Remembering Uggie, the beloved canine star from ‘The Artist’
Last night, we learned that the world lost a great pup: Uggie, the scene-stealing Jack Russell who left a paw-print-shaped mark on our hearts. After 13 years, Uggie left this stage for one in the clouds on August 7.
“We regret to inform to all our friends, family and Uggie’s fans that our beloved boy has passed away,” his trainer and loving owner, Omar Von Muller, posted on Facebook today. “. . . In short, Uggie had a cancerous tumor in the prostate and is now in a better place not feeling pain.”
Uggie was rescued as a little puppy; in fact, he was rejected by several owners for being “too wild.” He was then adopted by Von Muller and trained to be the fun-loving, talented pup we all know today. “He was a crazy, very energetic puppy,” Von Muller told The Telegraph in 2012. “And who knows what would have happened to him if he [had] gone to the dog pound. But he was very smart and very willing to work.”
“One of the most important thing is that he was not afraid of things,” Von Muller continued. “That is what makes or breaks a dog in the movies, whether they are afraid of lights, and noises and being on sets. He gets rewards, like sausages, to encourage him to perform, but that is only a part of it. He works hard.” Uggie is most famous for his role as Jack in 2011’s Oscar-winning silent film The Artist, where he charmed us all both on-screen and on the red carpet. Former movie critic for The Virginian-Pilot Mal Vincent claimed that Uggie “[stole] every scene.” Though the human actors were great, too, we’d have to agree. We will always remember the scene in which Jack helps rescue his human friend from a fire, or when he falls down adorably when he gets “shot.” In fact, Uggie’s performance was so heartwarming that several members of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts inquired whether they were allowed to vote for Uggie in the “supporting actor” category.
In fact, there were so many requests for Uggie to be given an award that Premier PR had to put their foot down. “Regretfully, we must advise that as he is not a human being and as his unique motivation as an actor was sausages, Uggie is not qualified to compete for the BAFTA in this category,” Premier PR responded in a statement. “We thank you on his behalf for your support and will pass your compliments along to him.”
Though Uggie gave a spectacular performance in The Artist, the film was not his only major role. The beloved celebrity pooch also was in the Reese Witherspoon-Robert Pattinson film Water For Elephants as Queenie, the Will Ferrell-Zach Galifianakas film The Campaign as himself, and Bones star David Boreanaz’s Mr. Fix It.
Uggie’s adorable talent also earned him several awards, such as the Palm Dog Award for best performance by a canine at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. He’s also received a special mention at the Prix Lumiere Awards (the French equivalent of the Golden Globes). At the first Golden Collar Awards in 2012, Uggie was named the Best Dog in a Theatrical Film. And that same year, when Uggie announced his retirement from showbiz, he became the very first dog to put his paw prints in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Uggie may be gone from this Earth, but his spunky spirit will remain — and his brother, Dash, will help keep his memory alive on stage. Dash is a skateboarding pup who has been training hard since Uggie’s retirement in 2012, according to Hollywood Reporter. Dash has got some big pawprints to fill, because Uggie is a name we won’t be soon forgetting. Rest in peace, Uggie — we hope you are given all the sausage treats you want up there.
(Images via Twitter.)