Higgins (Benji)

Probably the most famous dog actor in the 60’s and 70’s. The two roles he is best known for were Benji and “The Dog” on Petticoat Junction.

In 1960, animal trainer Frank Inn found Higgins at the Burbank Animal Shelter as a puppy. A fluffy black-and-tan mixed-breed dog, he was marked like a Border Terrier, and Inn believed him to be a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer. He took an immediate liking to Higgins and saw a real potential for acting in him. Higgins ended up being his biggest star.

Frank Inn, also trained Arnold Ziffel (the pig) and all of the other animals used on The Beverly HillbilliesPetticoat JunctionGreen Acres, and The Waltons TV series.

Higgins won a Patsy Award in 1967, and he was cover-featured on an issue of TV Guide magazine. He was really close to Edgar Buchanan who played Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction. They were both in the movie Benji and it would be the last role for each actor.

From 1964-1970 he was in 174 episodes of Petticoat Junction. He also appeared in The Beverly Hillbillies, Village of the Giants, Green Acres, and in the early 1970s appeared in Lassie. In 1971, at the age of 14, Higgins starred in a TV movie with Vincent Price  called “Mooch Goes to Hollywood.” Frank Inn retired Higgins, but in 1974, he brought him out of retirement to star in his greatest role, the loveable dog “Benji.”

Higgins was born December 12, 1957 (per wiki), and sadly passed away November 11, 1975…he was 4 weeks shy of his 18th birthday. Frank Inn had Higgins cremated and wanted his ashes buried with him when he died. Frank died in 2002 but because of changes in the law…Higgins could not be buried with him.

After Higgins passed away his daughter played “Benji” in the next Benji movie in 1977.

 

History of the “The One Take Dog”