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Chimp star of British tea advertisements dies of heart failure

UPI News Service, 10/17/2010 

A chimpanzee who appeared in a series of televised British tea advertisements has died of heart failure, zoo officials in England said.

Jilloch, who was in commercials for PG Tips, was 34, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

She appeared as one of the children in a family of chimps dressed in wigs, hats and clothes, and helped make PG one of the top tea products in England, the report said.

The commercials ran from 1956 to 2002, when lobbying by animal welfare activists forced them off the air. One of the favorite commercials featured a bumbling television repair technician trying to tune in a microwave oven.

Several well-known personalities provided voice-overs for the commercials, including Peter Sellers, Bob Monkhouse and Cilla Black.

"Jilloch was one of our favorite chimps so we're all saddened by the loss," said Sharon Redrobe, director of life sciences at the Tamworth Zoo, after the chimp's death last week. "The animal and vet team worked tirelessly to keep her as comfortable as possible."

Chimps can live as long as 60 years, the Telegraph noted.

PG Tips rose from fourth in the market to become Britain's top-selling tea within two years of the chimps' advertisements appearing, the report said.

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