Cheeta receives posthumous "Where's Whitey?" lifetime achievement award


It's a sad fact that we often do not recognize someone's greatness or the significance of their contributions until they pass away. Such is the case with that late, great ape, Cheetah (or Cheeta, as he preferred to have his name spelled) who passed away Christmas Eve at the age of 80. And so belatedly, to acknowledge this legendary hominid, we have decided to posthumously award him the "Where's Whitey?" lifetime achievement award.

Cheeta's accomplishments are legion, but he is best known as the chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan series beginning with "Tarzan the Ape Man" (1932). No second banana, he was always there to put a witty, sardonic edge to the dullard dialogue of his co-star Johnny Weismuller - and clearly outclassed his partner/rival in the contest for the affections of Jane, played by Maureen O'Sullivan. The bon vivant chimp revealed this and much more fascinating behind-the-scenes  scuttlebutt in his saucy, shocking, tell-all autobiography, "Me, Cheeta."

Even after his retirement Cheeta remained active, exploring new talents while exercising old ones. As reported in the "Huffington Post," "Cheetah [sic]... loved finger painting and liked to see people laugh." 

Not that he was all monkey business. He remained a true pro and perfectionist to the end. As the "Huntington Post" also noted, "when the chimp didn't like what was going on, he would throw feces."

He'll be missed.

READ MORE: The Year in Monkey News, and other stories from the Phoenix's Monkey Issue

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