Orangey is perhaps the most famous cat in the movies. Trained by Frank Inn ( who was a top trainer of animals for films) Orangey was a male marmalade colored tabby.
Orangey’s career spanned about a decade and though he was often uncredited, or billed by various names he worked prolifically in both movies and television in the 1950s and early 1960′s.
His first big hit was as the title role in Rhubarb, a 1951 film about a cat who inherits a fortune. He won his first PATSY Award for that performance. (The Patsys were the Oscars for animal performers.) The films human stars were Ray Milland, Jan Sterling and Gene Lockhart (above).
From 1952 to 1958 he had a regular role as “Minerva” on the television series Our Miss Brooks with Eve Arden.
But his film career flourished as well. He was “Butch” in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). He appeared (uncredited) in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959).
Then another starring role (and billed as himself–though his character was just called “cat”) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And his second PATSY.
Like many stars Orangey was temperamental.
He had a reputation for being “the world’s meanest cat.” It’s said that he scratched and bit actors. But unlike most cats he had the ability to stay focused for several hours. However, after shooting stopped he would often disappear, and production would have to be be shut down until he was found.
But again, like most stars who were deemed irreplaceable, he could get away with these antics because he delivered the necessary performances.