‘Cheetah’ caretaker gets star in Palm Springs for exploits

The caretaker of Cheetah the Chimp, Dan Westfall, was honored last week with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

The ceremony was held last Saturday at 100 S. Palm Canyon Drive, according to Amy Blaisdell, the city’s director of communications. Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet said the city was “thrilled” Westfall’s name would be added to the Walk of Stars.

“Dan Westfall is a Palm Springs favorite,” Pougnet said.

In 1991, Westfall adopted Cheetah, who performed opposite Ronald Reagan in “Bedtime for Bonzo” and Johnny Weissmuller in a dozen Tarzan films. Westfall began working the Marquis Chimps in nightclubs, circuses and theatres in 1975. He moved to Palm Springs and was the opening act with the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies in 1991.

He created the nonprofit Cheetah Primate Sanctuary in 2004.

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