Like many a Hollywood legend, Uggie has experienced glamour and excess. The Jack Russell, star of The Artist, has trod his paws on many a red carpet, fallen in love with a co-star and had a regretful night of too much champagne.
The champagne incident occurred when a party guest left a glass on the floor and Uggie seized the opportunity to drink the contents.
“I was wasted,” admits Uggie, whose words are translated via his trainer and “Dad” Omar Von Muller because HELLO!’s dog whispering skills are not up to scratch.
“I was crashing into the wall, against the sofa and people’s legs. Dad had to take me into a quite room and close the door.”
He has fonder memories of Reese Witherspoon, who he starred alongside in Water For Elephants.
“I’m the type of dog that even if there are cameras, lights and crowds, I will focus on what I’m doing. But somehow with Reese… I’d catch her scent as she walked past. Nobody has ever distracted me like Reese.”
The feeling was mutual and the actress would frequently shower Uggie with kisses.
He is used to adulation. Gerard Butler admitted that he was “starstruck” when they met, he’s been cuddled by George Clooney and there are endless requests for pawtographs.
Does Omar ever feel ignored? “I’m the star,” replies Uggie, who is promoting his autobio-dog-graphy.
Dog trainer Omar, who owns seven other pooches, says that Uggie was one of his quickest learners. Uggie had a misspent youth and was abandoned by his previous owner until Omar took him in.
“Around 80 per cent of dogs in the movie industry are rescue dogs,” says Uggie, an advocate of dog adoption. “These dogs are those that people could not handle because they are so energetic.”
Under Omar’s tutelage, Uggie picked up skills including skateboarding and waterskiing. He also had a stint as a stand-up comedian –he and Omar’s other dogs would entertain crowds at street performances in Santa Monica.
“My whole life, I’ve been making people laugh,” he says.
He once caused Robert Pattinson to get the giggles on set. In a scene opposite the actor, Uggie was meant to look relaxed, but fell asleep.
“When they were trying to say my lines, all you could hear was my snoring.”
While Uggie worked for sausages, he wasn’t just motivated by the meat. “I’m a total show-off,” admits Uggie, who was the first pooch to have his pawmarks cemented outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. “When people applaud, I’m happy.”
When he’s not lapping up the human attention, Uggie likes to relax at the family home in North Hollywood. If Omar pops out with his family, he’ll leave the TV or music on. “Most of the time it’s soft jazz music, so that we relax. We like it.”
Now retired at almost 77 in human years, Uggie makes occasional public appearances. “I love having a good time, taking long walks, meeting people, licking their faces. I do a lot of cool stuff.”