Identity of ghost-writer behind Cheeta the chimp’’s ”autobiography” unveiled

October 21st, 2008 - 5:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, October 21 (ANI): The true identity of the ghost-writer behind Me Cheeta, the autobiography of Tarzan’’s chimpanzee pal, has finally been revealed by a British newspaper.
James Lever, 37, the Oxford-educated son of a High Court judge, is the man who has written the book.
The Sunday Times reports that Lever was commissioned to ghostwrite the book last year after Nick Pearson, his publisher at Fourth Estate, read about a 75th birthday party for Cheeta.
Lever wrote Me Cheeta in three months after reading more than 30 Hollywood memoirs written by stars of the 1930s and 1940s.
He revealed that it had been planned that the secret behind Me Cheeta should not emerge until next year.
“We had wanted to keep the anonymity going until the book is published in America in February. We didn”t want to spoil it for readers there, and we wanted people to say is it Will Self or whoever,” quoted him as saying.
Pearson added that it had been a “brilliant publishing experience. But I have spent most of the last year and a half terrified Cheeta would die. I bullied James because I wanted to get the book out while Cheeta is still alive”.
Cheeta’’s guardian Dan Westfall, of Palm Springs, said that he was still awaiting a visit from the ghostwriter.
“The book gets some things wrong,” he said.
“Cheeta is a happy chimp. I have lived with him for 17 years, having inherited him from my uncle, who used to train him for Hollywood movies, and I don”t think he was ever as badly behaved or foul-mouthed as he appears in this book,” he added.
The chimp lives in pampered retirement, like many a Hollywood star before him, in Palm Springs, California.
He is in the record books as the longest-living non-human primate in the world.
He watches television, makes abstract paintings and leafs through books.
But he has yet to learn how to write one. (ANI)

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