My Life in Hollywood
By James Lever (Other)
Ecco Press, Paperback, 9780061647802, 320pp.
Publication Date: March 9, 2010
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.
A “lyrical and profane memoir-cum-love-story. The book is hilarious, catty, melancholy and, occasionally, deep.”
“As a premise, Me Cheeta is glorious. What wouldn’t be entertaining about the memoir of a chimpanzee, ghostwritten by James Lever, who witnessed Hollywood’s Golden Age and is more than willing to spill? Cheeta is one articulate primate, and he’s not afraid to dish.”
“A rude, hilarious and infectious memoir of Hollywood’s 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.”