Canine co-star died by the hands of Michael J. Fox in 1985.
Freddie, the sheepdog that played Doc Brown’s pet Einstein in the original Back to the Future movie, would have turned 37 today, if he had not been put down immediately following the completion of shooting on the film, as was customary at the time.
“Freddie was really special. He was so good, and so smart, we knew we couldn’t let another movie have him,” director Robert Zemeckis recalls.
“Yup, as soon as we wrapped, we took him out. Michael (J. Fox) loved him so much he wanted to do it himself. Choked him to death right there in front of the whole crew. It was a different time back then,” the Academy Award winner reminisced, wiping a happy tear from his eye.
In recent years, Hollywood has made impressive strides with regard to animal actor welfare, where mistreatment of animals has, traditionally, run rampant.
During the filming of the Wizard of Oz, the dog actor playing Toto had to be replaced almost nightly, as one of Judy Garland’s favorite stress relieving techniques after a particularly tough day of shooting was to torture her canine co-stars, only feeling better after having paralyzed them from the doggie neck down
Sometimes animals were mistreated as a result of logistical concerns. As an example, the pig that played babe, in the babe series of movies, was slaughtered, roasted, and eaten for dinner by the crew, every night, due to a shortfall in the craft services budget for the film.
Here’s to the memory of Freddie, and all the other animal stars in Hollywood that lost their lives entertaining us, may you get revenge on Michael J. Fox in Heaven.
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