Vito Vincent (Image credit: vitovincentthecat.com)
Sometimes I get asked about how to break into the world of cat acting and modeling, but admittedly it's a topic I don't really know that much about. A fascinating article in the Los Angeles Times called "A star isn't born - yet" recently shed some light on the mysterious world of cat casting, specifically focusing on Vito Vincent, an ambitious orange tabby who relocated with his owner to Los Angeles after finding some success in New York City.
Vito, now five, may look familiar to some. His most famous roles to date have been on "The Colbert Report," where he hilariously played the role of Senior Correspondent Christianne Aman-purr, and on "30 Rock," where he played the role of Tina Fey's cat, Emily Dickinson.
Vito's owner Michael LeCrichia got the idea of getting his cat involved in the entertainment industry after reading a story in the New York Post about local pet talent agencies. After initially being turned away (much like any aspiring human starlet, he was told to lose weight and expand his repertoire), Vito eventually shed the lbs. and started landing gigs. Despite his mounting success, LeCrichia, who calls the cat "my son" and "my world," decided to take the plunge and move the pair out to Los Angeles. "I knew Hollywood was the place where he would have the best chance to go from being a working actor to being a star," he says. "Like Lassie."
Alongside Tina Fey as Emily Dickinson on "30 Rock"
The popular adage of "if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" hasn't proved to be true in Vito's case. It's now been nearly a year since the move, but the former rescue who is also a certified therapy cat, hasn't booked a gig since. Unlike in NYC, where agencies don't have the space to house their charges, Hollywood consists of a small handful of companies where studios go when they need an animal actor. They're not as likely to turn to a private owner, especially for a tabby cat, and one agent notes that if they need something they don't have, they just turn to someone they know. (As an interesting aside, Debbie Pearl, owner of Paws for Effect, relates that she thought of a friend's pet when "Glee" wanted a fat cat to play Lord Tubbington).
These days, Michael and Vito spend their days at Hollywood spots such as The Grove, in hopes that Vito will be discovered all over again. You have to wonder if the dream of stardom belongs to LeCrichria or to his cat, but for all of their efforts one hopes that the extra exposure from the article will lead to new opportunities for the pair, who show us that the path to feline superstardom isn't as easy as it looks.
Click here to check out the Los Angeles Times article for the full story, along with a video showing Vito Vincent and Michael LeCrichia in action. Fans (and potential employers) can also visit Vito's official website at http://vitovincentthecat.com.