There is always something wonderful about seeing live animals act in our favorite movies. Animal actors are cute, popular, and can convey a wide range of emotions without words.
Find out more about the five of the most famous animal actors of all time, remembered for their amazing work.
RIN TIN TIN THE GERMAN SHEPHERD
No list of famous animal actors would be complete without Rin Tin Tin. He can be argued as the pioneering animal actor in Hollywood. In fact, his name is so famous that other actors who followed in his footsteps were named after him.
The original Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd that was brought home by a WWI vet from France. He starred in many silent films and is considered to be the main reason why the German Shepherd breed was incredibly popular at the time.
Rin Tin Tin soon became an American Icon. Everyone mourned his death in the 1930s but his progeny continued his legacy in Hollywood. One of his descendants eventually starred in the movie, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.
SUZY THE DOLPHIN
Flipper the film was released in 1963, with its spin-off TV series running from the following year until 1967. While five female dolphins were used to portray Flipper, the most predominant was a bottle-nose dolphin captured in the wild named Suzy.
The movie and the series were worldwide hits and are credited for the massive popularity of performing dolphins during this time. Suzy eventually passed away a few years later but her legacy lives on in the number of dolphinariums in the country today.
PAL THE DOG
While nine different animal actors played the title role of Lassie over the decades, Pal is considered to be the most popular one.
Pal’s breakout role was in Lassie Come Home originally meant to go to a show dog. However, due to certain issues with that canine star, the casting directors chose Pal instead. Pal captivated audiences with his acting as well as production teams with his ability to shoot scenes in one take, and would continue to star in six other Lassie movies.
FINDER THE HORSE
Can you think of an animal actor that appeared in not just one, but two Oscar-nominated films? It’s hard enough for human actors, but the list gets even shorter for animals. Finder did just that when starred in both War Horse and Seabiscuit, both award-winning Steven Spielberg films. It was Finder who performed the awesome jump over the tank in War Horse—a feat that many critics thought was initially CGI.
Finder also appeared in The Legend of Zorro.
CRYSTAL THE CAPUCHIN MONKEY
Arguably the most successful animal actor of all time, Crystal’s last five films have grossed more than $1 billion. You’re bound to recognize her, as she’s been appearing in films since 1997 with George of the Jungle. She shot to popularity though with her unforgettable role in the Night of the Museum films.
Her biggest role to date was as a drug-dealing monkey in the second Hangover film. Crystal is loved by casting directors because they say that she can perform her own stunts and is generally fun to work with.
HONORABLE MENTION: GIDGET THE CHIHUAHUA
If you’ve ever seen a Taco Bell commercial, you’ve most likely seen Gidget. This is one of the only famous animal actors to have achieved success from commercial work. The “Taco Bell dog” became such a household name that no one could talk about tacos without remembering Gidget.
You may also recognize her for her work in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde as Bruiser Woods’ Mom.
WHERE HOLLYWOOD FINDS THEIR ANIMAL ACTORS
There are two main ways Hollywood production crews find their animal actors. The first is using a trained pet from a member of their crew and the other is finding them from trusted animal rentals such as Phil’s Animal Rentals. The biggest advantage of using an animal rental is that their pets are used to human touch and interaction. This is especially important when you’re dealing with shy, exotic creatures. When the animals are used to humans, they are able to look more natural on camera.
However, this may still mean having to limit the hours you spend with your rented animal. Even if the animal is used to human interaction, they will begin to feel agitated if they spend an entire day around a large group of people.
Whether they’re famous animal actors or beloved pets, all living creatures deserve to be well taken care of. If you wish to hire a pet for a film, commercial, public event, or even a fun party or occasion, consider looking for well-trusted animal rentals in your area. This is the easiest and simplest way to assure that the animals you rent are trained, loved, and protected.