Voice) trademark1900GramophoneNot strictly a TV or film dog, but paintings of him are so well-known and he’s so beloved that we decided to include him. Nipper was the dog always sitting patiently in front of the gramophone speaker listening to his master’s music. He got his name from his fondness for nipping people’s ankles and lived from 1884 to 1895.
Pete the PupDog: American Staffordshire TerrierOur Gang (later: The Little Rascals)1929-1946Matthew Beard, Bobby HutchinsPete was also known as “Pete, the dog with the ring around his eye” or “Petey”. Best known for his role in the Our Gang series.
PetraDog: MongrelBlue Peter (UK children’s TV)1958-todayJohn Noakes, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and many othersPetra was the first dog in Blue Peter and starred from 1962 to 1977. She co-starred with Patch and later Shep. In a 2009 Daily Mail interview, John Noakes said of her: “I loved Petra, but she wasn’t a very nice animal. She was … quite aggressive”.
Punxsatawny PhilGroundhogGroundhog Day1993Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris ElliottEvery year on February 2nd, Groundhog Punxsutawny Phil predicts when spring will arrive. He has been doing so for over 120 years although “normal” groundhogs only live to about 10. His carers – the so-called Inner Circle – explain he is the same animal that predicted winter’s end in the past and is still alive because he is fed Groundhog Punch.
Rin Tin TinDog: German ShepherdVarious movies, later “The Adventures of Rin TinTin”1922-1959Lee Aaker and numerous othersThe original dog was brought back from France by an American soldier in 1918. He starred in various movies. The dog in the 50s TV series was Rin Tin Tin’s own offspring.
RuthMuleGunsmoke1955-1975James ArnessThe lead character Festus Haggen names all his mules as a sign of respect for the mule shot by Yankees while it was carrying Confederate dead.
Salem SaberhagenCatSabrina, the Teenage Witch1996-2003Melissa Joan HartSalem is in truth a warlock in exile for 100 years as a black cat. He was played by different real cats as well as an intentionally awful robotic cat and lives with witch Sabrina.
ScoutHorseThe Lone Ranger1949-1957

Jay Silverheels

 

Scout was Tonto’s pinto horse. Tonto, an American Indian accompanied The Lone Ranger on his adventures.
ShepDog: Border CollieBlue Peter (UK children’s TV)1958-todayJohn Noakes, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and many othersShep (1971-1987) was presenter John Noakes’ co-starring dog, who he famously warned “get down Shep” on frequent occasions. Although Shep was owned by the BBC Noakes was allowed to keep Shep when he left the company in 1978.
SilverHorse: White stallionThe Lone Ranger1949-1957Jay Silverheels, Clayton MooreWestern TV series starring the Lone Ranger – a masked fighter for justice in the west and his Indian friend Tonto (a Mohawk from Canada). The ranger was famous for his call when leaving: “Hi-Yo, Silver, away!”
SkippyBush kangarooSkippy the Bush Kangaroo1966–1970Garry Pankhurst, Ed Devereaux, Ken JamesSkippy is the intelligent pet kangaroo of a young boy in a park near Sydney, Australia who is able to communicate all manner of situations with clucking sounds and gestures. Around 10 different kangaroos played Skippy over time. One of the most famous TV and movie animals.
TotoDog: Cairn terrierWizard of Oz1939Judy GarlandToto was Dorothy’s mischievous best friend in the film “The Wizard of Oz”. Her actual name was Terry and she appeared in many other movies but was only famous for Oz. In recognition she was later renamed Toto and lived from 1933 to 1945.
TriggerHorse: Golden PalominoDozens of movies and the Roy Rogers Show1938-1957Roy RogersTrigger was a famous horse ridden by Roy Rogers in most of his movies and TV shows during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Trigger was originally named Golden Cloud until Roy Rogers bought him in 1943 and renamed him Trigger because he was both quick on his feet and intelligent.
WishboneDog: Jack Russell terrierWishbone1995-1998Jordan WallWishbone, played by Soccer, is the family dog owned by teenager Joe Talbot who daydreams about being the hero of various classic books. Only the viewers and his imagined co-stars see him in his new roles. He sees himself as “the little dog with a big imagination”.

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18 responses to “Famous TV and Movie Animals”

  1. JC says:

    The trainer (Mel Koontz) and his family raised and trained the lions from birth which accounts for their obedience and apparent “friendliness”.

  2. Bonnie Fahl says:

    Thank you for your reply. The lion Caesear was so friendly in the movie that it seemed dangerous to the actors. It is a shame we can’t find out how they did this or if the lion was that gentle.

  3. JC says:

    Hi Bonnie, we can’t find any information which explains exactly how the scenes with the lions (Herman and Caesar) in the 1950 MGM movie The Reformer and the Redhead were filmed but we do know the lions were part of a performance troupe trained by Mel Koontz (Melvin Lawrence Koontz 1910-1992) a famous Hollywood animal trainer who worked on over 600 movies. One of the lions may have been one seven lions used in the famous MGM logo but the lions are not individually credited in The Reformer and the Redhead movie cast list so we can’t be sure.

  4. Bonnie Fahl says:

    Could you tell me more about how the lion was able to be so close to the actors in the movie “The Reformer and the Redhead”?

  5. JC says:

    OK Jenna, we’ve now added Balto and we will put together a list of “Heroic Animals”. Suggestions for inclusions to that list welcomed.

  6. Jenna says:

    Why not both? After all, the cartoon movie was popular enough to spawn sequels.

  7. JC says:

    Hi Jenna, thanks for your comment. Balto was a famous dog rather than a famous film or TV animal (although I can see there was a cartoon Balto the Movie released in 1995). Perhaps we need a new “Famous real animals” or “Heroic animals” list or maybe we should just add Balto to this list – or both?

  8. Jenna says:

    Where is BALTO?!

  9. Nancy says:

    The Littlest Hobo ran from 1963 to 1965 and the dog actor’s name was London. Old Yeller was played by Spike and Bruno the bear played Gentle Ben in the TV series.

  10. Nancy says:

    The littlest hobo, old yeller, gentle ben

  11. JC says:

    Thanks Mary, we’ve added Asta to the table.

  12. Mary says:

    Asta – in all the Thin Man movies!

  13. JC says:

    Thanks Yvonne, we’ve now added Flicka. Does anyone else remember Fury and Hobo?

  14. Yvonne Jaenisch says:

    Flicka from My Friend Flicka 60’s tv series and a movie; Fury from the tv series – both horses. Hobo (?) 60’s tv series dog..

  15. Alan says:

    Thanks very much for the suggestions sasiteck. We’ll be adding them once they’ve been researched.

  16. sasiteck says:

    Francis the Talking Mule – starring Donald O’Connor, voiced by Chill Wills

    Ruth – beloved mule of Festus Haggen on Gunsmoke
    Buttermilk – buckskin quarter horse of Dale Evans on Roy Rogers
    Scout – pinto horse of Tonto in the TV series Lone Ranger (originally named White Feller in the books)

    Animated Animals:
    Astro – pet dog in The Jetsons
    Dino – snorkasaurus pet of Fred Flintstone
    Scooby-Doo – great dane sidekick of Shaggy
    Snoopy – Charlie Brown’s pet dog

  17. Joe says:

    Good call Ron! Trigger has now been added, thanks for the suggestion.

  18. Ron Hartman says:

    Trigger … Roy Rogers’ horse.

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