Louis has died at the age of 37 at his home in Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire where the curator, Dr Charlotte Macdonald said: "Louis was a very gentle and laid-back chimp, a favourite with everyone.
Born at Twycross, he was one of the original PG Tips chimps. Although gone, Louis will never be forgotten."
His passing takes old men back to the tv adverts they watched in the 1970's and 80's when they were young men, because Louis was one of the original 'Brook Bond PG Tips' chimps advertising the tea brand.
They remember him dressed as James Bond, a secret agent just as debonair as Sean Connery’s 007 and with even more chest hair. With his catchphrase "The name’s Bond. Brooke Bond", he was voiced by the suave actor Michael Jayston and became an instant hit when he first appeared in 1981.
Moreover, they didn’t have to get used to a series of different faces playing Bond. It was always Louis. Yet the fame never went to his head. Dr Charlotte said : "He was quiet and calm, which is quite unusual for male chimps. He was sociable and popular with the keepers."
Six years ago, the PG Tips chimp adverts, which ran from 1956 to 2001, were voted the 'most memorable in TV history', narrowly ahead of the aliens advertising Cadbury’s Smash instant mashed potato, who laughed so rudely at earth people peeling potatoes with our metal knives, boiling them for 20 of our minutes and then smashing them all to bits. My old friend KM who worked for Cadburys at the time, acquired one of the aliens which he took home, sadly, it too was smashed to bits - by his kids.
But just as the chimps’ tea parties once held at London Zoo fell prey to growing sensibilities about the perceived exploitation of animals, so too did the PG Tips commercials. In 2001, following complaints by animal rights activists, the axe fell. The decision reflected the political correctness of the times, but it was still widely lamented.
The Seventies, were TV advertising’s golden age with :
* Cinzano ads starring Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter, which celebrated cack-handedness and was conceived by Alan Parker, who later directed the movies 'Midnight Express' and 'Mississippi Burning'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PirMZGL-0mQ
* a young lad pushing a bike loaded with loaves of Hovis up a steep cobbled street to Dvorak’s 'New World Symphony' directed by young Ridley Scott. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Mq59ykPnAE
Louis' 43-year-old partner, Choppers, is bearing up well, Dr Charlotte added : "They were together a very long time, and chimps can pine just like humans, but she’s eating well, which is good."