Synopses & Reviews
In 1984 Johnny Weissmuller, Hollywood's true Tarzan, passed away. His coffin was lowered into the ground to the recorded sounds of his famous jungle call. Maureen O'Sullivan, his Jane, followed him in 1998. But their co-star, Cheeta the chimpanzee, the greatest animal actor in the history of the silver screen, lives on. At seventy-six, he is by some distance the oldest chimp ever recorded.
Now, in his own words, Cheeta finally tells his extra-ordinary story.
Plucked from millions of swinging hopefuls in the jungles of Liberia, Cheeta became an international screen icon from the moment of his debut in 1934's Tarzan and His Mate. He went on to star in a further nine Tarzan pictures and later in Doctor Dolittle, with the supercilious Rex Harrison, until finally his battles with substance abuse forced him into early retirement. But back in the day, this magnificent star cavorted (and occasionally snorted) with all the Hollywood greats.
We are privileged, indeed, that such a legendary entertainer should grant us intimate access to the lives of the most glittering stars. Well aware that no animal has ever been successfully sued for libel, Cheeta shares fascinating revelations about a lost Hollywood. Funny, moving, and searingly honest, this is unques-tionably the greatest celebrity autobiography of our time.
“A rude, hilarious and infectious memoir of Hollywoods golden age. . . . The Hollywood spoofing is certainly entertaining, but Me, Cheeta evolves into something grander: a broad, cutting satire on the differences between man and beast.” Chicago Sun-Times
“As a premise, Me Cheeta is glorious. What wouldnt be entertaining about the memoir of a chimpanzee, ghostwritten by James Lever, who witnessed Hollywoods Golden Age and is more than willing to spill? Cheeta is one articulate primate, and hes not afraid to dish.” Denver Post
A “lyrical and profane memoir-cum-love-story. The book is hilarious, catty, melancholy and, occasionally, deep.” Washington Post
Cheeta the Chimp was just a baby in 1932 when he was snatched from the jungle of Liberia by the great animal importer Henry Trefflich. That same year, Cheeta appeared in Tarzan the Ape Man, and in 1934 in Tarzan and His Mate, in which he famously stole clothes from a naked Maureen O'Sullivan, who was dripping wet from an underwater swimming scene with Johnny Weissmuller. Other Tarzan films followed, and later roles with Bela Lugosi in the 1950s. Cheeta finally retired from the big screen after the 1967 film Doctor Dolittle with Rex Harrison, whose finger he accidentally bit backstage while being offered a placatory banana. Cheeta now lives in Palm Springs, where, at age seventy-seven, he is by far the oldest living chimpanzee ever recorded.