Top 10 Famous Monkeys in Popular Culture

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6. Ishmael:


Ishmael is a philosopher gorilla that is captured from the wild and sent to the zoo where he is sold off to a menagerie who can communicate with him through his mind.

7. Precious on Passions:

Precious on Passions

In March of 2003, NBC’s Passions hired an orangutan named Precious in the role of the private duty nurse of one of its supporting characters–a bold step in the wrong direction in the already slow evolution of the media’s portrayal of nurses. The desperate character Beth Wallace hired Precious to nurse Beth’s invalid mother’s and replaced the human nurse in order to prevent any nurse-related disclosure of Beth’s nasty secrets, many of which relate to her ongoing efforts to get back with former sweetheart Luis and to get rid of the beautiful Sheridan, with whom Luis is actually in love.


8. King Louie in Jungle Book:

King Louie in Jungle Book

If you are a fan of Jungle Book, you’d remember King Louie. He is voiced by Louis Prima, but producers considered Louis Armstrong for the role. Producers avoided hiring an African American because of the controversy it could stir. This led to much criticism over the character being an example of a racial stereotype.

The character does not appear in the original book because orangutans are not native o India and also because the author believed that monkeys do not necessitate a king.

King Louie has become a popular franchise, appearing in Fables such as Vertigo Comics. He is one of the revolutionaries who wish to overcome resentment at the apparent second class status.


9. Shift in The Chronicles of Narnia:

Shift in the Chronicles of Narnia

Shift is the main antagonist in The Chronicles of Narnia, specifically in The Last Battle, which is the last book of the series. Shift is an ape that cannot talk. He lives near his friend Puzzle, the donkey, at the base of the Great Waterfall. C.S. Lewis, the author, describes Shift as a clever, cunning, most wrinkled and also the ugliest ape you can imagine.

If you are wondering where the name came from? It is a typical Narnian animal name but it can also be described as a Jewel or a Puzzle. It can also signify themes of deception and development.


10. Cheeta in Tarzan:

Cheeta in Tarzan

Who can forget Cheeta in Tarzan? This chimpanzee character is a great sidekick and ally and occasionally leads to Tarzan’s rescue whenever Tarzan is in trouble. There is no sex for Cheeta, as it can be characterized as both male and female. It was mainly cast to provide comic relief in the TV show and books.

My cousin, who is now 20, used to love watching Tarzan. His favourite character was Cheeta and of course Zena.


There are many other monkeys worth mentioning and they are the apes from Planet of the Apes (1968) film, Bubbles, the monkey who worked alongside Michael Jackson and Albert, the Monkey Astronaut.

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