The 25 Most Famous Animals In Hollywood History

Some actors have earned our love and admiration through their outstanding performances on the big screen, but sometimes, it is their furry friends who really steal the spotlight. A lot of animals that appeared on our favorite films have taken our hearts and will be forever remembered. So today, we’ll take a look at the top 25 animals that have left their mark – or should we say paw print? – in Hollywood history.

#25. Hooch – Turner and Hooch

1989 buddy cop comedy Turner and Hooch captivated audiences when it came out, and not just because of Tom Hanks‘ star power.  The movie follows the story of Turner, a police investigator, who partners up with Hooch, the dog of his murdered colleague.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

Beasley the dog totally stole the spotlight on this one. Imagine having to share the big screen with none other than Tom Hanks, and managing to outshine him in the process! This movie was his only gig, however, and he sadly passed away in 1992.

#24. Dunston – Dunston Checks In

Although the family comedy Dunston Checks In had several big names in its credits, such as Jason Alexander, Faye Dunaway, and Rupert Everett, the true star of the film is Dunston, played by the orangutan, Sam. The story is about an orangutan that is forced to be a cat burglar and is later rescued by a little boy named Kyle.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

The ape moves into a hotel with his new friend, and the two of them get in lots of trouble. Although the movie wasn’t very well received, Dunston certainly charmed the public with his crazy antics. Sam’s co-stars only had nice things to say about their hairy partner, and he got several important roles later in his career, including appearances in Planet of the Apes and The Flinstones. Do you know which other exotic animal became a movie star? You’ll be surprised by the one that comes next!

#23. Vera – Larger than Life

Larger than Life is a comedy movie about Jack (played by legendary actor Bill Murray) and his journey across the world with an elephant named Vera, which he surprisingly inherited from his father. The two of them get in all sorts of trouble, and Vera ends up winning Jack’s heart.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

The fantastic lady elephant who played Vera is an Asian elephant named Tai, and she has been in the Hollywood business for quite some time. Born in 1968, Tai began her career appearing in The Jungle Book and later starred in Operation Dumbo Drop. Her last gig was 2011’s Water for Elephants, where she got to work with heartthrob Robert Pattinson. We’re so jealous of her!

#22. Cole – The Shaggy Dog

Disney’s The Shaggy Dog featured a few big names in its credits, like Tim Allen and Robert Downey Jr., but the true star of the film was the shaggy dog himself. Tim Allen’s character transforms into a Bearded Collie after getting bitten by a sacred dog (we swear we’re not making this up) and jumps through hoops to get back to his human form.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

It was dog actor Cole who played the starring role the whole time, while Tim Allen only lent his voice. So the one who truly deserves credit for this movie is the shaggy dog! Unlike Vera the elephant, his was the only movie Cole was in and is now living a peaceful life with his family.

#21. Baby – Bringing Up Baby

In 1938, the fantastic Katherine Hepburn starred in Bringing Up Baby alongside Cary Grant and a beautiful leopard named Nissa. The story follows an archeologist who, while trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, is pursued by an eccentric heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

Nissa became the most famous leopard in the world following the release of the film, and rightfully so.  Hepburn was very comfortable around Nissa and often petted her behind the scenes, so the two developed a strong bond with each other. Grant, on the other hand, was terrified of her, and a double was used in most of the scenes where Nissa was involved. She seems so cute in the picture, doesn’t she?

#20. Papi – Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a Disney family comedy about a rich Chihuahua named Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore and played by dog actress Angel) who falls in love with a regular Chihuahua, Papi (voiced by George Lopez and played by dog actor Rusco). But the stories of the real-life pups are far more interesting than the movie itself.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

The two leads of the movie were actually rescued in real life. Angel was abandoned by her owners, while Rusco was in the pound about to be put down when dog trainer Mike Alexander rescued him. They actually found Rusco one day before they started shooting! He went from being a scared, lonely doggy to a movie star overnight, and we love him for it.

#19. Clyde – Every Which Way But Loose

Every Which Way But Loose is definitely not your typical Clint Eastwood film. We’re used to seeing him in action movies, not in buddy comedies, so this movie was a surprising choice for the actor. In this film, he partners up with an adorable orangutan named Clyde, and together they go on an impressive adventure.  Audiences enjoyed the movie, not just because of Eastwood, but also because of his cute companion.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

Manis, the orangutan that played Clyde, had undeniable chemistry with Eastwood, who said he was:One of the most natural actors I ever worked with! But you had to get him on the first take because his boredom level was very limited.” Unfortunately, he was replaced by another monkey in the sequel, because as time went by he grew too big.

#18. House Mouse – Mouse Hunt

Mouse Hunt is a box office success from 1997, starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans. The story is about two brothers who inherit an old house, which they intend to fix up. But as they try to remodel the house, they find themselves fighting a feisty mouse that lives inside the walls. The mouse is totally adorable, and viewers found themselves rooting for the mouse rather than the brothers.

Photo: Courtesy of Comic Vine

The loveable mouse was played by 60 mice, which were grouped in teams of four or five, and was taught basic running and climbing stunts. The most complicated scenes were done through Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI). But the mice were so adorable that most of them were actually adopted by the cast and crew after the shooting was completed. How cute is that?!

#17. Lou – Cats and Dogs

Cats and Dogs tells the story of a top-secret, high-tech espionage war that goes down between cats and dogs, of which humans know nothing about. The movie is, therefore… well, as one can imagine, full of cats and dogs. But the one that steals the spotlight is the main character Lou the Beagle. The adorable hero, voiced by Toby McGuire, is the only animal credited in the movie, and its actually a she.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

The talented Prada, who led the adorable four-legged cast, has more work experience on her résume. She portrayed Porthos in a whopping 13 episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, and was featured in a short-lived comedy series named Dog Days. According to the cast, she was a pleasure to work with.

#16. Snowbell – Stuart Little

In Stuart Little, we see the story of a couple who wants to add a new child into the family but instead ends up adopting a talking mouse called Stuart as their son. But, if you thought we’d be including the actual Stuart Little on this list, we’re sorry to inform you that the true star of the movie was Snowbell the cat.

Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Museum

Snowbell is the spoiled, pampered cat of the house, who is startled upon Stuart’s arrival. At first, he hates him because he’s not allowed to eat him, but later their relationship blooms into a beautiful friendship, and Snowbell ends up saving Stuart’s life. They become best friends after that, and the rest is history. You can’t help but love him after watching the movie.

#15. Komodo Dragon – The Freshman

The Freshman is a bizarre crime comedy starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick. Broderick plays a freshman in NYU, who ends up entangled in Brando’s illicit business, which involves selling exotic and endangered animals as specialty food items. But one of these animals will forever be remembered: the Komodo dragon.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

Broderick’s first job in the business is to pick up the dragon from JFK Airport and transport him to a specific address. Of course, training reptiles, unlike dogs or cats, is anything but easy. That’s why Matthew Broderick just grabbed the animal when he needed to for the scenes, and hoped it wouldn’t bite his hand off. The dragon ended up being a total professional and did his job without any trouble. Nobody would have imagined this, considering Komodo dragons are among the most dangerous animals in the world!

#14. Buck – Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild is a 1972 family adventure film starred by Charlton Heston, based on the novel of Jack London. The movie follows the story of Buck, a house dog that is abducted and brought to the North as a sled dog. Heston’s character, John, becomes friends with the German Shepherd, and together they try to survive in the dangerous frozen North.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

The movie was poorly received, and Heston himself told people not to watch it! In his autobiography In the Arena: An Autobiography, he made it very clear how unhappy he was with it, save one thing: the dog. He described the crew as having “no filmmaking talent whatsoever“, but the dog was sweet, well-trained, and awesome to work with.

#13. The Chimps – Project X

The plot of Project X revolves around two students, played by Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt, who are tasked to care for a group of chimpanzees used in a secret Air Force project. Upon discovering that the project involved radiation tests on the chimps, the students help them escape.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

There were 9 adorable chimps featured in the movie, and they were all named in the credits. Two of them actually stayed together after the filming ended in 1987: Willie and Harry have resided together at the Primarily Primates wildlife refuge ever since, and have retired from the entertainment industry.

#12. Eddie Crane – Frasier

Frasier was a super successful spin-off of Cheers that ran from 1993 to 2004, spanning 11 seasons of pure comedic gold, and we can safely say that a big part of its success came at the hands – well, paws- of Eddie Crane, played by the adorable dog Moose. He was the actor that received the most fan mail out of all the cast, and for good reason: he was a true star.

Photo: Courtesy of Reddit

The pupper was such a big star, that he actually made $10,000 per episode. After a few seasons, he was replaced by his sons, and he went on to star in 2000 hit My Dog Skip, which to be honest, also deserved a spot on our list. We just don’t understand why this incredibly talented actor doesn’t have a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

#11. Toto – The Wizard of Oz

Who could forget that epic moment where Dorothy tells her beloved pup: “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore“? The role of Toto, the adorable doggy from The Wizard of Oz turned Terry the dog into a Hollywood royalty. She even had her name changed to that of her famous character to capitalize on her fame. She even made her way down the red carpet at the premiere of the film! You don’t see that every day, don’t you?

Photo: Courtesy of NPR

The adorable pupper made a staggering $2118  a week in today’s money for her appearance in the legendary film. She also appeared in 15 other feature films, including a couple alongside Shirley Temple. Now, she now rests at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in LA, where fans often go to pay their respects to the lovely four-legged diva.

#10. Susy – Flipper

No one can deny that Flipper is the most famous dolphin to ever live. It all started with a film released in 1963, which was followed by a spin-off TV series, which ran from 1964 to 1967. Flipper fought crime at a marine park in Florida, winning all the viewers’ hearts in the process. Then, in 1996, a remake was released starring Elija Wood. Clearly, the character lightened up the childhoods of several generations.

Photo: Courtesy of Mascot Italia

But she wasn’t portrayed by just one dolphin; five different dolphins took on the role, but the most predominant of them was a bottle-nose dolphin named Suzy, as she was the first dolphin actress on TV. The show was such a hit, that there was a multi-billion dollar rise in dolphinariums, and dolphin-endangerment awareness spread like wildfire afterward.

#9. Crystal – The Hangover

The Hangover made big bucks when it was released in 2011, and it featured a few animals – such as a tiger and a chicken – that made the movie even better. One of the movie’s furry stars was Crystal the Capuchin monkey, which appears in the second installment of the franchise.  You’ve probably seen her in a billion movies more, however, as she is a renowned star in the Hollywood animal hall of fame.

Photo: Courtesy of New York Daily News

She also appeared in 1997’s George of the Jungle, and her breakout role was alongside Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum. She performs all of her own stunts, and even walks the red carpet at her premieres. She absolutely loves the attention and gets really excited when people take pictures of her. To top it off, she has even posed for magazine covers with a huge smile on her face. What a diva!

#8. The Direwolves – Game of Thrones

Right from the very first episode of Game of Thrones, we see the Stark family adopt 7 dire wolf pups whose mother has been killed in the woods. There is one for each Stark child, and they become a key element of the series, as they’re constantly by their side, protecting them from any danger.

Photo: Courtesy of Huffington Post

The dogs that played the intimidating wolves were a bunch of sweet Huskie puppers, and the cast couldn’t resist their charm. So much so, that actress Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, actually adopted the dog that played her wolf Lady, named Zunni in real life. She was able to do so because – spoiler alert – Lady is killed after only a couple of episodes. The two are inseparable to this day.

#7. Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd that took the world by storm in the 1920s. He was rescued in World War I by an American soldier, who took him to the United States, where he became a superstar. He went through some training for a brief period of time, and his owner decided to make him audition for a movie. He began appearing in silent films and quickly gained fame.

Photo: Courtesy of the New York Times

He was also responsible for giving his breed a good reputation. Before Rin Tin Tin, German Shepherds weren’t considered good family dogs, but he changed everyone’s mind, and thus helped the breed become more accepted by families. He went on to star in 27 Hollywood films, each of them a box-office success. Sadly, he left this world in 1932, but remember: all dogs go to heaven!

#6. Hedwig – Harry Potter

We gotta admit that the gorgeous, white Snowy owl Hedwig from the Harry Potter franchise is the most famous owl in the world (sorry, Owl from Winnie the Poo!) The wizard’s sweet feathery companion is always there for him, even in his hardest moments, ready to protect her master. She appears on 7 of the 8 movies of the series and has a pivotal role in the plot.

Photo: Courtesy of Pottermore

In the movies, seven different owls played the role of Hedwig, and they all have adorable names: Gizmo, Kasper, Oops, Swoops, Oh Oh, Elmo and Bandit. But the biggest star was Gizmo. According to sources, he was the most enthusiastic of the bunch, which is why he appeared on most scenes. Many more owls were featured in the movies, as they’re the wizard equivalent of mailmen, but Hedwig is without a doubt the star of the show.

#5. Marley – Marley & Me

2008’s Marley and Me made literally everyone cry as they watched the story of a couple – played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston – who adopts a small Labrador named Marley. This adorable dog gets involved in all kinds of trouble, yet manages to charm everyone in the process. We see Marley grow up from being a tiny little pup to a huge troublemaker, and later a sweet old dog.

Photo: Courtesy of Cubahora

He teaches his family important life lessons and leaves a mark on everyone that is lucky enough to cross paths with him. And who was it that brought this role to life? Well, 22 dogs took on the role, but one of them stood out: Clyde. He is shown in most of Marley’s adult scenes and is a joy to watch. He even gave Owen Wilson several unscripted kisses on camera, which were so cute that they ended up in the movie.

#4. Pal – Lassie

Lassie was a TV show that told the story of a female Rough Collie and her adventures with her companions, both human and animal. It was the fifth longest-running US TV show and was even adapted to the big screen in 1994. As the show was a roaring – or should we say, barking? – success, the name Lassie became very popular in Hollywood.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

The iconic role of the beloved dog was played by six different dogs over the course of the show’s 19 years. The original one, named Pal, had an inspiring story. He was first rejected by his breeder because he wasn’t “showdog material”, and was then sold to a family. His owner brought him to a training school, and that’s when his true colors began to show. It didn’t take long for Pal to become a star and grace everyone’s TV screens!

#3. Uggie – The Artist

The Artist took the world by storm in 2012, earning more than $44 million at the Box Office and winning a whopping 8 Academy Awards. But many say that this was mostly due to Uggie, the Parsons Russel Terrier that starred alongside Jean Dujardin. He even walked the red carpet at the Oscars wearing a bowtie!

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

The pupper made several appearances, including one in The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and – wait for it – released a memoir titled Uggie: My Story in October 2012. He appeared in a long list of movies and even received an Honorary Academy Award. He lived a happy life for 13 beautiful years until he passed away in 2015. We’ll miss you, Uggie!

#2. Babe

Babe, a movie released in 1995, tells the story of an orphaned piglet who is raised by sheepdogs and eventually learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hogget (played by James Cromwell), his owner. The movie contributed to making pigs more demanded pets and raised awareness of animal cruelty. So much so, that Cornwell became a vegan and an animal rights activist afterward.

Photo: Courtesy of Honest to Paws

Although Cromwell actually received an Oscar nomination for his role, the true star of the film was definitely  Babe. But the adorable piggy was actually played by 48 different pigs, due to the fact that baby pigs grow very quickly. What’s more, they shot the film with 6 pigs at a time over a three-week period. Unfortunately for 2 of them, 46 made it to the actual film, and one pig was even an animatronic. Did you ever notice?

#1. Marcel – Friends

Anyone who starred in the hit comedy show Friends certainly became a household name, and Marcel the monkey was no exception. During the show’s first season, Ross (played by David Schwimmer) adopts a mischievous monkey called Marcel, who gets into all sorts of trouble. Unfortunately, Ross eventually sends Marcel to a zoo, so that he can live a normal life with other monkeys. He later appears again on season 2, where it is revealed that he was sold to the movie industry and became a famous monkey performer.

Photo: Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Marcel was played by Katie, a white-headed capuchin monkey who was launched into animal superstardom after her appearance on the show. She later worked in Bruce Almighty, 30 Rock, and even in a modeling campaign with Kendall Jenner. She has been in the industry for over 20 years and is still very much busy. According to her colleagues, she’s super sweet and very professional in her craft. What an impressive résumé!

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    Angeles

    24 - Argentina.

    She's a journalist and a website developer based in New York.

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