Hollywood has always had a loving relationship with very talented acting animals. Aside from horses, cats and of course the orca whale named Keiko, dogs are the number one animal actors in the world. Hollywood has portrayed the man-and-dog relationship from different angles, and audiences still hold great fascination regarding animal actors. This fascination holds true with several cases of Cairn Terriers who got their "big break" on TV or in films.
Without any doubt, the most famous Cairn Terrier of our time is Terry. In her most famous role, the female terrier Terry played the role of a male dog named "Toto" in the 1939 screen adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. In this MGM production, Terry played opposite Ms. Judy Garland. It is noted that during the first few months of shooting the movie, Terry "lived" with Ms. Garland so that the rapport between the two "actors" could be conveyed on the big screen. For the film The Wizard of Oz alone, Terry made $125 a week. This was a time when this scale of salary was considerably higher than most actors. In comparison, the actors who played the Merry Munchkins of Oz in the movie were paid only $50 a week during production.
Even before The Wizard of Oz came along, Terry was already a veteran of the silver screen. She had, in fact, made her film debut in 1934, when she played opposite Shirley Temple in the movie Bright Eyes. After that, Terry appeared in more than a dozen other movies including Fury in 1936, Calling Philo Vance in 1940 and George Washington Slept Here in 1942. After Terry's death in 1944, a book called "I, Toto: the Autobiography of Terry, the Dog Who Was Toto" was launched, further immortalizing the little Cairn Terrier's legacy. The book also established the fact that Terry was an abandoned pet, rescued from the animal shelters by owner/manager Carl Spitz.
Other unnamed Cairn Terriers also appeared in other big budgeted Hollywood movies like Reap the Wild Wind in 1942, the Uninvited in 1944, Without Love in 1945, the Valley of Decision in 1945 and the Ghost of Mrs. Muir in 1947.
Sadly, during that time (and even today) registry for these dog actors was not active, or simply overlooked. Of course, movie outfit studios never billed animal actors' names in their lists for castings and roles, or simply named the animal trainer or handler.
Since 1980, other notable Cairn Terrier performances on the big screen included Saturn 3 in 1980, Hocus Pocus in 1993, Twister in 1996, Dunston Checks In in 1996, Portrait of a Lady in 1996, My Summer Vacation in 1996, Lost and Found in 1999 and Children of Men in 2006.
On the small screen, "Fred" who played Lucy's beloved pet in the hit TV show I Love Lucy was also a Cairn Terrier. In the world of politics, American President Theodore Roosevelt's son Jack had a pet Cairn Terrier which was affectionately named Kermit Roosevelt.