The day that we’ve long-feared has arrived. Uggie is officially retired. It’s incredibly rare for a performer to lift themselves up from nothing and capture the hearts of the world in such a short span of time, but that exactly what the canine star of The Artist did. Only to flame out when a mystery illness rendered him all wiggly and weird.
But as he did with everything, Uggie retired in style. His short-lived career was honored and his celebrity immortalized outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre yesterday when he imprinted his paws in cement on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. No reports as to whether or not he later took a whiz on it.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is best known for featuring the handprints of celluloid heroes like Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak, cinema’s Clint Eastwood, and inventor of the motion picture, Thomas Edison. And now Uggie. But he’s not the only animal to be honored in such a way. In fact, he’s not even the only dog. Below is a list of the screen legends that Uggie can now count his name amongst. They’re all very cute.
Perhaps the inspiration for Uggie’s character in The Artist, Strongheart was an actual canine star from the Silent Film era. Born Etzel von Oeringen, the former German police dog was brought to the United States by husband and wife filmmaking team Laurence Trimble and Jane Murfin. After adopting the slighty less German-sounding stage name, Strongheart went on to star in six films including a 1925 adaptation of White Fang and The Return of Boston Blackie.
Of course, in his later years von Oeringen found himself embroiled in controversy when falsely accused to trying to eat a little girl. The charges where later dropped and the performer’s good name was cleared. However, the taste of this victory would not last very long. One year later, Strongheart was burned after accidentally touching a hot studio light while on set. These injuries formed a tumor that would claim the animal actor’s life. “God bless you Strongheart, God bless you”, said his owner while eulogizing the star. God bless, indeed.
A former soldier, Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd adopted from a World War I battefield who went on to star in twenty-three Hollywood films. To provide you some perspective, he has more feature credits than Michael Fassbender, and the guy seems to be everywhere.
Proving an adeptness for tricks and high jumps, Rin Tin Tin (or Rinty) moved to Los Angeles to pursue his owner’s dream of making him the next Strongheart. While performing at a dog show, Rin Tin Tin was filmed in slow-motion leaping eleven feet into the air. The rest is history when he was cast as a wolf in Where the North Begins, a film so successful it is credited with saving Warner Bros from bankruptcy. If not for heroes like Rin Tin Tin, we wouldn’t have films like The Dark Knight and Happy Feet Two. So, show some damn respect.
As the most famous of all animal actors, it’s no surprise that Lassie has her paws forever frozen on Hollywood’s famous sidewalk. None for feats of bravery, child rescue, and a smooth, shiney coat, the famed collie dog enjoyed success across film, radio, print, and television. All that and the ability to lick her own butt. Truly a dynamo.
Currently the only monster on the Hollywood Walk of Fame besides Tom Hanks (he knows what he did), Godzilla earned his star after becoming a global phenomenon. Also, after representatives for Godzilla paid the $30,000 fee required to sponsor a square on the sidewalk.
The Muppets‘ frontfrog was honored with the 2,208th star on the Walk of Fame back in 2002. Appearing to share their admiration for the amphibious everyman were members of the Henson Family and David Arquette. A perhaps-bitter Elmo was not in attendance.
Sesame Street’s giant, fey bird has the distinction of being the first Muppet to receive their star. As mentioned above, Kermit the Frog was the second to cement their memory in the annals of history. However, in 2010, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that the entire Muppets cast were to receive a star. The after-party was probably friggin’ insane.