Just weeks after his big screen debut, Leo, the Maine Coon crossbreed cat who played (spoiler alert) an undead feline named Church in the 2019 remake of the classic 1989 film Pet Sematary, has died unexpectedly.
Leo was a shelter cat prior to his role in Pet Sematary, which premiered in April. In an interview with the AV Club, animal trainer Kirk Jarrett explained that that Leo was “different from any other cat I’ve seen. He’s got this beautiful face, and these eyes that are so expressive.”
Though there were four different cats who played the role of Church in the film, Leo was the most prominent, especially in advertisements. “Leo is a confident sit-stay cat. His role is as the undead Church; that was his whole purpose, to be the poster child,” said Jarrett. (Leo literally features on the film’s posters.) “The cat you see all across the different platforms, and in the trailer, almost any time he’s in in the undead makeup—that was Leo.”
Following the film’s production, Jarrett adopted Leo. As all cats should, Leo developed a following on Instagram, where he currently has over 17,000 followers. It was on the social media platform that Jarrett chose to announce Leo’s death, writing on Thursday, “It is with deep sadness that we tell you that Leo has passed away. He will forever be missed by his human and fur family. May his star always shine bright.”
Jarrett did not announce the cause of Leo’s death.
Pet Sematary, which premiered on April 5, is a remake of a 1989 film and based on a Stephen King novel of the same name. The film stars Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz as a couple that moves to rural Maine with their two children and cat, finding an animal graveyard in the woods behind their new home. As is often the case with King’s stories, things go downhill from there.
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