Cheeta: A Star In Waiting?

Tarzan's tree-swinging sidekick, Cheeta may still be in the limelight with his MySpace page, a song in recording and a book deal, but he hasn't received a Hollywood star.
CBS/The Early Show
A living Hollywood legend is poised to make a comeback, but he's not your typical star, he's 76-years-old, lives on bananas and is furry all over.

Tarzan's tree-swinging sidekick Cheeta still maintains a small spot in the limelight through his MySpace page, has a song coming out and a book deal, but he has yet to receive a Hollywood star.

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy caught up with the famous chimp, who is still in good spirits despite not receiving a Hollywood star.

Cheeta was one of several chimps to play Tarzan's sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s and '40s.

Today, Cheeta is being looked after by Dan Westfall, his caretaker of 18 years.

Westfall and Cheeta are inseparable. They enjoy riding in the car, watching movies and practicing Cheeta's other talent - playing the piano at home in Palm Springs.

The interaction between the two of them is quite amazing.

"It's hard to explain because we're best of buddies and he is my everything and I am his everything," Westfall said.

Westfall inherited Cheeta from his uncle, who was once his drinking buddy.

Cheeta has since given up hard liquor and hard living and has taken up singing.

He will soon be recording his own single for charity on iTunes.

"I don't make him do anything he doesn't really want to do. He enjoys you guys here today -- enjoys being in front of the camera, that's what he's been used to all his life," Westfall explained.

But there is still unfinished business back in Hollywood.

For nearly a decade there has been a campaign to get Cheeta a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, an honor that has already gone to the dogs -- Lassie for example.

"There are millions and millions of people around the world who love Cheeta and love the Tarzan pictures, so Hollywood ought to recognize this," Westfall said.

But for now, Cheeta seems content to ride out his days in the desert.