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 Frank Inn

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Frank Inn

Pioneer Hollywood Animal Trainer. Frank Inn was an imposing figure reaching 400 pounds at one point in his life while sporting a Santa Claus beard with an ever trademark ship captain's hat perched upon his head. Born in Camby, Indiana the son of a Quaker preacher, he was raised in nearby Mooresville attending Decatur Central HS only to run away from home just weeks before his graduation miffed by his strict religious father. Hitching rides on railroad boxcars, he headed for California finding work along the way as a rodeo clown. He began using the name Frank L. Inn to make him harder to locate. His early prospects in Los Angeles were bleak. After recuperating from a near fatal auto accident, he lived near MGM studio and would join the many who would gather at the gates hoping to be picked for daily work. His break came when he encountered an animal trainer having difficulty with a dog completing a trick and the frustrated teacher allowed him a chance to try his hand. The animal was soon performing flawlessly and Frank found work as his assistant. His reputation grew among animal trainers and he was recruited by Rudd Weatherwax, trainer of the dogs that played Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. He had almost a telepathic gift with animals. Frank trained Lassie for 13 years. In 1952, he went into business for himself setting up in an isolated area in the foothills of the San Fernando Valley which became a menagerie with his family surrounded by over 100 trained dogs, cats, pigs and exotic animals all for rent. A few of his famous movie animals..."Cleo" a Basset hound who appeared in "The People's Choice" with Jackie Cooper. "Higgins" a rescued mutt dog from the Burbank animal shelter became the animal star "Benji." His dog "Tramp" appeared on "My Three Sons. "Rhubarb" the feral cat which appeared in the 1951 movie of the same name. All the Elly May animals that appeared on "The Beverly Hillbillies" were owned and trained by Frank and of course "Arnold Ziffel" the pig that carried the zany television sitcom "Green Acres." After several retirements and then un retirements, his immense size resulted in many medical problems mainly diabetes. After a fall, he was placed in a Sylmar old age facility where he passed away at age 86. Legacy...He was an humanitarian who gave lavishly to charitable causes by providing dogs for the disabled and promoting the adoption of pets from animal shelters. The Patsy Award (Originated in 1939 to select the top animal star of the year separated into four categories: canine, equine, wild and special) with Frank Inn receiving over 40 awards. He amassed a tremendous amount of mementos during his years as a Hollywood animal trainer. The collection has been parceled out...the Television Museum in Los Angeles, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, California, Moorpark College, in Moorpark, California, which has an animal training course and where Frank often spoke. Other recipients were located in the Indiana town of Mooresville where he grew up...the Town Hall, the town Library, and Decatur Central H.S. And finally an amazing bit of trivia...At 19, He was struck by an automobile in Los Angeles and pronounced dead resulting in a trip to the County Morgue. An attendant in the process of embalming his remains noticed signs of life and quickly called an ambulance. While hospitalized he adopted a puppy which he taught a few tricks which piqued his interest launching him on an amazing sixty year career as a trainer.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Cinnamonntoast4
  • Added: 30 Jul 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6647086
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Inn (8 May 1916–27 Jul 2002), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6647086, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .