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One of the most frequent questions you ask in your letters is whether the Fame stars have any pets.  Since most of the Kids still consider New York City to be their home and just rent an apartment in Los Angeles while the series is in production, few of them have any pets on the West Coast.  With the long hours they spend in the studio (sometimes upwards of fourteen hours a day), and the travelling they do during the tours and for the location shooting, they feel it would not really be fair to an animal to leave it alone so much of the time.  But many of the Kids have much-loved family pets back home and they were very pleased to talk about them.

"We have a German Shepherd called Major," says Carlo. "We've had him since I was just a little kid and he's fifteen years old now.  That's old for a dog, but especially for a German Shepherd.  For some reason they don't usually live past ten or eleven.

"Major was born on Christmas Day.  We take real care of him and he's one of the family.  We've got a yard for him.  Most people think of the Bronx where I'm from as just nothing but apartment buildings.  Actually, it's a mixture of apartments and private houses and we live in a neighbourhood of houses.

"I'd love to bring Major out here, but I live in an apartment near the studio and it would be pretty cruel to keep him in such a small place. I sure do miss him though. I miss him more than I miss Italian food and anyone who knows me knows just how much that is!"

Gene also has a German Shepherd back home in New York City.  He's only seven, and has the interesting name of Ghenzi.  Gene misses him, too, but he knows that his eleven-year-old brother Nairobi plays with him regularly and takes him for walks every day. . . every dog should have a boy of his own!

Lori has a dog at home, too.  "He's a little mutt-type dog named Pinchas," she told me. (Pinchas is pronounced Pinkus).  He's named after the world-renowned violinist, Pinchas Zukerman, who was visiting the Singer household when their dog had puppies.  At the request of Lori and her twin brother, Gregory, Mr. Zukerman picked out the puppy he thought was the cutest and it became his namesake.

"He's just a very funny looking little dog, no particular breed, but he's really got lots of personality," says Lori.  "I'd like to have a dog out here, but I'm hardly ever in my apartment except when I'm sleeping."

Morgan Stevens, whom we'll all be getting to know during the new series as the drama teacher David Reardon, has got a dog even older than Carlo's - eighteen, in fact!  He's called Scottie, but he isn't a Scottish terrier as you might think from his name.  Like Lori's pet, he's a mongrel who looks like that cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle that is very popular on the West Coast and is known as a cockapoo.

His once charcoal-grey coat is silver-tipped with age and his muzzle is almost white.  Last year he had a stroke and became paralysed and the vet said that there was little hope for him.

"I've had him with me ever since he was a pup and at one point he and I travelled all over the country together, just bumming around and camping out.  I've taken him with me every time I've moved.  That little guy and I have been through a lot together and I wasn't about to just let him go," states Morgan.

Instead he massaged and exercised Scottie's paralysed limbs every few hours for weeks, until he gradually regained the use of them, and now he's almost as good as new and very grateful to his loyal owner! Erica says she has always lived in an apartment in mid-town Manhattan and has never had a pet.  Neither has Lee, who comes from Yonkers, a suburb of New York City.

Lee graduated from High School early, when he was barely sixteen, and moved into Manhattan to go to College and pursue his interest in music.  "I lived in a sort of residential hotel," he recalls.  "it was a far cry from the family neighbourhood in Yonkers.  It wasn't bad for me - I kinda like being in the middle of all the action but I wouldn't have asked a dog to live there!"

Valerie has lived in Los Angeles for several years.  She's the cat-lover of the group and the object of her affections is her pampered grey and white long-haired cat called Micha.

"I've had her ever since she was five or six weeks old and I brought her out here with me from New York four and a half years ago. I got her by accident, or fate or something.  In New York there was an antique shop right near my apartment and I went in there one day looking for a table, and there was a whole litter of fluffy kittens rolling and running around the floor.  It was almost like the Keystone Kops; you knew there could not be as many of them as there seemed, but they would not hold still long enough to be counted.

"Then this one little kitten ran into my foot, bounced off onto her back, blinked and looked up as if to say, 'Hey, want a cat?' And I realised I DID want a cat."

Valerie would like to have several cats but Micha has a chronic disease which the vets think might be contagious to other cats, though people and other animals can't catch it.  So Micha is permanently kept inside, away from other felines.

"She's got a great life", says Val.  "She sleeps on my bed at night and during the day while I'm away, my boyfriend Jimmy is usually around, or else my sister Shana, who lives in the apartment building next door, comes over to feed her and give her some attention.

"Micha is not sick, she just has a chronic condition and gets fussed over all the time.  Everyone should live as well as my cat does!"

This interview was provided to me by Stuart Farrell.
The article above is from the Official Fame Magazines from 1983. The OFFICIAL FAME MAGAZINE was published by Beat Publications Ltd. and the interviews are copyright MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

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