Gertrude Lintz

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Gertrude Davies Lintz
Died 1968
Residence 8365 Shore Road, Brooklyn, New York City[1]
Known for Keeping, raising and training animals
Spouse(s) Dr Bill Lintz

Gertrude Ada Davies Lintz (died 1968[2]) was an English-American dog breeder and socialite known for keeping exotic animals, including chimpanzees and gorillas, in her Brooklyn home. Her gorilla Buddy was sold to a circus and renamed Gargantua. Her gorilla Massa was sold to the Philadelphia Zoo, eventually becoming the longest-living documented gorilla. Her 1942 memoir Animals Are My Hobby inspired the 1997 American film Buddy.[3] Lintz was played by Rene Russo in the film.


According to her memoir, Lintz was born in England to John Henry Davies and his wife. The family was of Welsh descent and had 13 children. After spending much of his income unwisely, her father moved the family to America when she was young. In 1914 she married physician William "Bill" Lintz (July 15, 1883 - September 1, 1969).[4][5] They lived at 8365 Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York City,[1] a waterfront "brownstone stoop of a mansion of faded grandeur straight out of Charles Addams’ macabre cartoons" according to circus executive Henry Ringling North.[6]

On February 21, 1925 her St. Bernard, CH Hercuveen Aurora Borealis, became the first of her breed to win an All-Breed Best In Show at the Maryland Kennel Club’s twelfth annual dog show in Baltimore, Maryland.[7]

Lintz later became known as an eccentric exotic animal collector. She owned two gorillas, Gargantua (called Buddy at that time) and Massa. She was known to drive around Brooklyn with a fully clothed gorilla or chimpanzee sitting in the passenger seat. She treated them as her children, including dressing them and teaching them to eat at the table with cutlery.[8] Buddy/Gargantua later became a major circus attraction after being sold to The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1937. He had been frightened by a thunder storm and, having escaped from his cage, climbed into bed with his "mother", Mrs Lintz. Massa was sold to the Philadelphia Zoo in 1935 after being severely startled when accidentally splashed with water. He became the oldest gorilla on record at 54 years old and his story, with elements of Gargantua's life, was made into the film Buddy (1997).[4]

One of her chimpanzees, Captain Jiggs, also became a well known national figure.[8] In 1938 she claimed to have taught another chimpanzee, Susan, to talk and demonstrated this on the radio. The only words spoken by the chimp were "Who-who."[9]


  1. ^ a b - Description of a photograph in the Brooklyn Public Library, retrieved 17 July 2007
  2. ^ Hahn, Emily (1988). Eve and the Apes Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 978-1555841720
  3. ^ Lintz, Gertrude Davies (1942). Animals are my Hobby. Robert M McBride and Company, ASIN B002FB4EJK
  4. ^ a b Maslin, Janet. Bringing Up Bonzo. New York Times. 6 June 1997.
  5. ^ Jungle to Garden. Time Magazine. 18 April 1938. Retrieved 17 July 2007
  6. ^ North, Henry Ringling. The Circus Kings Dell, 1964. ASIN B0007FUDJQ via MaisonBisson: The Real King Kong. retrieved 17 July 2007.
  7. ^ "CH Hercuveen Aurora Borealis, Breed First, Best in Show" (PDF).  (182 KiB), retrieved 17 July 2007
  8. ^ a b Gargantua the Great. The Nonist. 17 July 2007.
  9. ^ Chats with Chimpanzees. Time Magazine, 31 January 1938. retrieved 17 July 2007

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