Canine star of 'The Artist' Uggie launches his autobiography


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The Independent Culture

He won the hearts of millions as the lovable four-legged star of The Artist and now Uggie the Jack Russell terrier is taking on the literary world - with a little human help.

Uggie: The Artist: My Story explains his rise from humble beginnings to being one of the most recognised canines in the world.

The book is written by British author Wendy Holden who "channelled" Uggie's thoughts via owner Omar Von Muller.

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Today, Uggie met fans at Waterstones in High Street Kensington, west London, after jetting in from a promotional tour of Paris.

Although his red carpet appearances have charmed cinema-goers around the globe, the 10-year-old terrier took a laid back approach and settled down for a cat nap.

Ms Holden, who lives in Suffolk with her husband, has collaborated with Hollywood star Goldie Hawn on her 2005 autobiography and contacted Mr Von Muller through Facebook to discuss writing Uggie's story.

She said: "I thought this was the one Hollywood star I really wanted to write about," adding: "He channelled his thoughts to me via Omar. He was ready to talk."

As an unruly nine-month-old puppy, Uggie had been destined for the dog pound but was rescued by animal trainer Mr Von Muller.

Since then, he has starred in a number of television adverts and had minor roles in films before being cast as Queenie alongside Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in 2011's Water for Elephants.

So enamoured was he with Witherspoon, he dedicated his book to her - "For Reese, my love, my light."

Mr Von Muller said: "He was crazy about Reece. One of the only people I've ever seen distract Uggie was her."

But it was his role as Jean Dujardin's sidekick in silent film The Artist that turned him into a superstar.

Uggie's performance won him rave reviews and a campaign, Consider Uggie, was launched to try to persuade the organisers of the Oscars to overlook his canine status and consider him for an Academy Award.

Despite the campaign's failure, Uggie did scoop a Palm Dog award in Cannes in 2011 and pressed his paws into concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in LA.

In February this year, Mr Von Muller made the decision to retire Uggie from full-time feature films.

Rejecting a sequel appearance, he said: "He's way too old to be able to take those type of hours any more. In The Artist we were shooting 10-16 hours every day and back then he was full of energy.

"Now I don't think he could handle it. But we do have his double, Dash, who looks a lot like Uggie. He has longer hair but when we do the shooting we cut his hair and put makeup on him so if they need a sequel of The Artist we have Dash."

As well as his advancing years, Uggie suffers from White dog shaker syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes him to shake.

But Mr Von Muller said: "He's young at heart, he still has quite a bit of energy and he's still a happy dog."

The terrier has not given up the bright lights of Hollywood completely however, and most recently starred in political comedy The Campaign alongside Will Ferrell.

"I've always said he's got this Hollywood star quality and it's incidental that he's a dog," said Ms Holden.

Uggie is not the only doggy star to pen a memoir recently, as Pudsey, the canine winner of this year's Britain's Got Talent, released his own 'autobidography' earlier this month.

Uggie: The Artist: My Story is available now, priced £9.99 from Harper Collins.