Every dog has its day -- and Monday belonged to Uggie. The canine star of the Oscar-winning film “The Artist” became the first dog to put its paw prints in cement outside the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
The rambunctious Jack Russell terrier was celebrated at a treat-laden ceremony outside the landmark as Councilman Tom LaBonge declared it “Uggie Day” in Los Angeles. “The main message that Uggie would like to send to everybody out there is to please adopt,” Uggie’s trainer, Omar Van Muller, told the crowd. “He’s adopted. He made it. If you guys can adopt a dog, even if they don’t make it on the big screen, they’ll be big stars at your house.”
The event also marked Uggie’s retirement from show business. Van Muller said Uggie, whose other film credits include “Mr. Fix It” and “Water for Elephants,” would no longer star in films but would appear at charity events and other functions.
Uggie, who arrived at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in a fire truck, was bestowed with a golden bow-tie collar and given a cake in the shape of a fire hydrant after performing tricks for photographers and tourists lining a red carpet. He was later joined by pooch pals Lassie and Rin Tin Tin and “Artist” actor Ken Davitian.
Uggie’s “Artist” stand-ins -- his brother Dash and another Jack Russell named Dude -- were noticeable absent at Monday’s festivities. The duo wore makeup to look like Uggie in “The Artist,” where the dogs played the canine companion to Jean Dujardin’s fading silent film star. The movie won five trophies at the Academy Awards earlier this year, including the best picture prize.
Uggie was nearly upstaged at his own event when pop star Katy Perry unexpectedly appeared across the street, attracting a crowd of police and barking fans. Perry was scheduled to appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which is filmed at the nearby El Capitan Theatre.
After cementing his paws, Uggie dipped them in ink and “autographed” DVD and Blu-ray copies of “The Artist.” The pooch was visibly shaken during much of the event, probably due to a combination of the large crowd and the oppressive summer heat. Following the nearly hour-long event, Uggie and company retreated inside the theater.
Uggie joins a long list of celebrities who have left handprints and footprints in the courtyard of the tourist spot. Among them were Johnny Depp, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire and Kim Novak.
While Uggie is the first canine to be showcased at Grauman’s courtyard, three dogs --Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart -- have stars on the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame along with fictional critters like Godzilla, Kermit the Frog, Big Bird and The Muppets.