A few nights ago I watched the 1957 movie The Incredible Shrinking Man which is one of my old-time favorites. If you have not seen it, there is a scene where the shrinking man is small enough to live in a doll house. This works out okay until his cat gets left inside the large house with everyone else out for the evening. I think you can guess what happens next. (Don’t worry, after a great “cat & mouse” battle the man gets away).
I started wondering about the cat in the movie and decided to do some research. Turns out this orange tabby is an award-winning feline actor! He is the only double-winner of the Patsy Award, the animal kingdom’s equivalent of the Oscar. (PATSY stands for Picture Animal Top Star of the Year). Orangey won his first award for his debut in the 1951 movie Rhubard, playing a baseball team-owning cat.
Orangey won his second Patsy ten years later playing “Cat” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. His role was a homeless feline who visits Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn). Here is a great You Tube video by Alex DeCosta showing all the clips from the movie that feature Orangey the Cat. It might be hard to believe but I had not seen this movie so the ending clips with “Cat” and Holly in the rain brought on some tears.
Orangey was trained by the famous animal trainer Frank Inn, known for many famous critter actors including Arnold the Pig on Green Acres and Higgins the Dog on Petticoat Junction. As a single cat can only master a few tricks, Frank trained a crew of look-alikes to work as a group under the Orangey name. This is a common procedure for cat actors.
In his 15 year career Orangey the Cat also appeared in Gigot, Village of the Giants and had a recurring role as “Minerva the Cat” in the TV series, Our Miss Brooks. You’ll now find Orangey properly memorialized at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills with other successful actors.
Next time I see Orangey in a movie I’ll definitely pay more attention to this veteran actor! Which is your favorite role by Orangey the Cat? We’d love to hear your comments.