The entertainment world has lost a star. Uggie, the Jack Russell Terrier who gained fame late in life in a memorable supporting role in the 2011 film The Artist, died this weekend. Uggie had been suffering from a cancerous tumor in his prostate, and his family made the decision that his suffering had become too great and that it was time to end it.
Uggie’s owner and trainer, Omar von Muller, wrote that the family hadn’t been planning to announce the canine actor’s passing for a while, but the news was leaked to TMZ, making it necessary to issue an official response:
We regret to inform all our friends, family, and Uggie’s fans that our beloved boy has passed away. We were not planning on posting anything until we healed a little more, but unfortunately, somebody leaked it to TMZ and they will be announcing it. In short, Uggie had a cancerous tumor in the prostate and is now in a better place not feeling pain. Thank you for your support, I will not be reading any comments for a while as it is too painful at the moment.
Von Muller adopted Uggie when his previous owners were about to surrender him to the pound because he was “too wild,” and they couldn’t handle him. He initially intended only to foster Uggie until he could be placed in a forever home, but instead, it wound up being a lifelong friendship and working relationship.
“He was a crazy, very energetic puppy,” Von Muller told The Telegraph in 2012 when he and Uggie toured England after the release of The Artist. “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 things is that he was not afraid of things. That is what makes or breaks a dog in the movies, whether they are afraid of lights, and noises, or being on set. He gets rewards, like sausages, to encourage him to perform, but that is only a part of it. He works hard.”
Von Muller launched Uggie into a career first in advertisements, then in movies. He was especially known for his roles in Water for Elephants and The Artist. The second was what truly made him a star. Fans launched the “Consider Uggie” campaign, imploring the Academy Awards to consider him for a special or honorary Oscar, but it was not to be. Ultimately, Uggie’s only reward for his work was love and sausages, but that seemed to be more than enough for him.
Dogster offers our condolences to all of Uggie’s friends and family.
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