He may not have had any speaking roles, but Jean Dujardin's canine companion in The Artist certainly stole show. After a successful Hollywood career it has been revealed that Uggie the dog has died at age 13. His trainer Omar von Muller announced that the adorable pup was put down on August 7 after suffering from prostate cancer.
His was a quintessential rags-to-riches Hollywood story. Omar rescued the Jack Russell terrier from the dog pound before training him for showbiz glory. He had been rejected by his first 2 owners as far too wild but Omar spotted his star potential.
"He was a crazy, very energetic puppy, and who knows what would have happened to him if he [had] gone to the dog pound. But he was very smart and very willing to work," his trainer explained in Uggie's memoir. "One of the most important thing[s] is that he was not afraid of things. That is what makes or breaks a dog in the movies, whether they are afraid of lights, and noises and being on sets. He gets rewards, like sausages, to encourage him to perform, but that is only a part of it. He works hard."
Uggie started out in commercials before winning the role of The Dog, who stayed with Jean's character George Valentin through thick and thin. The Artist went on to win 5 Oscars including Best Picture.
Fans failed in a campaign dubbed "Consider Uggie," urging the Academy to seek recognition for their hero's part in the film. The BAFTA Academy also refused to consider him, saying: "Regretfully, we must advise that as he is not a human being and as his unique motivation as an actor was sausages, Uggie is not qualified to compete for the BAFTA." Uggie was, however, awarded a Palm Dog award at the Cannes Film Festival. He also became the first dog to leave his paw prints at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood.
Uggie had previously been in Water for Elephants opposite Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. His memoir Uggie, the Artist: My Story was pawed in 2012. In it he spilled the beans on his Hollywood lifestyle, detailing his friendships with Reese, Katy Perry, Gerard Butler and Whoopi Goldberg.
It was announced in 2012 that Uggie would be retiring from show business so he could relax at home after putting in a decade of hard work. His trainer was already prepping fellow pup Dash to take over so the retired pup could spend his days curled up snoring.