From King Kong to Miley Cyrus - here are some famous monkeys!

From King Kong to Miley Cyrus - here are some famous monkeys!

Lunar New Year has got Team YP excited for all things ape. Here are Hollywood's hairy heroes to celebrate the simians on screen(s)


Wise and wise-cracking Rafiki from The Lion King.

In a week, we'll kick out the year of the sheep/goat/ram, and let the Year of the Monkey swing in. Like the animals themselves, people born under this sign of the Chinese zodiac are quick-witted, playful and creative. They also love the limelight, which may explain why so many successful stars are Monkeys.

We couldn't talk about famous Monkeys without honouring the actual animals. Here are 11 of the best-known primates in pop culture:

Rafiki from Lion King

This quirky mandrill from the Lion King is everyone's favourite sage. His elusiveness and cryptic messages seem nonsensical at first, but he proves that he's deep and spiritual, showing Simba the meaning of life.

King Kong

He's not technically a monkey, but this gorilla still falls under the category of legendary primates. Since the film's first release in 1933, King Kong's tragic romance with his human lady has touched hearts around the world, and even spurred two remakes: one in 1976 and one in 2005 by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.

Donkey Kong

Mario's trusty companion, Donkey Kong first hit the gaming scene in 1981. He originally appeared in his own, self-named game, but he has since appeared in plenty of Nintendo games, becoming a much-loved character of the Super Mario series.

Clyde from Every Which Way But Loose

Arguably one of cinema's most iconic monkeys, Clyde was an orangutan featured in Clint Eastwood's hit film Every Which Way But Loose, and the sequel Any Which Way You Can. Clyde was a key character, even punching some of the villains and sticking his hand out of car windows to direct traffic.

Abu from Aladdin

Aladdin's cheeky sidekick epitomises everything a monkey should be: funny, naughty, and cute. We're not sure why a monkey needs a red waistcoat in the first place, least of all in the sweltering Arabian desert, but Abu looks so good in it, we're not surprised he doesn't want to take it off.

Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean

Parrots are so last century; any decent pirate knows a monkey is the best sailing buddy. Not only can Jack warn of impending danger, he can steal treasure, and knows how to use a gun. Jack definitely wins the award for best all-rounder.

Famous Monkeys

Will Smith - Actor and songwriter. Born 1968.

Venus Williams - Tennis player. Born 1980 .

Kim Kardashian - Reality TV star. Born 1980.

Neymar - Footballer. Born 1992.

Miley Cyrus - Singer. Born 1992.

Selena Gomez - Actress and Singer. Born 1992.

Sam Smith - Singer-songwriter. Born 1992.

Josh Hutcherson - Actor. Born 1992.

Curious George

Normally monkeys are the secondary characters, but Curious George is the star of his own book series. Famous for his enthusiasm, which often gets the best of him, readers around the world love George for his inquisitive and good-natured attitude.

Flying Monkeys from The Wizard of Oz

For a lot of people, the most haunting scene in The Wizard of Oz is the one with the evil flying monkeys. These huge primates have feathery wings, and are under the control of the evil Wicked Witch of the West.

The cast of Planet of the Apes

We're always told primates are as close to human intelligence as it comes. This sci-fi series takes this to the next level, pitting humans against apes for control of the planet. The story began life as novel in 1963, but has spawned a whole franchise of books, films and TV shows, most recently with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014.

Bubbles, Michael Jackson's pet

The chimpanzee often spotted clinging to the late "King of Pop", dressed in eccentric costumes, Bubbles is best known as Michael Jackson's friend. Adopted in 1983, he went everywhere with Jackson, even appearing in his music videos and drinking tea with the Mayor of Osaka in Japan.

Mighty Joe Young

Who hasn't dreamt of raising their own baby monkey? The titular gorilla in Mighty Joe Young is taken from Africa to a sanctuary in California, where he lives with Jill and grows to a gigantic size. Everything seems great until an evil poacher comes looking for revenge. Released in 1947, then remade in 1998, this is a family classic.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Movie monkey magic


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