Uggie was rejected by at least his first two owners as being too wild. He was about to be sent to a dog pound, but was adopted by animal trainer Omar Von Muller after his friends alerted him to the dog. Von Muller intended only to foster the dog while he found him a new home, but decided that Uggie should stay. He said of the dog, “He was a crazy, very energetic puppy, and who knows what would have happened to him if he [had] gone to the dog pound. But he was very smart and very willing to work. One of the most important thing[s] is that he was not afraid of things. That is what makes or breaks a dog in the movies, whether they are afraid of lights, and noises and being on sets. He gets rewards, like sausages, to encourage him to perform, but that is only a part of it. He works hard.” When not working, Uggie lived in North Hollywood with Von Muller, Von Muller’s wife and Von Muller’s 6-year-old daughter. There are six other dogs in the household, all of whom work in the film industry. Uggie’s earliest roles were in commercials and minor roles in the films What’s Up Scarlett, Wassup Rockers (2005) and Mr. Fix It (2006) alongside David Boreanaz. His first named role, and big break, was as “Queenie” in the romantic drama Water for Elephants, alongside actors Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. He appeared in “The Incredible Dog Show” from August 2010 onwards, a tour of dogs with different tricks, which toured the United States and South America; his trick was riding a skateboard.
He went on to appear in the 2011 silent movie The Artist, and it was this role which brought him to the attention of mass media, with some critics describing him as “stealing every scene”. He had two stunt doubles in the film, named Dash and Dude, who were colored to look more like Uggie, but Uggie did most of his own stunts and the doubles were barely required. Uggie and his trainers for the film, Sarah Clifford and Omar Muller, spent three days with the film’s star Jean Dujardin to teach the French actor the verbal commands and hand signals Uggie needed in a scene. Because it was a silent film, Clifford said jokingly that she could call out commands while the film was rolling. He attended the American Film Institute premiere of the film and walked the red carpet along with the rest of the cast. Uggie promoted the film on a week-long promotional tour, appearing on television shows in the UK, including The Graham Norton Show. He also appeared at a charity screening in London’s West End, in aid of Dogs Trust. Uggie appeared opposite another Jack Russell terrier named Cosmo from Mike Mills’ Beginners in a photoshoot spread for The Hollywood Reporter. He also appeared in other photoshoots for W magazine and The Hollywood Reporter. During the “Consider Uggie” campaign, an official Twitter account was set up in his name. Trainer von Mueller said that Uggie was approaching retirement and that he wouldn’t want him to have to go through the same long hours that the dog experienced while filming The Artist again, but would be willing to let Uggie take other less intense jobs. On February 8, 2012, Uggie was named as Nintendo’s first-ever spokesdog. He helped promote their 3DS video game Nintendogs + Cats during Responsible Pet Ownership Month. Later that year he became a spokesdog for PETA in an ad campaign that encouraged potential dog owners to adopt from shelters. Uggie made a cameo appearance in the 2012 comedy film The Campaign, his finale film role before retirement. Uggie was euthanized at the age of 13 on August 7, 2015 after developing a prostate tumor.
- February, 14, 2002
- August, 07, 2015
- Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death