There are some celebrities out there that many of us just feel like slapping. And it seems some members of the animal world must be instinctively picking up on that vibe, with several celebrity animal attacks reported through the years.
Amusingly, some of those celebrities just happen to be the ones who have irritated the public for various reasons, which has led to a media field day following said attacks. Hip hop artist Chris Brown certainly would have been a top contender for deserving a good crack from some kind of animal; but reports of the singer being “attacked” on a beach by seagulls was really no more than a headline grabber. Photos showed the singer caught in the typical onslaught any beach goer can expect on occasion from the birds, with Brown’s mock-enraged reaction a plum paparazzi photo op.
Something about a celeb getting trolled by the animal world makes it hard for the public to repress a smile – as long as the attack is harmless enough, of course. The amusing cases of New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg getting a licking from a mean groundhog during a Groundhog Day presentation, for example, and Paris Hilton getting owned by her recently adopted kinkajou, are as irresistibly amusing for the media to report on as they are for the public to read about.
Of course, other animal attacks on celebs have been no laughing matter, ending in utter tragedy. Such events are a reminder that, where wildlife is concerned, it doesn’t matter if you are a blue-blooded royal or a street urchin–your risk of being attacked is as great as any man’s.
Proving that, here are some of the most well-known animal incidents and attacks that involved celebrities:
10. Fabio: Goose Collision
When Italian romance-novel book cover model and sometime actor Fabio was in his hey day back in 1999, there probably wasn’t a red blooded male out there who didn’t want to clobber him; but in the end, it was a goose that got the opportunity.
Not so much an attack, as an accidental collision, the flaxen-haired, glistening-chested supermodel was riding the maiden voyage of a roller coaster at Busch Gardens in Virginia, when the hapless bird reportedly smacked straight into his face on the first drop, cutting Fabio‘s prized, chiselled nose in the process – and splattering himself and everyone around him with his blood, as well as the bird’s; the 10-lb goose was reportedly killed in the collision with the model’s nose.
The next day, photos flooded the media of the actor sitting amid a throng of young girls on the coaster, dabbing at his bloodied face as they rolled up to the ramp at ride’s end. Aware of the rolling cameras, the model is seen trying to remain composed, flipping his golden locks while chatting casually with a girl beside him.
On damage control in the face of the humiliating event, one of Fabio’s publicists subsequently released a cringe-worthy statement saying: “This is a testament of the man’s strength. Only a strong man could have survived an onslaught like this.”
Makes one wonder if it wasn’t the overly giddy-looking girl beside Fabio on the coaster who got a good pop in.
9. Ryan Seacrest: Shark Attack
He’s surrounded by the suit-wearing variety during his day job, but radio talk-show mogul Ryan Seacrest had a brush with the ocean dwelling kind in 2008.
The American Idol host was swimming about 8-feet out in the Pacific Ocean during a Mexican vacation when he suddenly felt something swim by him. Talking about the incident on his KIIS FM radio show, Seacrest said, “I thought it was a stick,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what had happened.” He then saw the shark swimming, as it began nibbling at his toes.
Unfortunately, any hopes the famous host had about having a legendary shark story to tell the world were quickly dashed when he saw that it was just a pipsqueak sand shark specimen. Seacrest told reporters, “he took a bite and he left.”
The radio host escaped with minimal injury, needing nothing more than a few pain killers for his tootsies. He got a souvenir for his troubles, though, reportedly left with one of his attacker’s teeth, which he said, “wasn’t a great thing to find. It was like finding a splinter!”
8.Gordon Ramsay: Puffin Attack
It might have been poetic justice for Brit celebrity-chef Gordon Ramsay to get a good kick in the arse from a donkey; after all, the highly profane TV star name-calls so many would-be chefs with the insulting animal label, that such an event would seem a stroke of karmic brilliance.
But alas, it turned out to be a puffin who swooped in to take a crack at Ramsay one day, while the chef was visiting Iceland; Ramsay was hunting the bird to use as an exotic dish for an episode of his TV show The F-Word, in which Ramsay catches and then cooks his prey into gourmet meals. Having just been caught, the puffin took a justifiable snap at Ramsay’s nose as the chef leaned in for an affected kiss for his show.
Although he reacts sportingly enough on camera, the injury left the many-times over Michelin star-awarded chef with three stitches, and a wounded pride; he was reportedly too embarrassed at first to tell the public about the attack, initially blaming the stitches on a punch from one of his four kids!
He must have realized that the “donkeys” of the world would have a field day with news of the attack.
7. Phil Bronstein: Komodo Dragon Attack
Fashion gurus everywhere still talk about Sharon Stone making waves in 1998 when she hit the Oscars red carpet looking casual-sexy wearing a slightly oversized, crisp white shirt paired with a lilac Vera Wang evening skirt. Reporters started whispering that the shirt belonged to then-boyfriend Phil Bronstein, the editor/journalist who was dating Stone at the peak of her fame.
Quickly marrying afterwards, the two made headlines again when the actress decided to take her new hubby to the L.A. Zoo, closing the place down for part of the day – to the irritation of other would-be visitors -for her own private tour. But what Stone hoped to be a special surprise early Father’s Day gift turned out to be a nightmare for Bronstein once he entered the Komodo dragon compound.
Told to remove his white tennis shoes for fear that the giant lizards might confuse them with their usual meal of white rats, Bronstein’s bare feet drove one of them wild anyway. The 10-foot lizard reportedly rushed at Bronstein, clamping down on his big toe with its jaws and thrashing its body around as Stone looked on in horror from behind the compound’s glass. Bronstein was able to pry the animal’s jaws open, escaping through the lizards’ feeding hatch as a zookeeper fended off the dragon–but not before it had managed to get a good bite in, which meant taking the businessman for immediate emergency medical attention.
A bite from a Komodo dragon is no joke; the saliva is filled with several strains of septic bacteria which can lead to death if left untreated. Bronstein almost lost a toe in the attack, crushed by the dragon’s jaw; he also needed surgery to reattach several tendons in his foot.
6. Shakira: Sea-lion Attack
Pop-star Shakira was leisurely touring Cape Town, South Africa in 2012 when she spotted an innocent enough looking sea-lion frolicking in the water nearby. Approaching the animal to get a better look, the sea-lion suddenly lunged out of the water with its teeth out, grazing the starlet in the process. Shakira posted a photo of a small wound to her hand to her Facebook page, writing:
“One of [the sea lions] jumped out of the water so fast and impetuously that it got about one foot away from me, looked me in the eye, roared in fury and tried to bite me.” The starlet’s brother whisked her away from the sea creature before it could do any more damage. In her post, she thanked her brother for “saving her life” and for “taking me away from the beast.”
Shakira was told that the sea-lion may have mistaken her mobile phone for a fish offering. The star later sat amid penguins (above) which she described as “much more friendly.” No word on whether they attacked the star later, mistaking her frock for a giant parrotfish.
5. Roy Horn: Tiger Mauling
American-German circus showmen Siegfried & Roy had such a good thing going in the Vegas circuit. The duo seemed to change the face of circus performance, so unique in their spectacle combining magic illusion with trained animals– most famously their albino tiger specimens.
But playing with tigers day in and day out, no matter how white and fluffy they may appear to be, isn’t without risk.
Roy Horn learned that the hard way when he was horrifically mauled by one of his white tigers in 2003, during a live performance at the Mirage Hotel & Casino. The bite to the neck caused the ringleader star such severe injuries that he was hospitalized for months in critical condition, suffering a stroke and partial paralysis. Doctors were even reportedly forced to remove a quarter of his skull to relieve pressure from internal inflammation.
Siegfried & Roy was officially over, with the shocking attack forcing Las Vegas’ most famous and successful show ever to be cancelled.
Horn has since managed to make a miraculous recovery, partially regaining his ability to walk and talk against the odds. In the 12 years since the attack, the animal trainer never held any grudge towards the offending beast, which died last year of an illness at the age of 17.
Horn has since told reporters that he believes he had a mini-stroke during the 2003 show, and that the tiger was in fact carrying him off to safety as opposed to attacking him. He said in a statement, following the tiger’s death, “I will forever believe it was his concern for my safety and well-being that caused him to act as he did on that night long ago.”
Animal experts have opposed the theory.
4. Susan Sarandon: Dolphin Attack
Actress Susan Sarandon has campaigned for dolphin conservation for years, lending a strong celebrity voice in particular against an annual massacre of the creatures held in Japan; so you’d never think the actress herself could have potentially been killed by one of the intelligent sea mammals in a scary brush with one she experienced back in the 70’s.
The actress told Page Six she was spending time with writer Timothy Leary at the time, who got her an invitation to spend some time in the water with some dolphins at a San Francisco lab. Sarandon described how she started swimming with a male dolphin Joe she’d bonded with by holding onto his fin, when she suddenly felt a horrible pain in that hand. It turns out a highly jealous female dolphin had taken an angry chunk out of Sarandon’s wrist.
Sarandon recalled the incident, saying, “I heard them (the researchers) shout, No, Rosie! Don’t!’ I looked over and Joe’s mate, this huge dolphin I hadn’t even noticed before, was virtually standing up right out of the water, towering over me on its rear fins. She seemed to be 12 feet tall, emitting this loud, high-pitched noise. The attendants were screaming, ‘We’ve got to get you out!’ I was afraid I was going to get my other arm broken.”
The bite on Sarandon’s wrist was so severe, that it took months to heal. But much scarier was the revelation from the researchers that the bite had been a “warning nibble.” Sarandon said, “”if she had made that plunge toward me, I would have been killed instantly as surely as if Rosie had been a shark.”
Research has in fact shown jealous dolphins to be highly dangerous.
There’s no telling what that jealous female dolphin would have done to Jessica Alba, who made waves when the sexy actress told MTV a few male dolphins got way too friendly with her during the making of the movie Flipper. Of the amorous behaviour, Alba said “I didn’t know this until I was being poked by a few of them, which was very rude. I think I learned my lesson. I sort of requested female dolphins after that because those are horny little bastards.” Needless to say, media outlets had a field day with the story.
3. Morrissey: Dog Attack
Known for his mournful croons, singer Morrissey was in England when he was attacked by a dog in 2011, sustaining injuries to his arm and hand, that included a fractured index finger. Proceeding with his Scandinavian tour following the attack anyway, the singer eventually sought treatment in a Swedish hospital.
Diehard fans of the pop star short on any further information on the attack were quick to jump to protection mode of their notorious animal activist hero, with one saying, “Don’t animals realize everything [Morrissey] has done for them? The ungrateful bastards.”
No other details on the attack emerged, but one has to wonder; if all that screechy crooning can get on a human’s nerves, there’s no telling what it could do to a canine’s sensitive ears!
2. Paris Hilton: Kinkajou Attack
When socialite and proud animal activist Paris Hilton adopted a pet kinkajou in 2005 to add to her list of cute and cuddly pets, she must have thought it would be like one of the tiny dogs she was famous for toting around in her purse. Wearing “Baby Luv” on her shoulder like a living stole, little did Hilton know the cuddly-cute creature would turn out to be like a tasmanian devil.
TMZ obtained video (no longer available) of the kinkajou biting Hilton many times over during an event, as the heiress attempted to pose with the cuddly pet on her shoulder for photographers. TMZ reported the video showing the agitated kinkajou being taken off Hilton’s shoulder by a handler and placed inside its cage.
Just days later, Hilton was bitten by the kinkajou yet again, this time needing to be taken to the hospital by her publicist for a tetanus shot. Hilton eventually got rid of her feisty pet.
Related to the raccoon and native to the rainforests of Central and South America, the kinkajou became a hot exotic pet around the time that Hilton adopted hers, popularized through internet sales. Unfortunately, the exotic animals have been known to bite, and it was only recently discovered that they carry a potentially harmful bacteria.
In 2011 Today reported on a 16-year old girl falling very ill and needing to be hospitalized for six days following a bite to the hand by her Aunt’s 6-week old kinkajou.
1. Steve Irwin: Stingray Attack
There is perhaps no greater tragic irony in the world than the stingray attack of 2006 that left Steve Irwin, television’s famous “Crocodile Hunter,” with a fatal injury.
With his infectious passion for nature, Irwin was notorious for chasing the kind of animals that almost anyone else in the world would run from. Famous for the crocodile zoo he took over from his parents in his own native Australia, Irwin also delighted TV viewers in the wild by handling huge venomous snakes and dino-sized crocs with ease, admiring and cooing at them as if they were fluffy kittens.
The point was that he loved them all, no matter how repugnant or feared by the population, and he admirably made it his mission to educate the masses on creatures that most would prefer to view with scorn.
The famous TV wildlife expert had survived so many harmful situations, and handled so many deadly creatures without incident, that it was easy to believe he was invincible. That’s why it was indeed a shock to the world to learn that he was not, with the news of his death all the harder to digest learning that the fatal injury had come from the most typically placid of creatures, a stingray.
Irwin is reported to have been swimming above the huge ray for a documentary shoot, when it suddenly unpredictably shot its stinger barb upwards, piercing him straight through the heart; Irwin died from the injury at age 44.
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