Here’s some sad news for both dog lovers and film buffs: Celebrated canine thespian Jumpy has passed away. The scene-stealing star of such films as In a Valley of Violence and Rules Don’t Apply died Feb. 21 after a battle with cancer. Jumpy’s owner and trainer, Omar von Muller, revealed the sad news in a recent Instagram post and apologized to fans for not informing them sooner. “It has been extremely painful and still very fresh,” von Muller wrote. “No words can describe the pain we are feeling.”
Breaking into acting via commercials — an MTV feature profile estimated that the border collie/blue heeler mix starred in at least 80 ads during the course of his career — and viral video stunts (such as a widely circulated YouTube video where he popped 54 balloons in 3.3 seconds), Jumpy collaborated for his first film outing with none other than celebrated auteur Terrence Malick. He appeared in an uncredited cameo in the director’s 2015 feature Knight of Cups. He followed that up with a featured role in the family-friendly vehicle Pups United, about a team of talking, soccer-playing dogs who prevent two bumbling saboteurs from ruining the integrity of the Youth World Cup. (Jumpy’s dialogue in the film was voiced by Mark Silverman.)
But it was in 2016 that Jumpy’s cinematic career really took off, thanks to the Ti West-directed Western In a Valley of Violence. Cast as Abbie, the faithful companion to Ethan Hawke’s high-plains-drifting antihero, Jumpy won the movie’s best reviews, no small feat considering that the cast also included John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, and Karen Gillan. (Spoiler alert: Dog lovers should be warned that Abbie meets a tragic end midway through the film. Fortunately, Hawke punishes the killers with extreme prejudice.) Jumpy followed that up by working with Hollywood legend Warren Beatty on Rules Don’t Apply, Beatty’s first directorial effort in 18 years, which also starred Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, and future Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich.
According to von Muller’s Instagram post, Jumpy received his cancer diagnosis in December 2017, which explains why his movie appearances tapered off after Rules Don’t Apply. But the trainer also has some good news to share, posting a video and photos of his beloved dog’s children — who happen to be the spitting image of Jumpy — romping about.
In other words, don’t be surprised when these three follow their old man into show business. They’re more than ready for their close-up.
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