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Cheetah, sidekick chimp from 1930s Tarzan flicks, dies

December 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Cheetah the chimpanzee from the Tarzan movies of the early 1930s has died at age 80, according to a Florida animal sanctuary.

The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor said Cheetah died Dec. 24 of kidney failure.

Cheetah was the trusty sidekick of Johnny Weismuller. In his later years, Cheetah actually took up finger painting and spent the last several years living in Palm Springs, Fla.

Sanctuary outreach director Debbie Cobb said Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller's estate sometime around 1960.

Cobb says Cheetah wasn't a troublemaker. Still, sanctuary volunteer Ron Priest says that when the chimp didn't like what was going on, he would throw feces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.