Shocking News: J. Fred Muggs Is Still Alive

23 Aug
J Fred Muggs with Dave Garroway on NBC's Today, 1954

J. Fred Muggs (left) shown with Dave Garroway and his girlfriend Phoebe B. Beebe on the Today show in the 50’s on the NBC television network.

It was a shock to me to find out today, that J. Fred Muggs is still alive and living in Florida at the age of 61. His girlfriend, Phoebe B. Beebe is also still alive and they are living happily together.

The addition of J. Fred Muggs to the Today show may have saved the long running show from cancellation as he attracted advertisers to the show.

The Russian newspaper Izvestia had this to say about Mr. Muggs:

In the 1950s, the Russian newspaper, Izvestia, described J. Fred Muggs, as “a symbol of the American way of life”, and said, “Muggs is necessary in order that the average American should not look into reports on rising taxes, and decreasing pay, but rather laugh at the funny mug of a chimpanzee.

Life began for J. Fred Muggs on March 14, 1952 in French Cameroon and is now 61 years old. Age is unknown of his domestic partner Phoebe B. Beebe.

Dave Garroway the host of the Today show grew jealous of Muggs and reportedly spiked his orange juice with benzedrine to make him misbehave.


J. Fred Muggs was the subject of a Little Golden Book. The book is currently being sold on eBay for $24.99.


J. Fred Muggs fingerpainted this cover of Mad Magazine.

There are currently 74 items about J. Fred Muggs for sale on eBay, including a photo of him with President Harry Truman, apparently after Truman left office and was visiting the Today show.

J. Fred Muggs shown catching up on the latest news.



1955 Chimpanzee - J. Fred Muggs on telephone Press Photo

This is a photo of J. Fred Muggs asking President Eisenhower for an increase in the minimum wage for monkeys.

J. Fred Muggs debating whether to dive from highest diving board or to play it safe.



1977 Chimpanzee - J. Fred Muggs with graduation cap and gown Press Photo

This is a photo of J. Fred Muggs making his valedictorian speech for the 1977 class of Monkey Business University, which educates monkeys for a career in the corporate world.



6 responses to “Shocking News: J. Fred Muggs Is Still Alive

  1. Maryanne

    August 23, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    What a cool story! The monkey Cheetah that was on Tarzan lived a very long time too. My uncle actually purchased his art work. So cool to have something a famous monkey painted. I think Cheetah he passed on a few years ago. Guess that’s a good pet to get, one that outlives you!

  2. Andrew Godfrey

    August 23, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Maryanne, I had no idea animals lived as long as J. Fred Muggs and Cheetah. Was shocked to know J. Fred lived that long. I thought monkeys lived about as long as dogs and cats.

  3. Amy

    August 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Great story and photos! I’d love to get my hands on that Little Golden Book.

    • Andrew Godfrey

      August 24, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Amy, I hope you can find the J. Fred Muggs Little Golden Book for a reasonable price.

    • Connie

      July 11, 2016 at 4:15 PM

      looking for the original J Fred Muggs toy I gave it to my daughter when she was born and she is turning 61 yrs in november and would love to give her another J Fred Muggs toy for her birthday


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