Joe Camp

Benji

From 1974 to 2000 there was a series of movies starring a small yet lovable mixed breed dog named Benji. While each movie was unique, they all had a similar theme – the dog was always at the right place at the right time (to save people, set things right, and so on).

The first Benji was discovered in an animal shelter in Burbank, CA by trainer Frank Inn, named Higgins. He was allegedly a miniature poodle, miniature schnauzer, and cocker spaniel mix. When the movie was cast Higgins had already established himself as a dog actor. In the mid-1960s Higgins had roles in Petticoat Junction and Green Mile TV series. In 1971 he starred in the film, “Mooch Goes to Hollywood”. Frank Inn was convinced to bring Higgins out of retirement for the 1974 film, Benji when Higgins was 15 years old but that didn’t stop old Higins from doing all of his own stunts. Higgins died on November 11, 1975 and his ashes are buried with his owner, Frank Inn.

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