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George Emerson, Veteran Hollywood Animal Handler, Dead at 59

Feb. 12, 1963 - Funeral services for George A. Emerson, 59, who spent 31 years at MGM as an animal handler and circus adviser on motion pictures, will be conducted tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Los Angeles. Mr. Emerson, who died Sunday at his home in Culver City, was known as the dean of filmdom’s animal handlers. He spent his years on the movie lot training all varieties of animals including Leo, the famous MGM trademark, and he was involved in such films as the Tarzan series, “Quo Vadis,” “The Yearling” (pictured), “The Good Earth,” and most recently, “Jumbo.” Mr. Emerson was with the L.G. Barnes Circus in Los Angeles in 1923 when he was hired to ride a rhinoceros in a Tarzan film. It was the beginning of a career in which his stable of performers included elephants, horses, tigers, lions, fawns, pumas, chimpanzees, buffaloes, bulls, and pythons.

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