Homeward Bound, Cats and Dogs, 101 Dalmations. For years animals have been the stars of both film and TV. From the horses in the early "westerns" to the loyal animal companions that aided a heroes to save the day.
Where would Waratah National Park be now if it wasn't for Skippy the bush kangaroo? And what would Coral Key Park and Marine Reserve be without Flipper the dolphin to help save the day? Remember the irresistible face of Beethoven, the beloved canine franchise based on the St. Bernard dog, and who doesn't laugh at the inappropriate orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose? Without these creatures, Ace Ventura would never have existed.
Animals on screen are a great tool for evoking a range of emotions in audiences that human actors struggle to do. They can promote an investment in the film that makes us emote towards them and causes us to fall in love with the characters they portray. That can make them box office gold. This comes with its benefits, some of which being fame and a safe and secure environment, but the other is a wage, and not a bad wage either.
But which of the furry, scaly and feathered animal stars have earned the most in their careers on the big screen? This top 10 countdown looks at the animals that have earned the title of top dog in terms of their earnings.
10 Rin Tin Tin - $6,000
9 Keiko the Orca - $36 Million
8 Bart the Bear - $6 Million
7 Pal the Collie - $4,000 Per Week
6 Moose the Terrier - $10,000 Per Episode
5 Crystal the Capuchin - $12,000 Per Episode
Crystal has had an illustrious career in Hollywood. After being purchased by Birds and Animals United with the specific purpose of being trained to appear in TV and film, Crystal did not disappoint. She began her career working on the Animal Actors stage show at Universal Studios Florida. She began her movie career playing a young monkey in George of the Jungle.
4 Terry the Terrier -$125 Per Week
3 Skippy (A.K.A Asta) -$250 Per Week
2 Trigger (A.K.A Golden Cloud) - $75 Per Week
Higgins was born in 1957. The scruffy crossbreed was found in an Animal Rescue Shelter by animal trainer Frank Inn who trained him alongside all of the other animals he trained for shows such as Green Acres. He began his career on the small screen in shows such as The Beverley Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, appearing in 149 episodes of the latter. He received a Patsy Award and was featured on the cover of an issue of the TV Guide magazine. Higgins later starred in feature films such as Mooch Goes to Hollywood alongside Vincent Price but it was his part as Benji in the 1974 feature film of the same name that was his most popular role. Higgins played the part of Benji at the ripe old age of 14 and still holds the title as the number one paid animal actor of all time. Nice dogs obviously do not finish last.
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