A $1,000-a-Day Hot Dog Is Sitting Pretty in Hollywood
Bitch. Bitch. Bitch. That’s all she ever hears. Do this, do that. Bark loud, bark soft. Shake hands with the producer. Pick up the paycheck.
For Tundra, the hottest canine in Hollywood, it most certainly is a dog’s life. The 6-year-old Samoyed responds to more than 200 voice commands and 70 hand gestures and has a list of credits most actors would beg—not to mention roll over—for. She has guest-starred on Love Boat, appeared in a major movie (Against All Odds) and has a pilot for a projected series (Timber-line) in the can. At her present rate of $1,000 per day, that’s a lot of kibble.
Tundra’s lunge for the gilded Milk-bone of success began in 1978 when her owner, former apartment manager Ted Baer, discovered that the white pup he had gotten as a birthday present took commands easily. Within two years they were performing in Denver public schools and on local TV talk shows. But the big jump onto the Gravy Train came in 1982 when Baer took out 50 weekly ads for Tundra in Variety. A Love Boat producer summoned the dog to the West Coast for a tryout, and she was signed the very next day.
Tundra has taken to the Hollywood work ethic like the conscientious starlet she is. She works hard to perfect her art (she can now load, aim and fire a beanbag catapult), has hired a good lawyer (recommended by Lassie’s TV mistress, June Lockhart) and, they say, gives great conference. “She gets depressed when we’re not going to meetings,” says Baer’s wife, Lynnette. “Secretaries feed her bologna sandwiches.” Tundra’s dogged diligence has paid off: She won 1983’s PATSY Award for canine actors and is sniffing the air for a big dog-food contract. She prefers work to play, but, says Ted, “when she does play, it’s on her own terms, because she’s so smart.” And if that isn’t a perfect definition of the Hollywood bitch, what is?