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Best Friend of the King of the Apes
September 5, 2006 7:35 PM   Subscribe

He's 74-years-old, which makes him the world's oldest primate. He was a movie star. He lives a comfortable life as an older retiree. In his spare time, he paints. In fact, if you like, he will paint a painting just for you, and the money you donate for it supports his primate sanctuary. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Cheeta.
posted by Astro Zombie (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
And I own one of his paintings.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:36 PM on September 5, 2006


Surely the world's oldest non-human primate.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:38 PM on September 5, 2006


Yep.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:42 PM on September 5, 2006


I may not know a whole heck of a lot about art, but I know what I like, and I tell you right now, I like what that monkey's doing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:44 PM on September 5, 2006 [2 favorites]


"Ape-stract" art. Love it.
posted by carter at 7:53 PM on September 5, 2006


Talk about ape-ing Pollack.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:00 PM on September 5, 2006


Talk about ape-ing Pollack.

I dunno, Blazecock, that monkey's still applying brush to canvas, not dripping and spattering. But perhaps you're referring to Pollack's pre- or post-"Springs" period?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 PM on September 5, 2006


Wikipedia says Elizabeth Bolden is the oldest living primate.
posted by gubo at 8:14 PM on September 5, 2006


Humans are primates.
posted by delmoi at 8:14 PM on September 5, 2006


Well that was like looking in the mirror.
posted by meh at 8:15 PM on September 5, 2006


ah beaten to it above
posted by gubo at 8:15 PM on September 5, 2006


Yes, yes,yes. Non-human primate. Administrator, hope me!
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:15 PM on September 5, 2006


Not a bad looking fella for his age. And it's nice to see a celebrity secure enough to let himself be photographed without a hairpiece.
posted by maryh at 8:16 PM on September 5, 2006


Slightly horsey around the lips.

Heh.
posted by meh at 8:21 PM on September 5, 2006


OOOOOH-OOOOOOH-OOOOOOOH! AH-AH!

*swings from vine to vine*
posted by jason's_planet at 8:31 PM on September 5, 2006


Some famous artist should get a Factory of apes to make his paintings and sell them to unknowing wives-of-industrial-magnates in the Chelsea galleries for a cool quarter mill.
posted by bukharin at 8:44 PM on September 5, 2006


In contrast is Janie (about 3/4 down), a child star of the Auckland zoo tea party apes, who has outlived all her contemporaries. Now at 52, she is overweight, diabetic and sits around watching tv and playing with her cellphone. Never married, no kids, just anxiety over getting fat and a cellphone that doesn't ring.
posted by arruns at 8:46 PM on September 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think, if I had money to burn, I would get one of his paintings. I quite like those.
posted by blacklite at 8:58 PM on September 5, 2006


That ape sure can paint! I'd opened the painting link in a background tab and forgotten what was in it, and was immediately struck by the image. Thanks for the post!

More ape art, and don't forget Congo, the chimpanzee with the brush that outsold Brit Art's finest by £12,000
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:16 PM on September 5, 2006


Cheeta! My childhood favorite. Imagine my confusion when I learned a cheeta was a cat. Amazing to learn that the old chimp is still alive and kicking.

Please be respectful. A chimp is not a monkey. I have monkeys around my house, and they are definitely not chimps, probably a good thing, else I'd have worse problems than the occasional stolen bread and/or bananas (when the kitchen door is left open on a day the monkeys are foraging in this area).

I want a painting, too, just because of who the artist is. I've no clue what kind of tariff/tax hit I'd get trying to import one to South Africa though.
posted by Goofyy at 9:18 PM on September 5, 2006


Please be respectful. A chimp is not a monkey

10,000 apologies!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:24 PM on September 5, 2006


Imagine my confusion when I learned a cheeta was a cat.

Actually, a cheetah is a cat. Cheeta is a chimp.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:36 PM on September 5, 2006


It's a little weird that nearly all the human stars of his Tarzan movies are now dead, but he lives on. Who'd have predicted that when he made his first movie in 1932?

Only "Boy" and Cheeta remain.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:09 PM on September 5, 2006


That's a really nice painting you got, Astro Zombie, wow. Thanks to you and MetaMonkey for the links; I love this stuff.
posted by mediareport at 10:52 PM on September 5, 2006


I was just watching Tarzan and His Mate yesterday. Is that really the same chimpanzee from 1934?

The Independent on Sunday:
Heartiest congratulations to Cheeta the chimp, star of the Tarzan movies of the 1930s and 1940s, who celebrated his 74th birthday last week. Now officialy the world's oldest chimp, he lives in secluded retirement in California, doing a little painting and being taken to the occasional drive-in movie. Stil a trim 10 stone, he's as fit as a fiddle after giving up the beer and cigars. He made his name starring opposite Johnny Weissmuler and Maureen O'Sulivan, although there was often turbulence on the set.

Cheeta developed a crush on Tarzan and when he and Jane had scenes which involved a clinch, the chimp had to be chained up to prevent him biting the female lead. By his last film, DrDolittle, opposite Rex Harrison, Cheeta had calmed down somewhat.
(Who stole the ls from that quote? Cheeta!?)
posted by pracowity at 10:57 PM on September 5, 2006


Now officialy the world's oldest chimp

...in captivity...
posted by mediareport at 11:00 PM on September 5, 2006


...in captivity...

True, there could be some Methuselah chimp in the jungle, but chimpanzees tend to live longer in captivity. Chimp Haven:
Lifespan: - Wild born: 40 to 50 years, although a wild chimpanzee over 30 years old is considered geriatric

Lifespan: - Captive: 50 to 60 years
posted by pracowity at 11:51 PM on September 5, 2006



The acid in Chimp Heaven is good. Like, really really good!
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:23 AM on September 6, 2006


So he's the world's oldest living non-human primate in captivity, that we know of.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:33 AM on September 6, 2006


So he's the world's oldest living non-human primate in captivity, that we know of.

Yes, we are not ruling out older zombie non-human primates on other planets. Even other dwarf planets.

Please be respectful. A chimp is not a monkey.

Maybe, but Cheeta co-star Maureen O'Sullivan (mother of Mia Farrow, by the way) used to call Cheeta "that filthy monkey" (or words to that effect). I can't find the quote.

By the way (again from Chimp Haven):
After years of effort by many organizations, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Chimpanzee Health, Improvement, Maintenance and Protection (CHIMP) Act (P.L. 106-551) in December 2000.
And who moved into Clinton's very own office soon after? [OK, lame joke. Ook.]
posted by pracowity at 2:37 AM on September 6, 2006


Corollary to the monkeys on typewriters thing: if Cheeta were given an infinite amount of time to paint, would he eventually paint the Mona Lisa?
posted by beagle at 5:13 AM on September 6, 2006


Since Neanderthals hadn't really evolved into being humans yet, and for the sake of clarity, I should say that Cheeta is the oldest living non-human primate in captivity that we know of who is not a caveman frozen in ice during the Middle Paleolithic, but lives on, waiting to be defrosted.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:17 AM on September 6, 2006


Surely the world's oldest non-human primate
...in captivity... (Etc. Etc.)

Ahh, two weeks away from the old place, and it warms the cockles* of my heart to see that the level of pedantry is still as high as ever.

A great post, I was a great fan of those Tarzan movies when I was a kid (even though my dad sat there picking holes in the entire scenario whilst I was watching). I'm glad good old Cheeta is still doing well.

*= I am aware that there are no cockles in the human heart as it is in fact a mussel...
posted by ob at 6:21 AM on September 6, 2006


Oliver and I were smoking stogies and drinking a little whisky when he revealed to me that he didn't much care for Cheeta.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:04 AM on September 6, 2006


I see bananas in this. Cheeta is contemplating the deeper essence of...bananas. He's communing with the mysterious spirit god of the banana. What is a banana? We just don't know.
posted by Skygazer at 7:25 AM on September 6, 2006


Oliver? Is that your cousin?

By the way: Until people started feeding bananas to captive chimps, chimps had never eaten bananas.

Monkeys, however...
posted by pracowity at 9:25 AM on September 6, 2006


Oliver? Is that your cousin?

Oliver.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:30 AM on September 6, 2006


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