This week our galloping film critic Amanda Ronan introduces us to Beaut, one of Hollywood’s most legendary equine stars.
After my article on Cass Ole, equine star of the the Black Stallion series, a fellow HN’er asked a question…
It took me a few weeks Dorina, but this celebrity stalker always delivers.
Highland Dale, born March 4, 1943, was a registered American Saddlebred out of the sire, Liberty Dale, and dam, Marian Highland. At the spry age of 18 months, Highland Dale was discovered by Hollywood horse trainer, Ralph McCutcheon. Ralph nicknamed him simply “Beaut.”
Beaut played a number of bit parts, basically any movie that needed a black horse for a scene, but his big break came when he starred in Gypsy Colt (1954) and Giant (1956) starring opposite Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. His final heartbreaking scene consisted of limping up to Taylor’s farmhouse on three legs and letting out a soft whinny…tears. He simply steals the scene. The role cemented him as the biggest (and most expensive at $5,000 a week) horse star of the decade. Studios insured him for over a quarter million dollars.
Taylor and Beaut on the set of Giant [arohahorses.weebly.com]
Beaut became a household name in his titular role Fury, a show about a boy who befriends a wild horse that leads him on awesome adventures, airing on NBC from 1955 to 1960.
McCutcheon used positive reinforcement to train Beaut, teaching him among other things to play dead, walk lame, untie a knot, and whinny on command.
Beaut worked well into his twenties with guest roles in Rin Tin Tin, Bonanza and The Monkees before retiring on McCutcheon’s Sand Canyon Ranch located in Santa Clarita, California.
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