The Most Famous Animal Actors

They make us laugh, they make us cry and they also make us envious. I mean, if that dog possesses the acting range of Sir Anthony Hopkins then surely my dog can learn how to, you know, not go to the bathroom on my favorite area rug. But I digress.

As children, animal actors captured our imagination! Films like Free Willy, Lassie, Flipper, and The Wizard of Oz didn’t just teach us about morality and love. They also taught us about the irreplaceable bonds that we all make with the animals that care about so much.

These were important movies, shaping the minds and hearts of generations of children all over the world. And yet, most of us know absolutely nothing about the distinguished (and often furry) actors that brought those movies to life.

Today, we explore the wide world of animal actors and highlight some of the best and the brightest in the history of cinema. Are you ready? Stay… stay… staaaaaayyyy… now click!

Rin Tin Tin

There’s no better place to begin our hairy discussion than the OG, TV dog himself, Rin Tin Tin.

Rin Tin Tin, a male German Shepherd, owes his acting career to the American soldier who rescued him from a dog kennel during WW1.

This very, very good boy would go on to star in 27 Hollywood films throughout the ‘20s and ‘30s, including The Man from Hell’s River (1922), While London Sleeps (1926), and The Lone Defender (1930). Many credit “Rinty’s” fame for popularizing the German Shepherd as a household pet all over the world.

Bart the Bear

Bart the Bear was part Alaskan Brown Bear and part actor extraordinaire. In 1980, animal trainer Doug Seus took Bart under his wing and it paid off in spades (or, presumably, salmon).

Over the course of the next 20 years, Bart the Bear would earn acting credits in popular films including The Great Outdoors (1988), On Deadly Ground (1994) and The Edge (1997) and more!

The fact that Bart the Bear, a nine foot, 1,700 pound bear could sustain a two-decades long acting career without something going catastrophically wrong on set is really quite remarkable. I mean, even Academy Award winner Christian Bale can’t make that claim!

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