Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who stole the world’s collective heart in The Artist, has died. His owner Omar von Muller confirmed the news on Facebook, where he revealed that Uggie had to be put down after being diagnosed with a cancerous prostate tumor. He was 13, which is a pretty good run for a dog.
Little is known about Uggie’s early years; in a 2012 interview, von Muller said he adopted Uggie from a friend who said he couldn’t “handle” the dog anymore. Von Mueller wisely channeled that extra energy into acting, and Uggie made his debut in 2005 as “Biting Dog” in Larry Clark’s Wassup Rockers. Unlike some trained animals, however, acting appeared to be something of a sideline for the family pet. After his debut, he only appeared in two films, 2006’s Mr. Fix It and 2011’s Water For Elephants, before his most famous role as “The Dog” in Michel Hazanavicius’ 2011 film The Artist:
With the praise heaped on The Artist came instant celebrity for its canine star. The cineastes at the Cannes Film Festival awarded him the Palm Dog Award at the 2011 festival, and he became the first dog to encase his paw prints in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 2012. Numerous talk-show appearances—including one where he showed off his skateboarding prowess for Ellen DeGeneres—and commercial work followed. Always a ham, Uggie stole the spotlight from his human co-stars at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards:
Uggie officially retired from acting in 2012 after publishing an “autobiography,” but came out of retirement to make a cameo in the Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis comedy The Campaign and play against adorable type as “Racist Dog” on an episode of Key & Peele:
Uggie’s last appearance was in the 2013 TV movie Holiday Road Trip. Sarah Clifford, a trainer who worked with Uggie on The Artist, tells TMZ that “I will forever hold him dearly in my heart and never forget his infinite love for chicken and hotdogs.”