As we say goodbye to 2020, we remember some of the famous two and four legged animal advocates that we said goodbye to this year. Although they may no longer be with us, their love and compassion for cats and dogs in need will live on.
Known for tickling our collective funny bone cartoon legend Carl Reiner touched our hearts shortly before his death by stepping in front of the camera for paw reasons.
Along with fellow entertainment icons Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin and Bob Newhart, the 11-time Emmy Award winner was featured in a PSA for Gray Muzzle to highlight the need to save elderly guard dogs and make the lives of our older canine friends better.
HOLLYWOOD, CA – AUGUST 1: Actor Fred Willard attends the Kitty Bungalow Charm School for wayward cats presented CATbaret! on August 1, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris / Getty Images for the Kitty Bungalow Charm School)
A star of the dog-themed film Best in Show, actor among his many credits Fred Willard was one of the best to show his compassion for animals.
A supporter of several animal welfare organizations, the Emmy Award winner stepped on stage many times to raise funds and help Kitty Bungalow create a better tomorrow for wild kittens that families must love forever.
Eddie Van Halen
A rock icon in line with the need to help our friends with fur, fins and feathers. Eddie Van Halen donated a signed EVH Stripes Series guitar and a signed hockey jersey to a Last Chance for Animals auction.
A county music legend who became famous with the hit “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”. Charlie Daniels was an angel for pets in need.
The Charlie Daniels Band performed to raise funds for the Espanola Humane Society, and in 2019 the musician swapped his bow for a pen to sign a violin that was auctioned to raise funds for the Ryan Animal Rescue Foundation.
actor Nick Lamb, who passed away after a long battle with COVID-19, starred on Bullets Over Broadway alongside Zach Braff, Vincent Pastore and a Pomeranian rescued from a puppy mill.
Tony Award nominee Thespian showed his concern for dogs and cats in need and helped put adoptives in the spotlight during the 16th annual Broadway Barks pet adoption event.
While as a drummer Frankie Banali provided the heartbeat for the biggest hits of the 80s heavy metal band Quiet Riot as the musicians’ animal advocate tugged on our collective hearts.
Banali’s obituary urged fans to donate flowers to one of his three favorite charities – Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Children International, and FixNation, a nonprofit that helps control pet overpopulation by: Free Spay / neuter of community cats, inexpensive neutering of house cats, microchip and vaccination clinics for cats and dogs as well as education and training on the release of neutered cats. One statement read:
His wish for everyone is that you be your own early diagnosis health advocate so that you can live long and save many animals.
Former Bad Company front man Brian Howe did a lot of good for animals in need during his lifetime.
As the proud parent of several dogs, he was not only a board member of Have a Heart Dog Rescue in Boca Raton and the Guatamalan animal welfare program AYUDA. The rocker also recorded music for fundraising campaigns for animal charities with his single “Christmas”. in aid of the Beagle Freedom Project.
A year before his death, Howe announced that he intended to sell his Fort Myers Beach home and donate some of the money to Have a Heart.
Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver
In 2020, the country music world lost two troubadours who were helping our tail-wagging pals. Both Jerry Jeff Walkerwho starts with “Mr. Bojangles ”and Billy Joe Shaver They often raised their voices in songs to raise funds at events for Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, a nonprofit founded by Kinky Friedman that brought new life to pets in need from 1998 to 2018.
Character actor Anthony James, who starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the Oscar-winning film Unforgiven, will not be forgotten by movie fans and our four-legged friends.
Instead of flowers, a request to those who wish to honor his memory to make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the ASPCA.
In January, British TV game show fans and our tail-wagging pals said goodbye Nicholas Parsons, the host of Sale of the Century and longtime supporter of Dogs Trust.
The presenter took part in several Christmas concert fundraisers for the UK’s largest dog charity and stood at London’s Old Chelsea Church a month before his death to help our four-legged friends in need.
Broadway star Rebecca Luker, who passed away in December, helped create the conditions for better lives for cats in need when she and her husband, actor Danny Burstein, attended Bernadette Peters’ annual Broadway Barks pet adoption event earlier this year .
The three-time Tony Award nominee, a fan of cats, shed light on the work of the Urban Cat League, a volunteer organization that cares for street cats in New York City. (You can see their Broadway Barks Across America segment starting at 1:33:06 a.m.)
Lady Vera Lynn
Lady Vera Lynn, whose songs (“There’ll Be Bluebirds Over,” “The White Cliffs of Dover,” and “We’ll Meet Again”) helped comfort soldiers and civilians during World War II, sang the praises of those who had consolation and Taking care of animals in need solace when she contacted the RSPCA:
We are saddened to hear that Dame Vera Lynn has passed away. Not so long ago she reached out to us to say how comforting deer were to those who self-isolated and how she had enjoyed playing with her little dog in their field. Our thoughts are with all of their loved ones! 💙 pic.twitter.com/KQct62H7XF
– RSPCA (England & Wales) (@RSPCA_official) June 18, 2020
Famous cats and dogs who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2020
Photo courtesy of Vanderpump Pets
Even the smallest paws can make a big impression. So it was with Giggy, the ubiquitous Pomeranian sidekick of reality personality Lisa Vanderpump.
The petite pup inspired his famous pet parents to create the Vanderpump Dog Foundation, an LA-based nonprofit that:
- rescues and finds a forever home for dogs from high kill Los Angeles animal shelters
- helps curb pet overpopulation through a spay / neuter program; provides care for dogs in urgent need of medical attention
- helps mate paw paws with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
- offers help to homeless pets; Seniors who adopt a four-legged friend receive a reduced adoption rate
- helps needy dogs around the world, including those at risk from the dog meat trade
Photo courtesy of DKC
A Shih Tzu who lived on the street and in a shelter when he was 11 years old Marnie I would find a home forever, both in the residence of her new pet parents, Shirley Braha, and in the hearts of their enthusiastic fans.
As a senior, when she became a social media star with 115,000 Twitter followers and 1.9 million fans on Instagram, Marnie often used her celebrity status to raise awareness and funds for older pets.
When a street cat named Bob: And How He Saved My Life (Amazon Affiliate Link) was published in 2012, the fans’ cats fell in love with the true story of a street musician who had lost his luck and with the stray cat whose dogged devotion got him better life leads to one, and the charming orange tabby gained even more admirers when his story was shown on the big screen (with bob himself plays the title role!) In June, Bob’s human pal, street musician James Bowen, broke news that the famous cat had passed away.
Bob and Bowen are known around the world and have helped raise funds for a variety of organizations that help both the homeless and pets. Among the many animal welfare organizations the couple championed were Cats Protection and The Blue Cross.
A purring Jean-Paul Sartre, Heinrich the black catThanks to Will Braden’s YouTube videos, also known as “The Thieving Filmmaker,” the existential reflections of fans entertained cat fans for years. The nifty tuxedo cat (real name Henry) was adopted from the Seattle Animal Shelter and was not only “full of boredom … and party mix”, but also concerned about his fellow cats.
Over the years he has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for cats in need around the world. And he did everything from his couch, “Will Braden told the fans in a Facebook post.
All proceeds from an upcoming book of poetry about living with Henri (with an introduction by the philosophical cat himself) will be donated to help the animal shelters.