In the iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the cat called Cat was described as a “poor slob without a name” by Audrey Hepburn’s character Holly Golightly. But in real life, the feline actor behind the furry role had a totally opposite reputation.
Not only did this cat have a name — Orangey — he was also quite the kitty celebrity. According to the book Cat Lover’s Daily Companion, Orangey was one of Hollywood’s most widely demanded feline actors back in the day. A marmalade tabby trained by famous animal wrangler Frank Inn, Orangey already had a decade of acting experience before he became Audrey Hepburn’s onscreen companion.
Orangey made his movie debut in the 1951 film Rhubarb, in which he plays the namesake character, a “millionaire” cat who was gifted an entire baseball team by his late owner. Although that might sound humorous, Orangey also appeared in more serious roles, such as a fugitive cat in the 1959 film Diary of Anne Frank. It’s no question that this kitty had the chops to appear in what would become one of the most famous movies of all time — Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961.
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According to the book Cats’ Most Wanted, one of the reasons why Orangey made such a successful feline actor was due to his ability to “stay” for indefinite hours while a movie was in production. But like some human celebrities, Orangey reportedly exhibited diva behavior after his scenes wrapped up. Once the cameras stopped rolling, Orangey would often run away, shutting down production until he was found again. One unnamed movie executive even called him “the world’s meanest cat” for scratching and spitting on costars after a scene ended.
However, in Orangey’s defense, his job wasn’t exactly easy. Remember that moment in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holly Golightly tosses Cat out of a cab in the pouring rain? (Audrey Hepburn, known for being an animal lover in real life, later called that scene one of “the most distasteful things” she ever did in a movie.)
(Photo Credit: Giphy)
That said, Orangey’s hard work on Breakfast at Tiffany’s paid off big-time in the long run. He ended up winning his second Patsy award — the animal equivalent of an Oscar — for his role as Cat after the movie was over. (His first Patsy was for his role in Rhubarb.) To this day, he remains the only cat to ever win a Patsy award two times — what an accomplishment!
One might think that after the success of Breakfast, Orangey might’ve gone into kitty retirement. Not so! This fierce feline continued to appear in a variety of movies and TV shows until the late 1960s, including The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Beverly Hillbillies.
It’s unclear when Orangey passed away, but what is clear is that he left a major paw-print on the entertainment industry while he was alive — and his adorably furry legacy will live on forever. Today, he rests in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills.
Can’t get enough of Orangey’s role of Cat? Someone on YouTube merged every single one of his scenes in Breakfast at Tiffany’s into one adorable video. Check it out below.