The reported last words of the well-loved actor Sylvester the cat, who died yesterday, have stunned many of his fans. He finally admitted that his voice was modeled on the famous bird star Daffy Duck. He also confessed that many of his comedy routines were lifted from episodes of Tom and Jerry.
Sylvester Felinus, born Archibald Screech in 1925 at Coventry hospital, England, arrived in America in 1944. He thought that by changing his name to Sylvester he would gain the gravitas needed for a serious acting career. When he revealed his new name to Hollywood talent scouts, they fell about laughing.
"When he spoke in that cut-glass English accent, well, me and the guys just couldn't hold it together," said one of Hollywood's famous directors C. Couch. They convinced him instead to pursue a career in comedy, but not wanting people to poke fun at his native England, he changed his accent to that of Daffy Duck.
His debut in Life With Feathers (1945) brought the house down along with a great deal of critical acclaim. "No one could portray quiet frustration like Sylvester," said one critic. The only dissenting voice was that of Daffy Duck himself. "Boy, the spit would fly between him and Daffy," said one of his early colleagues, "You never heard so many Sufferin' Succotashes and You're Disthpicables when they got together.
Contrary to popular belief, he and Tweety were close friends although their wives never got on very well together. They would often be seen playing golf with Bing and Bob.
After clearing his conscience, he died the way a cartoon cat would want to. Apparently, family and friends say that just as he died, he went stiff as a board, his toes curled up, and the letters "R.I.P" were clearly visible in both eyes.