Beasley - Turner and Hooch
A decade before Tom Hanks started turning in flops where parts clearly meant for dogs were casted to soccer balls he was a bonafide A-list actor. His most celebrated performance was actually a supporting role where he portrayed police detective Scott Turner, sidekick to police detective canine Hooch in the action-packed movie Turner and Hooch. The lead role of Hooch was given to Beasley, a canine actor born of French Mastiff descent and new to acting. In fact Turner and Hooch was Beasley's very first acting gig, leading many to doubt he had the necessary acting chops. Beasley refused to hear the noise though, turning in the most convincing portrayal of a police mastiff ever before seen, as if he truly was Hooch. While this was his fist job, it didn't stop Beasley from becoming a diva. Stories began emerging in the years after the filming. One told of how Beasley acted out on his private plane after turbulence, causing the pilot to quit on the spot. Others included ruining car seats with slobber, unexpectedly ad-libbing and frequently storming off set. Some criticized Beasley for this behavior while others asserted Beasley's pompous character off the screen helped him channel the character on screen. Ultimately Turner and Hooch was a success. Made with a budget of 13 million, it made a whopping 71 million at the box office.
Where They Are Now
The average French Mastiff lives about six years. Beasley may have been a French Mastiff but he was a different breed entirely. He filmed Turner and Hooch when he was 10 years old and ultimately lived until he was 14.
Happy - 7th Heaven
As children there were only two souls on earth that we had complete faith and trust in. Let's say them together now - The dad and dog from 7th Heaven. The CW Network hit drama centered around a family of all the coolest, hottest people and animals. Looking back today it's clear our trust was broken, but not by Happy. Staying true to everything she promised us, Happy was as good of a dog off camera as she was on camera. That integrity likely came from the actress overcoming an impossible puppyhood. Rescued from a California dog pound early in her life with no family to speak of, Happy's acting talents were quickly realized leading to her enrolling in the prestigious animal acting school Boon's Animals For Hollywood. After graduating with honors Happy immediately landed the coveted role on America's new hit show, 7th Heaven, where she became a mainstay for the show's entire 11-season run.
Where They Are Now
Once 7th Heaven ended Happy would go on to retire from acting. Other than howling the national anthem at several MLB games, Happy no longer made public appearances, enjoying her golden years in peace. Happy died in 2010 at the age of 15, 3 years after 7th Heaven ended.
Soccer - Wishbone
With an intro song that's still on the Billboard Hot 100, Wishbone was a PBS series that began in 1995 and ended two years later in 1997. Starring Soccer the dog as Wishbone, also the dog. He wasn't just any dog though; he was a talking, fashion-forward Jack Russell Terrier with a nose for adventure. The show was an instant hit among all age groups, although most importantly with the children, where Wishbone taught a generation of deplorable 10-somethings how to critically think and be confident in their skin. I peed the bed until I was 14. It was a horrible challenge of mine, encumbering my self-esteem and my pants. I lived in a state of constant undie checking and potty breaks between classes to see if there was something in there. By this point you may have figured out it wasn't just the bed, and it wasn't just pee. At any moment, anywhere, a potential disaster could be near. My only escape from my tragic reality was Wishbone's immersive episodes. Every day I'd watch Soccer getting himself into another insane adventure, each time in a whole new get up. Wishbone was the first ever cosplayer with a purpose because he taught me it was okay to dress up and that I wasn't confined to being just a pants pooper. I could be anyone I wanted to be. So I began dressing like Wishbone. One day I was a cowboy, the next a pirate. With each day, my confidence began to grow and that rubbed off on others. Kids at school began liking me and laughing with me, bowing to me on days I dressed as a knight and poking me with sharp things on days I was Peter Pan, just like how Captain Hook did. To me and many others Wishbone was more than a television program. It was hope bundled in a spotted dog.
To earn the role Soccer beat out over a hundred other dogs at casting calls, impressing producers with an assortment of tricks including a black-flip. Although the show was relatively short-lived, its impact was cosmic. At the height of his fame, Soccer traveled the country on a national tour promoting the show, traveling first-class with a security detail and Jack Russell doppelgangers hired as stand-ins when needed. By the end of the show's run, Wishbone won numerous Emmys, had movie and book series spin-offs and fans of all ages spanning the world.
Where They Are Now
After Wishbone ended Soccer removed himself from the spotlight, citing a desire to return to a quieter lifestyle that would allow him to simply "be a dog" again. He settled down with his owner and love Jackie Martin Kaptan on their Texas ranch where he lived out the second half of his life blissfully until passing on in the summer of 2001 at the ripe age of 13.
Chris - Beethoven
In the 1992 classic, canine actor Chris (sometimes spelt Kris), brilliantly played the part of the 200-pound St.Bernard, captivated audiences everywhere as he escaped the clutches of an evil veterinarian and won the hearts of the Newton family despite the slobber. With a budget of 18 million and grossing over 147 million at the box office, the film netted 130 million dollars and was followed up by 7 sequels. As for the part of Beethoven, Chris has been preparing his whole life for the part, with a world-class trainer in Karl Lewis Miller as his owner, who also worked with animal celebrities such as Cujo, Babe, and the hamster from 'The Nutty Professor'.
Where They Are Now
Unfortunately Chris passed away shortly after wrapping up filming the second installment of the franchise. His age was never public record but some have speculated that the high workload required to make the movies may have played a role in his passing. In latter Beethoven sequels the part of Beethoven was played by 3 different St. Bernards, all specializing in a specific function, including one for stunts and another for drooling. Chris left behind huge paw prints to fill.
Clyde - Marley And Me
The relatively recent film spanned across all stages of a fictional Labrador Retriever's 14 year life, from the puppy stage up to the final moments. To recreate this, over 22 different labs played the role of Marley at different stages, about half being puppies and even a few stunt dogs. However, most well-known and responsible for most of Marley’s adult dog scenes was a lab named Clyde. Clyde was unique from other canine actors in that he was a method actor, who was trained to simply be a dog. Every time he peed in the house or jumped on someone he was rewarded with a treat. Made to pull at the heart of anyone who’s ever put down a dog, Marley And Me grossed nearly 250-million at the box office.
Where They Are Now
There has been no public word on the state of Clyde. He was 3 to 4 years old at the time of the film’s production, which would make him at least 15 today if he were to still be alive, which would make him older than his film's counterpart Marley. There’s a better chance that some of the dozen lab puppies who also had roles in the movie are still alive. There is little to no chance the lab who played senior Marley is still here so right now please have 5 minutes of silence to remember that dog.
Buddy - Air Bud
Famous for his role as a basketball prodigy in the movie Air Bud and as Comet in the hit TV sitcom Full House, Buddy was America’s dog of the 90’s. First found as as a stray in the Sierra Nevada in the summer of 1989, Buddy was adopted and trained in the sports of baseball, football, soccer, and hockey, although he excelled most on the basketball court, splashing buckets and neutralizing his opponents with a strigent defensive presence. Buddy's game quickly attracted buzz and at his peak he was being hyped as the Michael Jordan of dogs. This propelled him into several appearances on David Letterman, a supporting role on Full House, and eventually his own feature length movie, Air Bud, about a golden retriever abandoned by his alcoholic father teaming up with a sad, disappointing teenage boy to win the championship game. The movie was a slam dunk, catapulting a franchise that would go on make feature-length films covering every other sport before going on to tackling topics such as space, treasure, Santa, and snow. Buddy would unintentionally become the spokesdog for canines everywhere trying to make it big-time.
Where They Are Now
In 1997, at the age of eight and less than a year after the release of Air Bud, Buddy had his right hind leg amputated due to synovial cell sarcoma, a type of cancer that manifests near the joints, although it never stopped him from getting buckets. Six months later that cancer would take Buddy’s life, less than a month away from his 10th birthday. To this day Buddy is still considered the greatest basketball player of all time of canine descent, even once beating Shaq in a dunk contest. Air Bud: Golden Retriever, the first of many sequels, focused on a football playing Golden Retriever and was dedicated to the memory of Buddy.
Jed - White Fang
Many of us, myself included, are wannabe wolf owners. We're amateurs with out pompous domesticated huskies. We don't have the connections, resources, or courage to get ourselves a real wolf but where we cowardly won't go, White Fang did go. Based on a book you skimmed through, the movie tells of a friendship between a boy and a wolf-dog played by Jed, a Canadian timber wolf - alaskan malamute. Despite this being his first ever lead role, critics lauded Jed for his performance, leading to White Fang becoming a world-wide must watch. Success was no new thing for Jed though. Nearly a decade earlier at the spry age of 5 Jed had a role in The Thing, a classic 80's horror film, and another in The Journey of Natty Gann a few years after that.
Where They Are Now
With White Fang's success Jed felt that he had proves his doubters wrong, who throughout Jed's career likened him to Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey as actors capable of fitting only a very specific character. With the lead role in White Fang and its subsequent sequel, Jed's critics were silenced and his career's integrity was no longer questioned. This allowed Jed to retire from acting and live out the rest of his years at his trainer Clint Rowe's animal sanctuary. Unfortunately, in June of 1995 the unthinkable happened for a dog many of us believed to be unstoppable; Jed passed away at the age of 18, going down as one of the most accomplished wolves in recent history.
Shadow and Chance - Homeward Bound
We all remember where we were the moment Shadow found his way home. For Shadow it was another day at the office. For us, in that moment the world stopped, babies were dropped, children had a reason to go on living because nothing else mattered other than that senile dog returning home. It was cinematic brilliance, lightning in a bottle never seen before, except for the original The Incredible Journey that Homeward Bound was a remake of. Shadow and Chance were played by Ben and Rattler respectively. Both trained together with Tikki, the movie's cat antagonist, for 7 weeks before filming began.
Where They Are Now
After the immense success of Homeward Bound, the lives of the canine two stars would take drastically different paths. Ben, being a senior at the time of filming, would retire from acting and live out his twilight years in peace. Rattler the Bulldog on the other hand would go on reprise the character of Chance for a sequel. Unfortunately the sequel would not perform nearly as well with many noticing Rattler appearing out of it. In the following months after the sequel's release Chance was reported entering and escaping multiple rehab facilities. This carried on for several years, with Chance being called the next Miley Cyrus, on a path to destruction. Chance would get the last laugh though, eventually mellowing out and living in bliss until passing at an unknown time.
The Huskies - Eight Below And Snow Dogs
Both movies have their share of similarities including a famous actor as lead in Cuba Gooding Jr for Snow Dogs and Paul Walker in Eight Below. Both also came out only a couple years apart and with plots heavily driven by husky actors, they share many of the same husky actors. These weren't your typical canine actors. In fact they're not so much of actors rather than real life sled dogs. Most prominently was D.J - born in 2001, he played the role of Max in Eight Below and Demon in Snow Dogs. His IMDb page has this to say about him, "A playful, happy-go-lucky natural born movie star who previously starred in the canine hit Snow Dogs. D.J. impressed his trainers and director Frank Marshall with his uncanny improvisational skills and always brought an extra dash of drama to his scenes as Max. D.J's sledding double is one-year-old Timba, who was an on-set favorite due to an exceptionally cuddly nature." There's also Koda, who played the parts of Maya in Eight Below and Yodel in Snow Dogs. She's known to her trainers as "The Princess" due to the fact that she has her own entourage and will not go anywhere without her special blanket. She was almost passed up for the part because the filmmakers originally wanted a white dog but she shortly won them over and became one of Frank Marshall's favorites. And don't forget about Buck, who was Old Jack in Eight Below and Sniff in Snow Dogs and can even be seen portraying "Junkyard" in Race to Witch Mountain with Dwayne Johnson.
Where They Are Now
There has been no word on the state of the huskies following the two films so you have to believe they're all doing fine. Most likely they're back at their alaskan blue-collar lifestyle, pulling sleds where they need pulling. It's really quite shocking none of them have passed since they are around 20 years old now. However knowing how much it meant for us all to see those dogs burst out of the snow to the delight of Paul Walker and the hope it instilled in our culture, the news of their passing will surely be global news, inciting some panic and violence but also prayer and mourning for the huskies we grew up idolizing.