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A Hollywood First for 'The Artist's' Uggie

25 Jun, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

'The Artist's' Uggie poses after setting his paw prints in cement at Grauman's in Hollywood.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Two of the most iconic dogs in cinema history — Lassie and Rin Tin Tin — didn't show an ounce jealousy as they watched one of their colleagues beat them to a Hollywood first: A canine now has its paws forever in cement, next to Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and more than 200 other human actors.

Uggie, the scene-stealing dog from the 2011 Best Picture winner The Artist, was given the honor June 25 in the famed “Forecourt of the Stars” at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, with his paws now permanently next to Groucho Marx's cigar and the legs of Betty Grable.

The Artist, which took home five Academy Awards, hits Blu-ray Disc, DVD and UltraViolet June 26 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“We made the tablet a little bit smaller for him,” said Alwyn Hight Kushner, director of operations for Grauman's. Whether Uggie would be the last four-legged star to earn the honor: “You never know where the history of cinema is going to take it.”

In typical Hollywood fashion, Uggie arrived a few minutes late to his dedication, exiting a fire truck instead of a limo on to a Hollywood Boulevard red carpet. After entertaining a crowd of more than 100 onlookers, the 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier was presented with a cake made in the shape of a fire hydrant, a solid gold collar from the Beverly Hills Mutt Club, and a certificate from Tom LaBonge, Los Angeles councilman of district four, declaring June 25, 2012, “Uggie Day” in the city of Los Angeles.

“I'm opening up for a dog, but it's not just any dog,” said The Artist actor Ken Davitian (Soul Men, Meet the Spartans). “Uggie and I have so much in common. We've both been in films naked, we're both very hairy, and we both work for scraps.”

Trainer Omar von Muller said Uggie deserved all the credit for its career, which also includes roles in Mr. Fix It and Water for Elephants. Before the Grauman's honor, Uggie had earned a special mention at the Prix Lumière Awards in France and won the Palm Dog Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

“This has been a rush. Everyone says I'm a great trainer, but I don't think so,” von Muller said. “He's just a great dog.”

To the delight of those in attendance, Uggie signed “pawtographs” for the first 50 owners of The Artist on Blu-ray. He then announced he would be retiring from film to focus on his family and friends.

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