Uggie, scene-stealing dog from ‘The Artist,’ dies
LOS ANGELES — Uggie, the scene-stealing Jack Russell terrier who charmed audiences in the Oscar-winning 2011 film “The Artist,” has died.
His Los Angeles-based owner and trainer, Omar Von Mueller, announced Uggie’s death early Wednesday in a post on his Facebook page. The 13-year-old dog had a cancerous tumor in the prostate, he said.
“We regret to inform to all our friends, family and Uggie’s fans that our beloved boy has passed away,” Von Mueller wrote. “In short, Uggie … is now in a better place not feeling pain. Thank you for your support, I will not be reading any comments for a while as it is too painful at the moment.”
In “The Artist,” about the rise and fall of two Hollywood actors of the 1920s, Uggie played “Jack,” the loyal pet of silent-film star George Valentin, whose career took a nosedive with the advent of talking pictures. In one of the movie’s more dramatic scenes, Jack helped rescue the depressed George from a fire and saved his life.
The movie was nominated for many year-end awards, making its stars — including Uggie — regulars on the red carpet. Actor Jean Dujardin, who played George, brought Uggie on stage at the 2012 Golden Globes and led him in one of the central tricks of the film: when Uggie gets “shot,” falls down and plays dead.
Several grass-roots campaigns even urged that Uggie be considered for an Oscar and other acting awards, leading the British Academy of Film and Television Awards to issue a statement that the dog was not eligible because “he is not a human being and … his unique motivation as an actor was sausages.”
“The Artist” won five Oscars that year, including best picture and best actor for Dujardin, who again brought Uggie onstage to collect his statuette.
Uggie had several previous owners before being adopted by Von Mueller, who trained him and got him parts in commercials and movies. Before “The Artist,” Uggie appeared in the 2011 drama “Water for Elephants” alongside Reese Witherspoon.
He later had a cameo in the 2012 Will Ferrell election comedy “The Campaign.”