Orangey was a professional film cat; a working cat and an animal actor. This celebrated red tabby cat a.k.a. ginger tabby had roles in 10 feature films. He was owned and trained by animal handler Frank Inn and credited under various names including Jimmy, Jeremy and Rhubarb. He starred in the film Rhubarb (1951), a Ray Milland comedy about a cat who inherits a fortune. He also appeared in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) starring Audrey Hepburn, in which he was known simply as “Cat”.
Desmond Morris in his book Cat World describes Orangey as a “long-haired ginger cat with a fiery temperament, who often required many doubles for difficult scenes”. I have to disagree with Dr. Morris because Orangey was not long-haired. He was actually shorthaired but his coat was a little longer than perhaps typically described as shorthaired. There is doubt in my mind that he was ‘fiery’.
We had a prolific film and television career in the 1950s and early 1960s. He won two Picture Animal Top Star of the Year (PATSY) Awards. This is the animal equivalent of an Oscar. He won his first animal Oscar for his title role in Rhubarb. And his second in the better-known film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In that film he is described as “the poor slob without a name”.
He is also credited with playing the cat Mouschi, who was one of three cats living with Anne Frank as her pets when she was in hiding behind a bookcase in the building where her father worked during World War II. You can read about her pets by clicking on this link if you wish.
Orangey is also credited with playing the family cat “Butch” in the film The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). It is said that his is owner and trainer regarded him as “a real New York type cat, just what we want. In no time at all I’m going to make a method or Lee Strasberg type cat out of him.”
One film executive thought he was mean-spirited describing him as “the world’s meanest cat”. It said that he often scratched and bit actors. But he was patient and persistent in staying around the set four hours. Comment: I have to defend Orangey even though, of course, I don’t know his character. But it seems like common sense to me that even a well-balanced and relatively placid cat is going to be provoked into giving someone a swipe occasionally if he is surrounded by strangers all day long and asked to do strange things. He was probably pushed around a bit on occasion. It is an absolute certainty that that would happen at least sometimes. And therefore, I think it is mean of the person to describe him as mean!
Sometimes he disappeared and fled the film set and the production had to be shut down until it could be found. Inn (his owner/trainer) sometimes put a guard dog at the studio entrance to stop him running away.
He also played the role of “Minerva” on the television series Our Miss Brooks (1952-58). His last role was in two episodes of the TV series Batman (1967-68). He played an uncredited role alongside Eartha Kitt who played the role of Catwoman.
There are rumours that Orangey was several cats. We don’t know the date or cause of his death. Dr Morris states that he died in 1963 but the Wikipedia authors say that he was credited for a role in 1967. However, it appears that he died of old age or that is the speculated reason and it is also speculated that he lived to at least 16-years-of-age. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Below is a list of the films that he featured in (filmography):
- Rhubarb – 1951
- This Island Earth – 1955
- The Incredible Shrinking Man – 1957
- The Matchmaker – 1958
- The Diary of Anne Frank -1959
- Visit to a Small Planet – 1960
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s – 1961
- Gigot – 1962
- The Comedy of Terrors – 1964
- Village of the Giants – 1965
And below is a list of the TV shows:
- Our Miss Brooks (1952–1958) as Minerva
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (December 22, 1957) as Stanley the cat
- Shirley Temple’s Storybook (1958) as The Cat
- The Dick Van Dyke Show (1962) as Mr. Henderson
- The Beverly Hillbillies (1963) as Rusty, Cat
- My Favorite Martian (1963–1964) as Herbie, Max the Cat, Cat on Footpath
- Mission Impossible (“The Seal”, 1967) as IMF agent Rusty
- Batman (1967–1968) as Cat
My thanks to Dr Desmond Morris’ Cat World (page 318) and Wikipedia.
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