11 April 2006

And At 74, Still A Better Actor And Painter Than Tony Curtis...

Cheeta, co-star of a dozen classic ''Tarzan'' movies (starting with 1932's "Tarzan The Ape Man", produced in the 30s and 40s, turned 74 this week! Incredibly, this simian hyphenate has outlived "Tarzan" costars Johhny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Bruce Bennett, and Buster Crabbe (considering most chimps don't live past the age of 40), and "Doctor Doolittle" himself, Rex Harrison.

His keeper at CHEETA (Creative Habitats and Enrichment for Endangered and Threatened Apes) said "he had a good time. The party went real good". But the old boy's diabetic, so his cake was sugar-free. The graying, 150 pound chimp still has all of his original teeth, too, and is likely to keep them at this rate. Reps from a Spanish film festival also showed up for Sunday's party in Palm Springs to present Cheeta with his first, long-overdue award: an International Comedy Film Festival of Peniscola prize.

Cheeta has been recognized by the Guinness Book Of World Records as the world's oldest chimp, and keeps busy painting ''ape-stract'' pieces that are sold to raise money for the nonprofit sanctuary. Check out his homepage here.