Forgotten Stars

Joe Martin – Star Orangatan of the 1920s

Joe Martin Orangatan

Joe Martin was a well-known animal celebrity under contract with Universal in the 1920s. He was a trained orangutan, though some accounts claim that he was chimp. (Note: It appears as though Joe’s trainer had a trained chimp in 1920 that was promoted as Mrs. Joe Martin).

The child in this 1920 photo may be Baby Peggy, who appeared with Joe in a few films. Years later, she writes in her autobiography that Joe was shot to death by his trainer after the orangutan was savagely beaten with a crowbar in 1923. The death, however, is disputed. According to the link below, Joe was sold to the Al G. Barnes Circus in the mid 1920s.

To read more, click here: https://library.lafayette.edu/node/3188

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