The Hollywood Pet Set: 12 A-Listers With Their Animal Companions
More bark than bite? At least at home, that's the rule for the industry's top dogs, from NBC's Robert Greenblatt to CAA's David O'Connor, as they reveal the bonds -- whether canine, feline or equine -- that bring indescribable bliss.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Kurt Sutter with Ike (African gray parrot)
I always refer to my recent fascination with birds as my midlife crisis, which I keep telling my wife is better than crack and hookers," jokes Sons of Anarchy showrunner Sutter, 47. Sutter's wife (and star of his gritty biker series), Katey Sagal, 59, actually is to blame for Sutter's affinity for feathered friends because she bought him a pair of diamond doves for Father's Day four years ago.
Since then, the couple's 6-year-old daughter has set the doves free ("Esme decided that they shouldn't be in the cage"), but he has a new addition to his family, a smart African gray parrot named Ike. "I'm sure it's some homage to Ike Turner on some level — some dangerous badass parrot," says Sutter of the name choice. With a love of pistachios and a habit of imitating words and sounds from his surroundings, Ike, now a little more than a year old, splits his time between Sutter's office in his Bel-Air home and his outdoor cage during writing sessions.
Ike lives with French bulldogs Lumpy and Lola, some fish and Django the labradoodle, which "is Katey's baby." Sutter says Ike prefers to be near him but is not a cuddler and doesn't "play well with others," specifically, other birds. Sutter has yet to bring Ike to the set, but he's considering a cameo in the near future: "I'm sure he'll end up on the show at some point." — REBECCA FORD
From left: Chelsea Handler, Snoop Dogg and Ryan Kavanaugh with Handler's Jax (boxer) and Chunk (chow mix) and Kavanaugh's Taz (Siberian husky) and Freedom (Alaskan husky)
Photographed by Brian Bowen Smith on July 16 at Stage 1 on the Universal Lot in Universal City
Perhaps it takes a Dogg to know what abandoned hounds need. As rapper Snoop, 41, an owner of 11 dogs and an investor in Dog for Dog food, explains, shelter mutts most often are euthanized not because a pound lacks space but rather "because there's not enough food to feed them. So we figured we can say, ‘Buy some dog food for your dog, and we'll drop [an additional bag] off at a local shelter.' You save a dog's life."
The "we" in this scenario is 38-year-old Dog for Dog founder (and Relativity Media CEO) Kavanaugh — who started the dog-food brand with president and Three Dog Bakery owner Rocky Kanaka Keever — and late-night talk-show host and fellow investor Handler, also 38. The Santa Monica-based company, which stocks its goods at Petco, Pet Food Express and most neighborhood pet stores, prides itself on using all-natural ingredients such as peanuts and flaxseed and steers clear of sugar, salt and hydrogenated oils.
"You love your dog, so put a little heart into what you're feeding your dog," says Keever, who demonstrates the edibility of DFD's all-natural Blueberry DogsBar ($3.99; the most expensive DFD product is $66.95 for a 25-pound bag of food) by taking a bite out of it. This prompts Handler — who like Kavanaugh, Snoop and Keever feed DFD to their own beloved animals — to crack, "I wanted to get involved so I can share my food with my dogs because I'm hungry a lot."
The recipe, of course, has a grander purpose: to offer a quick caloric boost for malnourished dogs while also providing essential proteins and quality chow for daily feeding. Kavanaugh, who has given six rescues a home at his house in Malibu, hopes a little can go a long way.
"A company like Iams spends $1.5 billion a year on marketing. We don't market," says the executive, whose media company has backed such Oscar-caliber films as The Social Network and The Fighter, as well as September release The Family, helmed by Luc Besson and starring Robert De Niro. (Plans are also in the works for a DFD reality show.) "Instead, we put that money toward the bags going to the pounds. The goal is ending euthanasia in pounds." — SHIRLEY HALPERIN